Organizing Your Child’s Room is a Process

Organizing a child’s room can be a daunting task that is for sure but I’m here to offer you some simple steps for getting it done in no time flat. I will also explain how to get your kids involved in the process.


(my son hard at work cleaning his room)

I have created a simple acronym to allow you to break down your organizing project into simple, straightforward steps that will help you achieve optimal organizing results with any space. The acronym is appropriately called PROCESS because organizing is not a means to an end but an ongoing process.

More detailed information on my PROCESS steps can be found here but for today I want to walk through the steps using your child’s room as an example.

Plan ~ to create an uncluttered space that is easy for your child to maintain.

Remove ~ pile everything without a home into the middle of the room. This makes the next step so much easier.

Organize ~ Then sort all like toys with like. Make sure all sets are together. Broken toys, toys missing parts, and toys no longer played with are thrown away. Think reasonably about the space you have available for storage.

Containerize ~ use a container of some sort to keep toy sets together (ex: little people, lego, pirates, power ranges, polly pockets, puzzles, trains, etc). This is where you’ll have to be tough depending on your space because you can only keep what you have the space to store. So even if your child has every Lego set known to man, if you don’t have the space for it what you’ll be left with is clutter if you don’t pare down.

Once you’ve managed to containerize the toys, you have now established for your child limits and boundaries on those toys. In other words if they get a new train and it fits in the container great they don’t have to get rid of one but as soon as that container gets full and not another can go into it, then it’s up to them to decide what they need to part with in order to fit the established boundary.

You empower them to make that decision themselves alleviating potential power struggles. Remember it’s your boundaries and limits but their choice what they do with it.

Of course if they don’t do it you’ll have to do it for them and if you happen to get rid of the wrong thing you can bet they’ll want to be involved the next time.

Evaluate plan ~ on a regular basis you will need to do an evaluation of your system especially as interests change and new toys are introduced. Determine what isn’t working and why.

Solve/Simplify ~ it might mean new storage solutions, it might even mean less toys altogether.

Smile ~ well at least until the next time 🙂

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to getting your kids involved in the process?

Filed under: Clutter Control, Kid Stuff


18 Responses to Organizing Your Child’s Room is a Process

  1. 1
    Jenn @ Beautiful Cal says

    Hi there. I just made out like a bandit (except that I didn’t break the law!) and was given about 10 of those white drawer bins that you have in the above picture along with a few bookshelves. I am working on organizing the kids rooms and our laundry room (laundry room cupboards for monthly roundup!)

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. 2
    Andi Sexton (rrlscrapgal) says

    Oh boy… My son’s room is just overflowing with a million little Lego pieces! He set’s up little worlds all over his room – in corners, on the floor, on the window sill – everywhere…

    Not to mention all the other toys…

    His room is definitely a challenge…

    But I will say, if we both are in there together, sorting and organizing he is a good sport – if I can keep him from getting side tracked with playing! He is almost 10…. I like the ‘if it overflows’ the container idea… I can see several that are overflowing right now!

    And we still have little people stuff in there too! My kids still play with their School Bus, Farm House, etc. all those oldies but goodies…

    Now, my daughter is 11. She took apart her barbie house on her own last night (with a screwdriver!) and is getting rid of all her little girl stuff – dolls, barbies, etc. She is ready to move on into the big girl world…

  3. 3
    steph says

    Great post. 🙂 My biggest challenge is having a 1 year old boy and a 4 year old girl sharing a small room, in a small apartment. All their toys need to be in their room, but she’s got stuff that’s too small for him to play with, and he just loves to get up at nap time and dump her toys out. Oh well only a few more weeks until we close on our new house, with plenty of bedrooms. YAY! 🙂

  4. 4
    A Mom Anonymous says

    I plan to take EVERYTHING out of my son’s room when he goes to summer camp this year. He’ll be gone for nearly a week and I am already eyeing and planning what I will do. I’m going to shampoo his carpets, wipe down the walls and TOSS CRAP. Of course, before he leaves I’m going to warn him that we are doing this and ask him what he really really wants to keep and what he feels he’s gotten too old for.

  5. 5
    Jennifer says

    Love the article! I am struggling with two boys sharing a room. One is neat and orderly (to a point) and the other is a tornado that collects everything. I have done what you mentions above (many times), but the key element I forgot was to include the child and empower him to make the decisions. I can’t wait to try this next. Thanks!

