I’m not going to restate any of the content in this great article from Palo Alto Weekly, because it’s clear, concise, and totally on point: Toy Storage: Five Easy Steps to Decluttering Kids’ Spaces. Lauren Mang, a wonderful organizer I know through NAPO-SFBA, in particular calls out a many of the major concepts I talk about here: the importance of forming habits, using containers that work in addition to looking nice, the fact that organizing is a process rather than a completed task, and the importance of considering consumption as it relates to organization.
In my experience, kids are just like adults when it comes to getting organized. When they’re ready to make change, and I give them a rubric, they’re off and running. One client was worried that her daughter wouldn’t want to throw anything away. But the daughter and I had about a five minute chat about how I work and what she wanted to accomplish and then dove in, and she made decisions quickly and confidently.
Trust between organizer and client is also just as important with kids. I always respect the privacy of my minor clients, just like with my adult clients. I ask permission before touching their possessions, check in frequently about how they’re feeling, and articulate praise when they get the hang of making decisions. I also work one on one with kids: the door is open with a parent nearby of course, but the lack of parental participation in the organizing conversation actually helps kids get in touch with what they really want and move more efficiently through the process.
Plus, that moment when the parents walk in and gasp with happiness at the progress made is pure magic, for both the child and me!