The start of a new year has us ready to take on fresh habits in the home, including getting everyone — even the littles — hooked on organizing and keeping a tidy space. While resolutions are something we think of as personal, making family resolutions is a great way to get everyone working together towards a common goal. In this case, that goal is not stepping over toys late at night or picking up forgotten shoes and jackets from the hallway. We spoke with Cristin Bisbee Priest, an interior designer and the voice behind the site Simplified Bee, for organizing tips the whole family can stick to and ideas on how to even get the tiniest hands to help in daily clean-up.
Get creative with personalization
Whether you use color-coded items, hand-written labels, chalkboard plaques, or embroidered words to personalize storage containers, the possibilities of the pieces are organized are up to you! Cristin says giving certain items, for example, shoes near the front door, a specific bin color is helpful for containers the whole house shares. On storage for the kids, identify each bin with their name so there’s something just for them. A practical solution is labeling by what each basket will store — “toys,” “stuff,” “goodies,” etc. Another tip we love from Cristin is to use unexpected phrases or words for a fun twist. Think words like “joy” or “be happy,” because who doesn’t get a little hop in their step when everything’s in its proper place?
short on space? pick neutral solutions
While we’d all love to have a playroom in our house, adult stuff and kid stuff is often living in one common space together. That means toys coexisting alongside carefully curated grown-up furniture and decor. If that’s the case, use storage that fits seamlessly into the living room when playtime is over. Neutral-colored baskets and sturdy cardboard boxes will hold toys and art supplies without distracting from the overall look of a room.
make storage accessible throughout the house
So that there’s never the excuse of not putting something away because the storage bins are in a different room, place containers all around the house. In the kitchen, every hall closet, by the door — everywhere!
Reevaluate Every Six Months
Real talk: how often do you look around your kids’ room and think “How on Earth did they end up with all this stuff?!” Cristin has created an ongoing ritual in her house of purging toys, shoes, clothes — whatever — every six months. “There’s no possible way the kids could be playing with every single item,” she says. “That’s when a rotation system is good.” Twice a year or more, set up a time to review your child’s toy inventory with them. Are they really using it? If they think they might return to a toy later, maybe an outdoor toy when summer returns or indoor crafts for winter, put it in the garage or attic.
Every 6 months reevaluate, is this child really using it? If you think they might go back to it, put it in the garage or attic? If they’re not, pass those goodies along to friends or donate them to a local charity.
Set an Example
Alright, here’s the hard part — you, the grown-up in the house, have to stick to this organizational routine! The little ones are learning from you and will follow your example if you also show how much keeping a tidy, uncluttered home means to you. Explain how sticking to the habit of cleaning up after oneself shows respect for the house and your family, and then actually do it. Everyone else will follow suit.
Show us your favorite organizational solutions for a kid-filled home by tagging your pictures #lovemypbk on Instagram. Visit Simplified Bee for even more practical design and organizing tips from Cristin!