Tips for organising your kids' bedrooms

family organising free advice kids bedroom organising with kids school holidays Oct 09, 2019
A Barbie doll with beautiful dark skin sits on a park bench. She is wearing a lime green top, black leggings and pink shoes.

This week I had the pleasure of working for a gorgeous 10 year old client, Eve, organising her bedroom. Eve’s mum nabbed my last available school holiday session, and I was excited to launch into this project with Eve. Lucky kid was fresh off the plane from an amazing Bali holiday - I was jealous of their lovely relaxing time in paradise, but not quite so envious of the cruel prank that is jet lag. Eve soldiered on like an absolute trooper; I was seriously in awe of this fantastic young lady.

If you’ve ever encountered a 10 year old girl, you’ll be familiar with all the things that they have. It’s a tricky time of life that I remember well - still feeling the pull of beloved toys, and at the same time starting to feel ready to move on to slightly more grown up pursuits. It’s in this transition time from child to tween that clutter can start to become overwhelming, and without knowing how to handle it and facilitate the moving on of stuff, bedrooms can quickly become bomb sites!

You might be thinking that your kid would never be able to let go of their precious toys, but spoiler alert: Eve managed to move on four large bags worth of stuff! We also did a big reshuffle of her things and set them up to help her keep her room tidy.

Here are my tips to help you help your kid get organised.


Lower your expectations

This tip is more about you than about your kid. Please don’t go in with expectations that their room will become a minimalist haven; it won’t. They’re children and they need to play, create and express themselves. Your job is to help them let go of things that they no longer want and teach them the skills so that their bedroom is easy for them to enjoy and keep tidy. You can’t force them to get rid of things, and if you go down that path you’ll meet resistance and resentment. Let them lead the way and you’ll be surprised at what they’ll release.

Set up boxes or bags outside the door

Get your hands on some large bags or boxes and put them outside the bedroom. Label them DONATE, RUBBISH, STORE and UNSURE and get your kid to put things directly in them when they’re letting something go. Keep an eye on the boxes - seal them up and replace them when they’re full/heavy enough. Seal them and get them out of sight ASAP to avoid any second guessing or temptation to have “one last play” with old toys.

Give them permission to let things go

Set the boundaries at the beginning. For example, if you don’t want them to throw any books out, tell them to leave the books for now. If there are any specific toys that you want to keep for whatever reason, let them know; for example “Put any of your Sylvanian Families into the STORE box and I will take care of those”; and “You don’t have to keep anything that you don’t like any more, but if you’re not sure just put it straight in the UNSURE box.” In my experience kids feel like they aren’t allowed to let things go, and a lot of time can be lost deliberating.

Set a time limit

Start in the morning when everyone is feeling fresh, and commit to a maximum of three hours. They may start to “dip” after two hours - being able to remind them that the end is in sight will help you get them across the line.

Stay in the room

This is an activity that needs gentle adult supervision. Leave them to their own devices at your peril - you’ll come back into a messy room and a kid happily playing with a long forgotten toy that has been unearthed, and all interest in the task lost. By staying in the room with them, you can keep them on track and gently redirect when you see them starting to dip.

Provide containers

Have on hand a variety of containers of various sizes, ranging from large to small. These will be used for toys, art supplies, jewellery, stationery and so on. Having the perfect container right there when it is needed will help you keep on track.


Teach them about categories

Show your child how to group their toys together; for example, Barbie clothes go with Barbie dolls, Barbie accessories, Barbie cars and so on. As they learn about categories, they’ll begin to find things as they are sorting and automatically go to put them away in the right spot. That’s a win, and the beginning of a long-term habit - putting things away where they belong.

Give their toys a home

Once you can see categories emerging, provide containers of an appropriate size to put the toys in. It’s much easier for younger children to dump things in a box than artfully arrange them on a shelf, so containers are a secret weapon to keeping their bedrooms tidy, and making tidy up time a breeze for them.

Name toys, and boxes; be repetitive

Ask questions as you go, like “What’s this one called?” and “How many of this kind of toy do you have?” Speak out loud as you organise and watch your kid follow suit. “Is that a Polly Pocket? Into the Polly Pocket box then!” and “Hmm, this is a random toy isn’t it? Into the Random Toy Box then!” By the end of the session my bet is that your kid will be using the same language and categorising like a pro.

Dealing with little things

Tiny little bits and pieces will lurk at the bottom of wardrobes, under bookshelves and in all the nooks and crannies of the bedroom. Group those together in a pile on the floor and ask: “Is there anything here you want to keep?” It’s much faster to do it this way than to ask them what they want to get rid of.



You already knew I was going to say this. Label everything if you think your kid will need the reminder. Better yet, let them make the labels. They’ll love it!

Removal of unwanted stuff

Get it out of the house ASAP. If you can take things to the charity shop on the same day, do so. The longer it remains in the house, the greater the temptation will be to open boxes and rescue things.

Make a huge fuss

Once it is all done, make a huge fuss of your kid - they’ve just done something so cool and should be heartily congratulated. Let them know you’re proud; shower them with praise; enthuse loud and long about how fantastic their room looks.

That’s it! Decluttering your kid’s bedroom doesn’t need to be a nagging crapfest. Consider it a precious bonding experience and follow the guidelines above to achieve tidy bedrooms in a calm and harmonious way. And of course if you’d like to outsource it, you know your friendly local professional organiser would LOVE to hang with your kid next school holidays and get the job done for you. Book your free 15 minute phone consultation now to secure your spot. 

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