Some kids, we know, are fabulously organized. But if they are not…
Maybe there's something more you can do to help your kid get organized than to join in the weekly battle cry.
Remember that the problem of disorganization, among kids as well as among adults, is that we simply don't have enough time, and we don't use the time we do have well.
You might want to start seeing time as an investment, and teach your kids to do the same. If you take one second now to hang up that shirt, it will save you 15 minutes later when you have to locate it, iron it, and then hang it up anyway.
But there are also some concrete ways you can help your kid get organized.
This is the time to think systems. There are plenty of good closet organizers out there, including custom closet designers who come to your home, consult with you, take measurements, and then come back and magically change that jumble of junk into neatly shelved things that you can actually find and use.
Then, on a more practical level, there are the cheaper models that you buy for yourself at a housewares store.
To use these, first sit down with your child - if you can find a place to sit in his room - and talk about the stuff that makes up his life. He has his soccer ball and uniform and cleats, his baseball card collection, his clothing, his miniature Foosball game, and then the assorted little things that get scattered around. Oh yeah, and then there are the school books.
Start by categorizing things: Sports, Hobbies, Toys, Clothing, Food. Come up with the categories that make sense for your kid, with his help. The more he feels that he's part of this process, the greater the likelihood he'll keep up with the later organization.
Next, measure his closet, and take measurements of the rest of the room. Don't forget to bring these with you to the housewares store, and bring your kid, too, no matter how much he might protest. Get him involved, if you possibly can, in choosing what kind of organizers he'll have.
At the housewares store you'll find an array of shelving units, bookcases, stackable drawers, and other things. Make sure you compare the measurements carefully to those you've taken in the room, and when you get home, you should be able to set up the system yourself.
As you're organizing the kid's room, think of how often certain things are used, and think too of the items that might need to be rotated, just as you put away your summer things in the fall and your winter things come spring. So too you can put the off-season sports equipment in the back of the closet and the currently used stuff up front. It will help to have a couple of drawers or boxes for the small items that can be so easily scattered around the house: the baseballs and yo-yos and dog toy and precious Coke bottle the significance of which still eludes you.
Organizing your kid's room doesn't have to mean changing his personality. You can, indeed, appreciate who he is while helping him to organize things just a little more. This investment of time will pay off later, when both you and your kid no longer have to waste time arguing about room clean up, and instead can spend some time actually playing with that mini Foosball game.