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Teaching Children to Organize One Step at a Time

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes from a properly organized room, home, or life. In the midst of all the cleaning, though, your children may seem like a dizzy tornado, bringing chaos into your serenity. If your kids struggle with organization, it could be detrimental to their success, both now and in the future, in addition to causing a mess in your otherwise-organized home.

Fortunately, teaching children proper organization techniques is achievable. To do so, however, you should split the process into steps and do it consistently over time. If you commit to the effort, though, you and your children will be organizing wizards, able to reclaim once-messy rooms and lives with surprising efficiency. The following room organization ideas can help get you on the right track.

First Step: Model Organization for Them

Just like any other behavior you want to instill in your child, modeling the behavior yourself is the first step to helping your children become better at room organization. If you aren’t a naturally organized person, make sure to develop these skills on your own so you can teach them to your children.

The good news is when it comes to “how to organize,” there are a variety of acceptable methods. Whether you start by seeking out room organizing ideas or you’re feeling ambitious and you want information on whole-home organization, there are countless resources available.

In some cases, it’s better to remove the contents of a room entirely, placing your belongings in another room or, more conveniently, in a storage facility to ensure you don’t further clutter the rest of your home. In other cases, you can keep your belongings in your room and go through them little by little until you end up with an organized room. No matter how you choose to begin organizing, it’s important you learn how to organize to make yourself a more effective teacher.

Second Step: Hands-On Help

Whether you’re a home organization expert or you’re just beginning to implement various organizing ideas, remember that your children are novices when it comes to organization—just as you once were. Therefore, rather than simply giving them organizing tips and sending them on their way, you’ll want to provide plenty of hands-on help to instill in them long-term principles that will help them throughout their lives.

For many children, this assistance looks like help with organizing their room as this is often the location of most of a child’s chaos. Take the time to sit with your child in their room and talk with them about why organization is important and how you will help them organize their room. Then, work side by side with your child to organize their room, little by little. In most cases, you won’t want to remove all your child’s belongings from their room as this could cause a traumatic response that could make them resistant to organizing.

As you’re working with your children, it’s important you allow them to assist you rather than doing all the work yourself. While your children will certainly see and may even appreciate the end results of your organizational efforts, if they didn’t have a hand in the process, the results won’t last long, and they won’t have learned anything to help them in the future. Therefore, use this time to teach them how to ask questions about why things are located in a certain space, how things fit together, and what, if any, purpose a particular item has.

To help your children get excited, one suggestion is to take your children on a trip to an organization store. By getting your children on board with the concept of “new,” they will be more likely to experience long-term success. Have them browse different storage options and give you suggestions as to what types of equipment they think will best help them organize their room. Even though it’s not a new toy they’re receiving, this experience will be a fun one that will help get the process going.

Third Step: Explaining and Continuing Education

In the process of teaching your children how to organize, the next step after hands-on learning is continuing education. To be sure, the previous step of hands-on learning will take quite some time. It is unlikely your children will master all they need to know about proper home or life organization after just one organizing session in their room. After several rounds of consistent instruction, however, your children will start to catch on to the nuances of the process.

When this occurs, it’s time to take a step back and let your children have more responsibility in organizing their rooms. Rather than being there as they’re organizing, allow them to organize on their own, only coming to you for advice and for a final inspection. Through this process, your children will gain a broader understanding of how organizing works and how they can use it in their lives. Of course, if you learn something new that will help your children, you can feel free to pass this information along.

As you inspect your children’s first efforts at solo organization, it’s important to be as positive as possible. Though you’re likely to see mistakes, resist the urge to correct them yourself. Instead, ask good questions to get your children to think through their organizational choices, allowing them to reach the correct conclusions on their own. As they become more and more comfortable with the process, you will likely see changes in other areas of their lives as well as they apply what they’ve learned about organizing their belongings to organizing their schoolwork, friendships, thoughts, and more.

The process of organization is both dynamic and beautiful. Though teaching children how to organize adds another layer of complexity, it also adds another layer of beauty, knowing you’re giving your children skills now they can use for the rest of their lives. If you need to take the first step toward becoming organized yourself, a good place to start is with a storage partner you can count on. Begin by checking the size of storage unit you’ll need and see where your organizing journey takes you and your family.