Organizing Children

By Nikki Kinzer

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with my youngest client yet, an 8-year-old young boy!  The mother had called me thinking that bringing someone outside of the home would help her son think about organizing in a different way.  I was thrilled to take on the challenge.

I started the process with conducting a needs assessment with the young boy.

I asked him the following questions:

1)     What do you like to do your in room?

2)     What are your favorite toys?

3)     What do you like but do not play with very often?

4)     What do you want changed in your room?

5)     What should stay the same?

6)     Is there anything in the room that does not belong?

I was amazed of how articulate he was when talking about his interests and sharing with me his ideas on how he would like the room to be set up.  I asked if he had any questions and briefly told him how we would go about organizing his room.

The next session, together we worked on sorting his toys and categorizing the types of toys.  He was a great helper in getting all of the Legos together and placing other toys that he felt should go together.  Anything that did not belong in the room, we placed in a relocate box.

As we talked about placement of items, it was important to him to know where his Legos were and to have easy access to them.  The systems we created were very simple and easy.  They were easy to get out and easy to put back.  He helped make decisions on the other toys on how they should be stored.

We talked a lot about doing a nightly clean up of the room and getting into the routine of putting your toys back as you are done playing with them.

I even gave him a little quiz at the end to make sure he knew where everything went and what habits he was going to develop to keep the room clean.  I had the same conversation with his mom, just to make sure the whole family was on board of the “new” rules for the room.

I share this experience with you because it is so valuable to involve your child in the organizing process.  If they are old enough to talk, they are old enough to have an opinion.  Now, there were a few items, which mom had to step in and say no, we weren’t keeping something.  But for the most part, my client had a choice on what to keep and how to place it in his room.

Because of this choice, he had instant buy in to the process.  He saw the benefits he was going to receive and appreciated them.

He was invested.

He was empowered.

Will his room get messy again?  I am willing to bet it will!  However, with the daily clean up routine and the systems in place, he will have a much easier time putting it back together.

I encourage you to get your children’s opinion and buy in to the process; you may be surprised of what you find out!

Happy Organizing!

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