Organizing skills are learned. Some children take to organizing more quickly than others, but none is born with a calendar in one hand and a label maker in the other. Teaching children to be organized is an on-going process, and how you set up your child’s room can help facilitate some of these lessons.
The most important thing to remember when creating a child’s room is the height of the child. The average two year old is around 34″ and the average 10 year old is about 54″ tall. If you want your child to learn to put away her toys and put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, you will want to make most everything in the room accessible to this height range.
I recommend using long, two shelf bookcases for storing books and toys. Group toys by type into baskets, and set the baskets on the shelves. Label the baskets with pictures and words describing what is inside the basket. These labels help with language development, and also show your child where the toys should be placed after playtime. A cushion can be added to the top of the bookshelf to create additional seating in the room.
Install clothing rods in the closet your child can reach. Have 10 or more extra hangers in the closet so there are always hangers available for your child to use. Have a small hamper for your child to easily input dirty clothes. Show your child how to care for his or her clothes so they last as long as possible, and have your child put away his or her clothing starting at age two (with supervision, of course).
For safety reasons, you will likely want to use higher shelving in the closet or on the wall to keep some items out of reach. However, your child should have display shelf space she can access. Help your child to display items of importance on the shelf, and work with him to rotate out objects when they’re not as important any longer. This helps to teach your child uncluttering skills, which are just as vital as organizing skills.
Keep a bucket, box, or basket in the room for your child to place broken or unwanted items. Explain that she can put anything she has outgrown into the bucket, any toys that need to be repaired, or anything she thinks would be good to donate to charity. She might not use the space for years, but one day she might.