Organize your kids' room in 1 week

Declutter, organize, rearrange and decorate. Your 7-day plan to a dreamy kids' room.

Organize your kids' room in 1 week

We all know that a little one's room explodes into chaos several times each day; that's just the way it is.


As a mother myself, I know that the phrase “spotless, beautifully organized kids' room" is at once laughable and conjures a shimmering mirage of possibility somewhere (years off?) in the distance. But the truth is, when the mountains of clothes and toys are pared back, a child's space doesn't feel so chaotic, even when every single toy seems to have found its way onto the floor. For kids with allergies or asthma, having a clean, dust-free room is essential—and that is also easier to maintain when there is less stuff to clean.

Make a plan of attack.

Look over the entire plan before you begin and tailor it to meet your needs—if there are mountains of stuff to go through, you may want to divvy up the work over several weekends. For some, tackling a major decluttering project in the little one's room is only fathomable without said little one present; for others, tossing a single item without the child's knowledge could result in a meltdown to end all meltdowns. You know your child best, so make the call that feels right to you.

This 1 week plan will get you there—

Day 1: Simplify

Decluttering tasks: As you go through this process, try to have a clear vision of the sort of room you want for your child and how it will help make your lives simpler. Toys that easily fit within bins and on shelves are more appealing to play with, and clothing with some breathing room in the closet and drawers makes getting dressed in the morning less of a challenge.

  • Remove clothes and shoes your child has outgrown and set them aside to give away, sell or store.
  • Remove toys that are broken or have missing pieces and can't be fixed.
  • Remove toys that your child has outgrown and decide whether to store, give away or sell them.
  • If your child has a lot of very similar toys, remove enough so that what's left can be easily stored and enjoyed.

Day 2: Sort and conquer

Key concept: Top 10. If you are working with your child to pare back belongings, try introducing the concept of the top 10. This will gently shift the focus from the things your child is giving away to zero in on what is most important.

Kids older than about age 4 (depending on the child, of course) can really get into making lists and picking favorites. For instance, have your child pick out his or her top 10 favorite stuffed animals and display them prominently—meanwhile, the other 40 stuffies can be shifted into a box in another closet or given away. There's no need to be superstrict about it …11 or 12 is fine. Just trying to stay within a certain number can be a great help.

Decluttering tasks: After the big work of decluttering on Day 1, your child's room should be looking noticeably better. Now is the time to make some refinements and find a home for everything that's left.



  • Continue winnowing down toys, games, and clothes, using the top 10 method.
  • Make a separate stack of clothes your child hasn't quite grown into yet and put them somewhere accessible—but not mixed with the clothes that fit now.
  • Store like with like. Board games on one shelf, puzzles on another and so on.
  • Categorize small toys and put them in separate bins or baskets. (for instance, small plastic animals in one, race cars in another).

Day 3: Deep clean

Cleaning tasks: Hopefully after Days 1 and 2, your child's room will be less cluttered and more organized. Now it's time to tackle the dirt.

  • Thoroughly vacuum the room, including the ceiling, fan blades, window treatments and floors, and behind the furniture and inside the closet.
  • If your child has asthma or allergies, consider renting or purchasing a sanitizing steam cleaner to remove allergens from floors, rugs and even toys.
  • Have your child help you give all of the hard plastic toys a “bath" in dishpans filled with warm, soapy water. Work in batches and spread the toys out on towels to dry.
  • Clean crayon marks and other “artwork" from walls.
  • Spot clean upholstered furniture.
  • Launder pillow covers, bedding and small, washable rugs.
  • Wash the windows.

Day 4: Organize art

Decluttering tasks: Children's artwork is a special case because it pulls at our heartstrings … and because they create so much of it! If you are having trouble letting go of your child's work, remember that to kids, it is much more about the process than the product. It's OK to keep a few pieces that best represent who your child was at each age and stage, and let the rest go.

