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Professional organizer mom to the rescue

How to get your kids organized

How to get your kids organized

When organizing for kids – her own, or other parents’ – professional organizer and mom Katy Winter walks the line between allowing a child to feel ownership over their space and adhering to concepts of mindful arrangement that benefit everyone. She offers some useful tips that are both practical and savvy.

I understand. Like her, I once thought I was “doing a favor” for a hoarder child by spending a significant amount of time – a couple days – organizing their extremely chaotic space while they were away, only to have them get very upset that I’d done it. Soon, the space was even messier than before.

Winter says, “Children tend to view their room as one of the few places in the world that can be just theirs. Adults make a lot of decisions for children, but how their room is organized, is a decision that they can make on their own. It matters to them how they arrange it.”

READ MORE: 15 home organization products that'll save you time and space

In other words, it should be – and can be – a collaborative process. Winter maintains we can “empower our children to have good organizational skills.” 

Making the bed is key. Winter gets advice from Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit. He says, "Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.”

Helping with laundry is a good step, too. Winter advises getting very small kids to help match up socks. If you can do it while the laundry is still warm, all the better. (We’ve done this in our house for years.)

Any person given to disorganization and clutter will like Winter’s assertion that humans are, by nature, collectors: “In fact, aside from collecting objects being fun, research shows it can even boost a child's intellectual confidence and uniqueness.” The trick is to find “thoughtful ways to display what reflects their current interests.”

She recommends clear glass containers, a clear over-the-door shoe rack that separates different items into different sections, and a memorabilia box to keep in the closet or under the bed.

Organizing need not be excruciating. It may not be as fun as making a mess, but few things are.

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