  6. 6
    [email protected] says

    This is the week of transforming kids rooms at our house. I painted my son’s room yesterday and today. Tomorrow, I start working on my daughter’s room. Before we paint, we need to organize. You are so right about taking everything without a home to the middle of the room. However, my daughter is a packrat! We will have to move everything into laundry baskets and then go to another room to sort it all! Should be an interesting day.

  7. 7
    micki says

    this has not worked with my kids. it’s very frustrating. i’ve given up 🙁

  8. 8
    Anna says

    Now that my kids are old enough to help with the decisions, we have done this. I am very impressed with them. Even my youngest (age 3) can understand that he can only keep as much stuff as we have space for. They handle things much better when we work together to get rid of extra, than when I do it stealthily.
    My problem know is just keeping up the organization.

  9. 9
    Fia says

    Your PROCESS technique is really cool! I need to keep this acronym in mind. And I agree that as parents, we should get our kids involved in arranging their toys and other stuff so that they will learn to be disciplined at an early age. They should be taught well which organizing products to use in storing their toys and make sure they store them back to their proper containers after playing.

  10. 10
    Racquel says

    S- sort
    P- purge
    A- assign a home
    C- containerize
    E- equalize (up keep)

  11. 11
    Mrs. Wilson says

    I do this about once a month with the girls room. I LOVE the process. I usually let Kaylie pick which toys stay and which toys go – sharing a small room in an apartment doesn’t leave very much space 🙂

  12. 12
    Sue says

    This works to a point in my youngest son’s room. He collects EVERYTHING!! Sticks, rocks, pieces of paper, bottle caps – anything that could interest a little boy on his walk home from school. He is given warnings & then I’m ruthless – I purge his room – big time. Tossing out everything except books & his most beloved stuff (special stuffed animals, legos, matchbox cars & his ‘silky’). He’s sad, but he’s also relieved he doesn’t have as much to pick up.

  13. 13
    Joan says

    Wow! If you check out my “monthly roundup” post, besides my closet, I happened to work with my daughter on her playroom too. Without knowing it, we followed most of these steps exactly, and it is GREAT!

    I’ll also point out that if your child has any difficulties, like ADHD (my daughter does!), having a neat space really helps. A friend has a son with autism and, again, he does so much better with less “stuff” overwhelming him. Then again, who wouldn’t???

  14. 14
    Creative Triplet Mom says

    You probably thought I left the face of the earth as I haven’t been checking my blogs but nope I’m still alive and reading back to where I left off. Yes, I did scroll down to where I read last. I’ve been having some issues of my kids scattering toys in every room then they whine and complain when I ask them to clean up. Now the only thing that really helps is getting a laundry basket and telling them to quickly put everything in the baskets so at least the stuff is off the floor and I can bring the baskets into their play room. But they refuse to empty them out and put them in their appropriate containers. So on a monthly basis I try to sort through and purge what’s in there since they put garbage like arts and crafts and broken toys in the baskets when they clean up. My other problem is that my parents keep giving them things that we just don’t need. Like dollar store toys, mcdonald’s happy meal toys or big big stuffed animals like teddy bears and bunnies. What to do with it all? Thanks for sharing that blog where she did her craft closet. I so need to tackle mine. Yes, it’s one of those rooms that has lots of clutter in it. I did manage to give away all my unread books to the library and I did hang up all my punches on my wall but that’s as far as I have gotten. One day I will get that room into order. Going to read the rest of your blog now.

  15. 15
    renae says

    I am a organizing freak and I agree 100% with the idea of getting the kids involved and that it is taught. My biggest hurddle has been getting my boys to put the stuff back in the bin they got it from; i.e. put the action figures back in the action figure bin not on the floor or tossed in the closet. I feel like it should be so easy for them to clean up but it must mot be because they are still not on board and I end up doing it.

  16. 16
    Rachel says

    I’ve containerized my boys’ toys also, and it is working great. They have large Rubbermaind containers for Lincoln Logs, Mr. Potato Head, puzzles, and playdough accessories. We have one of the bin storage systems you can find at Target for all their small action figure pieces. Every couple of months I go through the bins and throw away all the broken toys and toys with missing parts.


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