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Thursday January 12, 2006
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Help your kids reduce clutter
The Elfa Kids’ Coloring Table can help organize a child’s room.
The Elfa Kids’ Coloring Table can help organize a child’s room.

By Rachael Mason
Staff Writer

Chances are, your kids got more than a few gifts for Christmas. By now, the new toys have probably just become part of the clutter in their bedrooms and playrooms.
But it doesn't have to be that way. January is Get Organized Month, the perfect time to help your kids start straightening up their rooms.
Getting organized involves a little more than typical kid cleaning. That is, shoving stuff under the bed and in the closets just isn't going to cut it.
Instead, help your kids think of organizing as an ongoing game of strategy. To get started, take inventory.
"First of all, you should assess what kids have to store in their rooms," said Melinda Anderson, a professional organizer.
Her business, Southern Home Organizers, is located in Dacula. Anderson is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (
Initially, getting rid of some stuff can help cut down on clutter.
Anderson recommends having your kids divide their toys into three piles. Their favorites can go into a pile to keep, while toys that are in good shape can go into a pile to donate to charity. Items that are broken or worn out should be put in a pile to throw away.
Once you figure out exactly what your children are keeping, divide the stuff into categories, like art supplies, video games and action figures.
"Then you can determine what kind of storage you need," Anderson said.
Adding a piece of furniture to your child's room can help them stay more organized, Anderson said. A bookshelf might work for video games and DVDs. An art desk can provide not only a place to paint and draw, but also a place to keep crayons, markers and paper.  
At the Container Store, the Elfa Kids' Coloring Table is a bestseller, said Courtney Shaver, spokeswoman for The Container Store. The product includes a desktop, a roll of drawing paper and drawers to store supplies in.
For toys and other items, Anderson recommends using clear plastic bins or boxes. Keeping items visible is important for successful storage, Shaver said.
Storage for toys and supplies should also be accessible, Shaver said. "If they need it often, they should be able to get to it," she said.
Still, no matter how many storage boxes you buy, getting the kids organized won't be instantaneous.
"It can be overwhelming," Shaver said. "Allow plenty of time. Don't expect the organization to take place overnight."

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