Children never seen to have enough space for all their stuff – toys, school papers, sports equipment, clothes, shoes, and all the “treasures” – rocks, feathers, shells, dried flowers – that your child collects. In addition, kid’s rooms never seem to be large enough.
To encourage your child to keep their room neat, storage should be easily accessible. Consider the following:
Although we think of a very young child using a toy box, this type of storage does need to disappear when children get older. Purchase a quality piece and it can serve your child for many years. My daughter had a wooden chest that donned a padded pillow and became extra seating in her teen room. When my eldest son was eleven, he complained that his four-year old brother was constantly getting into his toys, especially his intricately built Lego creations. We purchased a footlocker with an inexpensive key lock – problem solved. That same footlocker went to college with him.
As an alternative to a toy box, try a window seat with a lid. A window seat also serves as an area to read in addition to hiding clutter. Make sure that toy boxes and window seats have safety hinges to prevent smashed fingers.
Many beds now include storage. Stairs with drawers, attached desk areas and bookshelves, under-bed drawers, and attached dressers are all featured for children of different ages and sizes.
Organisers are easy to install and available at a variety of price levels. They can quickly organise the closet area. Also, look for hanging shoe racks and bags. They do not need to be used just for shoes. Those with plastic pockets provide easy viewing of contents. Consider using a permanent marker to label the pockets indicating what items should be stored there.
Lower clothing racks so children are able to hang their own clothes. Consider putting up multiple rods for more hanging space. This may leave extra space in the closet at the top or sides for additional shelves.
If the closet is large and room floor space is at a premium, consider putting your child’s dresser or desk in the closet. Many closets have adequate lighting for reading and homework.
Most of us have one inside the front door, but what about inside or attached to the back of the bedroom door. This can help your child hang backpack, purse, and lightweight coats instead of throwing them on the floor.
Necessary in every child’s room, they are great, of course, for holding books. But they also make excellent toy shelves. Find some plastic bins, canvas totes, or decorative baskets to place on the shelves for holding toys. Make sure to anchor the bookshelf to the wall; children love to climb, so take precautions to prevent your child from pulling the shelf over. Some bookshelves come with drawers at the bottom that provides extra stability and concealed storage.
A desk is necessary for a school-aged child. Also, consider a filing cabinet to hold homework, school information, artwork, and pictures.
If you have framed artwork or special items such as a doll collection or porcelain figurines, display them on shelves 12″ to 18″ below the ceiling on one wall or around the room. If the closet is large, consider installing shelving in part of it.
Paint an area or an entire wall with magnetic paint, and then paint with regular indoor latex paint to match or coordinate with the room colour. You can also use corkboard or purchase a framed bulletin board; this can serve as a message board in addition to a display area.
Tips to help your child keep their room neat
Don’t forget to use every available out-of-the-way nook and cranny for storage. Under-the-bed plastic containers are available. Wraparound bookshelves, a beanbag chair, a corner hutch, or a pole or hanging light can make use of a room’s corners.
When you arrange your child’s room, make sure to consider placement of furniture for the best storage options. Place the bookshelf next to the desk or reading area, the toy box and other toy storage furniture close to each other.
Sort toys and clothes with your child periodically. Have three bins, bags, or boxes available for sorting. One will be for clothes that are outgrown, but that you wish to save, sorted and labelled by size. The second bin is for those you wish to donate because you no longer want or need them. One will take the toys that your child is not playing with, but that you wish to keep. My daughter has a very small room and has a policy of “one toy in, one toy out” to keep the toys under control.
Storage in your child’s room doesn’t have to be boring. Use bright colours, easy to reach shelves, and themed decals and transfers to convey the theme of the room. Have your child help you decide what they want to keep and display, in addition to what they wish to have out of sight and plan accordingly. Purchase furniture that can “grow” with your child. With a little bit of effort, your can create an organised and fun retreat for your child.