A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

7-Day Plan: Go from chaos + clutter to organization + order in your kids’ room

Print Friendly and PDF

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

More from Houzz:

Create the Ultimate Homework Zone

Be Inspired By These Closet Designs

Room of the Day: Colorful and Organized Kids' Playroom

Join Motherly

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

Coverage:

A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

You might also like:

News

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

You might also like:

News

[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

You might also like:

Life
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.