How to Keep Your Kids Organized

Filed under: Chores, Resources

organised kids

Keep your kids organized with these tips. Credit: Getty Images

Help get -- and keep! -- your kids organized with these simple tips.

1. Assign a place where books, homework and backpacks go. If you don't designate a place, backpacks and stuff will be dropped all over the house. KA-BOOM -- you've got clutter!

2. Assign a place for jackets, coats, scarves, gloves, boots and shoes to go. Maybe put up hooks on the wall (low enough for the little ones can reach). Maybe a bookcase with assigned shelves for each child. Or maybe laundry baskets. Label the baskets or shelves with each child's name or write "shoes here," "sports gear here."

3. Make it part of the bedtime routine to check if all books, homework, backpacks (maybe even clothes) are in place, ready for the next day.

4. Hang a big calendar where everyone can see all the family activities. Consider color coding the activities. Brynn is green, Noah is red. Include due dates for BIG school projects and reports.

5. Use a color-coding system not only for the calendar, but any place you need to. Paint Brynn's shelf green; find a red basket for Noah. If you have several children, color code their sheets, towels, everything.

6. Hang a big bulletin board by the door. Everything that kids need to be signed, referred to or returned goes on the bulletin board.
  • OR for each child, hang a basket, envelope or some receptacle to "capture" notes, invitations and newsletters from school and extra activities. Color code them.
  • OR set up a file system. Assign each child a file. All important notices and announcements from school and outside activities (even party invitations) get filed. Then when you need information, dates, addresses, they will all be in one place. You can even color code the files.

7. If children want to do their homework in an unorthodox or weird style (that means different from how their parents did things) such as working with the TV on or loud music playing, then make a deal. "You can do your homework this way as long as your homework is complete, done well and handed in on time. If you don't keep your end of the deal, then you do homework my way." Your way might be at his desk, in his room, in silence, no distractions or whatever you determine. This gives your child the power to control how homework will be done; he decides.

8. Try to set up a system that every Friday they empty out backpacks. Even if you skip doing it half the time, at least it will keep you from finding a message in May that it's your turn to send cookies for the Halloween party seven months ago.

9. Set up some house rules to help develop non-procrastinating habits. Examples:
• No after-school snack (or computer games, phone calls, TV, or whatever their routine is) until jackets, books and backpacks are put where they belong.
• No TV, games or time with friends at homework time till everything is complete, done well and ready to be turned in.
• No going out or time with friends till chores are complete.
• If there is chaos getting ready in the morning, then they need to get up earlier, which means they have to go to bed earlier.
This system means that THEY have control over when they can play or relax. No arguments: If they want to go out, you ask if homework is done. If not, they know the answer. They will "test" at first to see if rules are real. After a while, children will accept new rules in the house.

10. Ask your child to tell you what are her main causes of frustration at school. Then do some creative problem-solving together. Forget to do homework? Buy a special little notebook to write down homework assignments. Can't stay focused on homework? Break homework time into several shorter sessions instead of one long one. Can't get motivated to start on homework? Set a certain time aside for homework with no distractions and everyone settles down at the same time.

11. Go through their closets with them and eliminate clothes they no longer wear. Toss out items that are too stained, ripped or broken to fix. Donate the good stuff that your child has outgrown or just doesn't wear anymore. Pack away sentimental items that they never wear but cannot throw out -- don't let that old scout uniform or outfit they wore in a wedding take up valuable closet space now. If you buy new clothes or shoes for school, help your children make room for them so they won't have to struggle to cram clothes into too-full closets or drawers.

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Rita Emmett, author of "The Clutter-Busting Handbook," is a "Recovered Pack Rat" and professional speaker. She can be reached at 847-699-9950 and e-mail is

To subscribe to her free monthly "Anticrastination Tip Sheet" with quick short tips and ideas to help break the procrastination habit, go to the first page of her website


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.