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Even Messy Kids Love to Get Organized!

Services for Real Estate Pros with A Sense of Order - Organizing for the Home and Office

Even Messy Kids Love to Get Organized!A girl's room before organizing

Many parents are at their wits end at trying to get their children or teens to clean up their messy room, and think that the youngsters would rather live in chaos.  But believe it or not, kids really do love to have an organized environment just as much as adults, they just lack the skills to produce it. This is not really much of a surprise to me; if the parents lack the skills, or the ability to teach them, or if there is the typical resistance on the part of the child to take instruction from the parent, then the result is often a child without organizing skills and a messy room.

In my experience, children as young as five years old have enough of an understanding of the concept and the process of organizing to participate in sorting and purging items.  Surprisingly, these kids are often way more enthusiastic about getting rid of things than the parents would ever suspect, as well as have an ability to make decisions without any input from the adults. Kids know what they want and what they don't like, and they can and do readily say "I don't play with that very often, it can go away."  (I have to keep my eye on the parents to make sure they don't collapse in a dead faint while this is happening!)

Also, despite what parents may perceive as kids pestering them for attention and interaction, many kids really enjoy having a space to themselves. I have found that most youngsters simply disappear into a cleaned room, hardly to emerge for days on end!

same room after organizingA six year old girl whose room had been completely taken over by toys, clothes and miscellaneous items, was a willing participant in the cleaning process, almost fully responsible for all the decisions about what to keep and what to give away. Afterwards, her mother reported that her daughter would not allow any new items to come into her room, insisting that anything be left in a pile outside the door so that she could inspect the items before bringing them in herself.  She also drew up a sign to hang on her door saying "Don't bring anything in my room!" 

A five year old girl had a room that was mainly taken over by stuffed animals. We worked together to decide which to keep, which to give to her younger sister, and which to give away. Although she did not get rid of quite as many as her mother would have liked, the remaining number was a vast improvement and we discovered a much more space-efficient way to store them. Her mother told me that after the room was cleaned out, her daughter voluntarily spent most of her free time alone in her room, playing.

We always hear that kids actually desire the structure provided by discipline, but children also desire and enjoy the structure provided by an organized environment. This structure, in turn, gives them the freedom to express themselves, allows them the practice of making decisions for themselves, and gets them used to having a sense of personal power in their life.

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Shanna Perino
Certified Professional Organizer and
Licensed Tennessee Realtor



Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Order is not anal...but keeping a place like a museum...no one dares move is an extreme too.

Jun 07, 2010 02:03 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I have some clients that fit into this scenario --- will pass it on - great info!

Jun 07, 2010 02:25 AM