Organized and Energized! – Part 5 The Kids Room
By Dianne de Las Casas
The Kid’s Room
Because we are a society of consumerism, our children tend to have more “stuff” than we did as children. Not only do our children have toys, they also have TVs, DVD players, video games, handheld games, computers, stereos, books, DVDs, CDs, arts and craft materials, AND clothes all in ONE room! That’s a lot of “stuff!” Don’t worry – my children fall in that category too. Where do we put it all?
• ACT! – Yes, the kid’s room is one of the places you need to ACT – Assess, Clear, and Take control. Assess by looking at your child’s room as “zones.” Each zone has a different purpose.
• The Rest/Lounge Zone – I believe that children, like adults, need a restful place to retreat to. Their bed and bed area is just as important as ours. Young growing bodies need plenty of rest so a quality bed is essential. I also believe that the bed is a child’s safe haven, a place for sweet dreams. Dress up the bed and make it a focal point of the room. This is Eliana’s bed (my 7 year old). It is a bunk bed with a full-size mattress on the bottom and a single-size mattress on top. It’s perfect for sleepovers and company. It’s also the lounge area, TV watching area, and with the addition of a couple of blankets tucked under the top mattress, it becomes a fort, a castle, a cave, a ship, or a house. The possibilities are endless. Eliana loves her bed!
• Entertainment Zone – The TV, DVD player, stereo, video games, handheld games, DVDs, and CDs go in this area.
• Study and creative Zone – The desk, computer, and arts & crafts supplies go in this area. This is Eliana’s, my 7 year old’s, study and creative zone. The large princess hat box stores her “memories,” special cards, certificates, awards, artwork and photos from this school year. A corkboard allows her to display favorite items. Dolls she wants to keep but does not frequently play with are stored at the top. A re-purposed and hand-decorated canister holds pens, pencils and stickers. Drawers hold markers, crayons, art supplies, and paper. The upper cabinets house DVDS, games, and “make-up” (lip glosses, lotions, and body sprays).
• Library Zone – A bookshelf and reading materials belong in this area. Eliana has A LOT of books. Like her mother, she is a readaholic. We installed other shelves to house stuffed animals, paper dolls, and other collectibles.
I designed a room for my brother’s girls (Ages 5, 6 & 8). The problem was a small, roughly 10X12′ room that needed to fit three girls (four when Eliana spends the night). To solve this problem, we used bunk beds and a color coded storage system. The room, previously an office, was painted blue. I liked the color but added electric green stripes around the room to give the room a vibrant look. We didn’t want “pinky” walls but the room is still decidedly girly because of the whole color palette. Our theme was “Garden Fairies.” The curtain is an inexpensive, no-sew project, made of four twin bed sheets! Notice the clear storage bins under the bed – yes, we used all available storage.
• Play Zone – Toys and dress-up costumes should be contained in this area. For young children, think “kindergarten.” Use colorful bins to divide the toys. Remember the “Like with Like” rule – action figures in one bin, blocks in another, Legos in another, race cars in another, etc. Look for a toy chest with multiple uses. My oldest daughter had a toy chest that had a built-in bookshelf. My youngest daughter has a toy chest that doubles as a bench.
My nieces love to play dress up. So I added a small vanity donated by my mother in a corner by, appropriately, the closet. The vanity houses a lamp, tiaras, lip glosses, and jewelry. Above the vanity hangs a painting created by my 17 year old daughter. It’s an area fit for garden princesses!
In my nieces’ room, there was no room for a toy box. I conquered this problem with color-coded storage bins stored on two book shelves. Camrynn is pink, Ashlynn is green, and Jasmynn is yellow. Jasmynn’s bin is on the lowest shelf because she is the youngest and the shortest. Each girl has their own set of shelves. The remaining shelves are community shelves for items like books and toys they all play with. The bulky closet door was replaced with a colorful curtain (a $20 shower curtain).
• Dress Zone – Clothes should be divided between the closet (use a system that has bars low enough for your child to reach) and a dresser.
• Clear out outgrown clothes – Do it seasonally. If your child has a birthday or gift-receiving holiday coming up, purge your child’s room (with his/her help, of course). Get rid of the old to make room for the new.
• Folding Laundry – Teach your children how to fold laundry and put it away. Play music or a favorite DVD while they do it – “whistle while you work.” My 7 year old daughter has been folding laundry since she was four. She knows exactly where everything goes. Not only does she take pride in the job, it relieves my husband and me of that weekly burden.
• Teach your children, no matter what age, to make their bed every day. Younger children can “help” while children five and older can shoulder the responsibility themselves. Making the bed should be a required morning chore, before breakfast. Always in a rush? Wake up five minutes earlier so everyone can make their bed.
• Teen Rooms – Teens’ rooms work much the way younger children’s rooms work. Toys are replaced by guitars, laptops, and more sophisticated video games (DDR, the Wii, and Guitar Hero). The same rules apply – divide the room into zones. Consider a daybed or a futon sofa so that your teen’s friends can hang out in the room. Use a small laundry basket so that they will be forced to do a weekly load (yes, they should do it themselves – they are leaving the house soon, you hope…). Require that they make the bed every day. This is the bed of my teen daughter, Soleil (17).
My teen daughter, Soleil (17), collects unusual purses. She receives them as gifts as well as from travels. We display her purses, which she also uses on a regular basis, in the same area to give the collection impact. Not all of her purses are on display – some are on display and she changes them out or purges them as new ones arrive.
Most of all, praise your children when for a job well done. Tell them how proud you are of them and the work they did in their space (yes, your teen too!).
There is a Shaker saying that a friend of mine taught me, “If it can be put down, it can be put up.” Put up the clutter; don’t put up with the clutter! This is your year to get organized and energized. Here’s to beautiful spaces. Here’s to beautiful you!