When you become a parent, you suddenly find yourself dealing with mountains of kid’s stuff that somehow seems to multiply in the night until every room is bursting with shoes, toys, books, clothes and anything else you can think of. But there is a way to organise the chaos- and get your kids to help. North Shore Mum and interior designer Leanne Abrahams explains how.
I don’t know about your kids’ cupboards but mine seem to get overrun with an insurmountable amount of clothes, toys and books that are randomly chucked into their cupboards quicker than I can blink. Jumpers scrunched up in a heap at the back of the cupboard, sports uniforms dumped underneath a pile of shoes, books tossed alongside socks, shoes put in the wrong spot, then only to hear cries minutes before leaving for school, “Mum, I can’t find my other sports sneaker!” Argggh! What I’ve learnt over the years is that the only way to manage the heaped clothes and the tossed books is to systematically organise them in a way that’s simple for your kids to follow, easy for them to keep organised, and maybe even a little fun for them to maintain in the long run.
Here are my top tips for keep your children’s’ cupboards organised.
1. Clear out out-of-season clothes
Every season brings a whole new set of clothes and accessories, and there is no point keeping woolly jumpers in amongst the swimmers and t-shirts. Grab yourself a storage tub and label it “winter”. Systematically go through every item of clothing that they will not require over that season (including boots and mittens) and place them in a dry storage space in the garage, or under the house. Out of sight, out of mind! You will have loads more space to place the clothes they will actually wear that season, and with less stuff to manage, it’s easier to keep their cupboards organised. Do this big clear out with the change of every season.
2. Organise your cupboards in order of rank
The easiest way to keep things systematic is to have an order of what is used the most, to what is used the least, and place the most used items at your child’s eye level and flow down and up from there with most used to least used. For example, undies are the most used items in my daughter’s drawers, and are placed at the most accessible spot in her cupboard to make it easy for her to reach. Below that is summer pyjamas, then summer T’s, then lastly shorts and leggings. I always hang dresses and cardigans. Above her undies drawer, is her swimmers and jewellery box, and then on the top shelves (out of her reach) is long-sleeve shirts and light jumpers that she may occasionally wear in summer. Another good idea is reinforce the order is to label drawers and shelves to make it easy for your child to follow. If everything is organised from most worn to least worn, there’s a better chance of keeping things neat with less chance of things being chucked in randomly because they can’t reach the drawer.
3. Make sure there’s a spot for everything
With clothes, toys and books all being housed together in your child’s room, things can get a little out of hand with piles and piles of “stuff” just thrown together, and your child not knowing where things are supposed to go. This is why, EVERYTHING needs a special spot and your child needs to know where these spots are. I have created a bookshelf that fits neatly into my daughter’s cupboard to keep her books organised, and to stop books being randomly chucked into the cupboard, or worse, on the floor. I cull this bookshelf every few months, passing on books she’s read to her younger siblings. And the same applies to the toys. Granted my kids do not keep a lot of toys in their rooms because we have a rumpus room, but even the ones they do have in their rooms, always have a spot. The shopkins live in pretty jars on their desks, the stuffed toys (and there are mountains of these) live in a “fairy” canopy beside the bed, the pens and papers belong in a colourful wire basket that sits on the desk. The sonny angels sit on the house shelf on the wall. Everything has a spot! And the great thing about everything having a spot, is that when it comes to packing away, the kids know exactly where it goes and then where to find it again.
4. Colour-code your clothes
Another fun idea, to keep the kids excited about an organised cupboard is to colour code their clothes. My youngest daughter loves green so we make sure all of her green t-shirts are neatly folded in one pile, all of her pink t-shirts in another, and all of the other coloured “rainbow” ones in another. We even have her skirts hanging neatly in rainbow colours from pink to yellow to blue. This is something my kids like to do, and it makes keeping their cupboards neat and organised, kinda fun!