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Tips to keep children’s belongings in order

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By Melissa Rayworth
Associated Press
  • A dry-erase board, like this one (above desk) by WallPops, can help keep a student's desk area organized.

    Brewster home fashions

    A dry-erase board, like this one (above desk) by WallPops, can help keep a student's desk area organized.

For many parents trying to get out the door on time in the morning, a child with a disorganized bedroom can be a huge roadblock.
Getting a child's room organized can be the first step toward smoother mornings and more peaceful evenings. Here are experts' tips on decorating and arranging your child's bedroom in ways that will simplify daily life.
Tidy desk
If the room includes a desk, keep it as uncluttered as possible, suggests Dr. Martin L. Kutscher, pediatric neurologist and co-author of "Organizing the Disorganized Child."
Get a bin that holds hanging file folders to store pending homework or finished papers that come home from school. Another small bin can hold pens, pencils and a few other supplies needed for schoolwork. Otherwise, keep the desk clear.
Rethink the closet
To get children excited about putting things away in the closet, let them paint it a neat color inside. It can be as outrageous as they'd like; it's hidden behind a door. If they love it and it feels personal, they're more likely to use it.
Then, work with their habits: If your child isn't a fan of hanging up clothing, consider filling some or all of the closet with open shelving. Put bins or baskets on each shelf, labeling with words or pictures to describe what belongs inside. If shoes get misplaced, add a crate where the child can drop them.
Make it fun
Consider buying one large trashcan for sports equipment and another to use as a hamper. Let the child personalize the outside. You can even add a basketball hoop to the top of each trash can, so kids can have fun tossing items inside.
Use the walls
Kids are more likely to use hooks than hangers. So add lots of colorful hooks at your child's level -- not just one or two, but a whole row -- to store hoodies, jackets and even pants.
Also consider hanging a shoe bag on back of the door, but don't feel obligated to use it for shoes. Fill it with socks and underwear, small toys or anything else that needs to be easily located.
More key items for the wall: A clock with hands, a large wall calendar to help kids get organized, and a dry-erase board where kids can keep a checklist of tasks for bedtime and morning. Write out the checklist with them, then praise them for using it.
Better bedding
Simplify bedding. Perhaps just use a fitted sheet and a duvet with a cover you can drop in the wash once a week. Limit the decorative pillows and piles of toys, so school supplies can't get lost in the chaos.
Story tags » Interior decorating

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