Organizing a child’s bedroom

September 7, 2011

Parents who have stepped over piles of clothes or slipped on a misplaced Barbie dream of turning their children’s bedrooms into organized spaces.

Nicole Anzia can relate. Anzia, a D.C. mother of two girls and founder of professional organizing company Neatnik, says parents should not feel embarrassed if they are struggling to keep their child’s books, shoes and school supplies in order.

“Getting outside help is not admitting failure,” she says. “It’s smart.”

We asked Anzia for ideas on an organized layout for a child’s room. Here are some of her suggestions.

Get kids involved when they are young.

For kids who are too young to read, parents can help them organize by using colored bins, or bins labeled with photos of the items to be placed in them. “They know that the pink bin is where all of my stuffed animals go,” she says. “And they know that the white bin is where all my baby dress-up dolls go.”


Shelves and good use of wall space help organize a child’s bedroom. (James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

Clean up.

Anzia suggests parents survey their children’s rooms twice a year to remove items no longer used. “Keep up with circulating items in the room, whether it’s toys or clothes,” she says. “Get the things out that don’t fit anymore. Donate them. It will make everybody feel sort of calmer.”

Invest in a closet system that can grow with your child.

A closet with bars and shelves that can be moved up or down as a child grows provides years of flexibility. Anzia recommends the Elfa closet line from the Container Store because “you can make it work with your 5-year-old, and when they are 10, you can make it work for them.”

Visualize what you will put in a storage item before buying it.

While shopping, “sometimes people think, ‘This is a great-looking shelf unit,’ but then it doesn’t actually fit the toys they want to store there,” Anzia says. Before buying a colorful basket or storage bin, think about what you would like to store and whether the height and width of the storage unit will hold it.

Make use of wall space.

If artwork and school papers don’t need to be placed on a desk or other flat surface, don’t put them there. To eliminate desk clutter, Anzia says, bulletin boards work well for pinning class reminders, school events or photos.

Kid’s room contest

Have you designed a well-organized, keenly decorated bedroom for your child? Enter the Washington Post Kid’s Room Contest. Upload photos of your child’s room, absent of kids, to washingtonpost.com/kidsroomcontest, and include your name and contact information. Submissions must be received by Sept. 23. The contest is not open to professional designers. The winner will receive a prize and be featured in an October issue of Local Living.

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