  • If you have a big backlog of artwork to go through, enlist your child's help to pick favorites. If you have any favorites, keep those too and toss the rest in the recycling bin.
  • Sort the keepers by date, labeling those without dates as accurately as you can remember. Don't be afraid to guess—your memory will only become hazier as time goes on.
  • Store artwork in a large art portfolio or lidded plastic bin.
  • If you have old 3D projects that are too big to store or are too fragile to keep long-term, snap a picture of your child posing with the project, put the photo in an album and toss out the project itself.

Day 5: Carve out zones

Decluttering tasks: Today's goal is to take a wider view of your child's room: How is it working? How is the flow? Is there space for your child to read, sleep, play and create? Think about creating small zones tailored to support different activities:

  • Reading: A comfy sitting place, neatly organized books, good lighting and perhaps a few stuffed animal friends
  • Sleeping: An inviting bed with a small lamp and a place to put a cup of water within reach
  • Floor play: Clear space on a rug, with toys in containers (blocks, trains, plastic animals etc.) nearby
  • Dramatic play: Dress-up clothes on hooks or in a basket, a child-safe mirror, play kitchen or playhouse toys.
  • Creativity: A child-size worktable with arts and crafts supplies stored nearby. Keep messy materials in an adult-height cupboard.
  • Puzzles and other activities: A kid-size table with puzzles, games and educational materials on a shelf nearby.

Small-space tip: One child-size table can be used for art, puzzles and as part of a pretend house at different times — there's no need to have three separate areas.

Day 6: Label it

Decluttering tasks: Neatly organized bins and baskets are practically worthless if you can't tell at a glance what's in them. Pick up a bunch of identical labels and make signs for each basket, bin and box, including in the closet.

Cleaning tasks: Put together a small cleaning kit to keep in your child's closet to make regular cleanup easier—include a stick vacuum if you can. Also tuck in a child-size dustpan and broom and a few rags for your little one to use to help clean up.

Tip for kids who can't read yet: Make labels that include both the word and a simple drawing or photograph of the item inside. Having a print-rich environment will help your child begin to recognize letters and words, and the pictures will make locating things easy.

Day 7: Start daily habits

Cleaning tasks: It takes time to begin a new habit … don't give up!

  • Put away one toy before getting out another (unless your child really is playing with them together).
  • Put all toys away before bed each night.
  • Vacuum and tackle other cleaning tasks each week. Offer small-size cleaning tools so your child can help.

Decluttering tasks:

  • Choose toys to give away before each birthday and holiday when your child will be receiving gifts. Pick a local children's charity that you and your child can visit to drop of the toys—if your little one knows he or she is helping another child who doesn't have any toys, it can make the process easier.
  • When your child moves up a size, remove the clothes and shoes that no longer fit.
  • Have your child pick favorite pieces of art each month, date them and store them in an art portfolio. Toss the rest.

Original story by Laura Gaskill for Houzz


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    7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

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    When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

    Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

    1. Prep snacks on Sunday

    This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

    2. When in doubt, go for fruit

    Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

    3. Pair snacks with a dip

    Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

    4. Have high-protein options readily available

    Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

    5. Always keep the pantry stocked

    Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

    6. Make cracker tartines

    I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

    • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
    • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
    • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

    7. Pre-make smoothie pops

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    15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Stomp Racers

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    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

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    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

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    Stepping Stones

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    Sand play set

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    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

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    Vintage scooter balance bike

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    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

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    Foam pogo stick

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    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

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    Dumptruck 

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    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

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    Hopper ball

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    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

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    Pull-along ducks

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    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

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    Rocking chair seesaw

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    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

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    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Meadow ring toss game

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    Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

    Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

    MoMo Productions/Getty Images

    If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

    But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

    Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

    In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.


    The correlations between screen time and children's health

    But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

    Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

    It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

    Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

    "When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

    A novel look at screen time in adolescents

    The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

    Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

    Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

    The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

    Children's health

    Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

    The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

    Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

    Motherhood knows no bounds.

    When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

    The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.


    Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

    Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

    Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

    Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

    "When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

    We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

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