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Expert Kid Organization Tips

Today we’re going to chat about organizing all of your kids’ stuff. We know that kid organization can be one of the most difficult tasks so hopefully this week can help take away the overwhelm!

(New to Paisley + Sparrow? Check out my original 30 Day Decluttering and Organizing Challenge post for all the details.)

Kids Organization

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This post is going to be a mix of what I do and some ideas on what others do. Some of this depends on how many kids you have, their ages and how much space you have in your home.

Let’s get to it!

Organizing Kids Toys

I know, I know. This is a loaded topic. Kids toys can be so overwhelming! The best thing you can do here is to have a home for each type of toy and do your best to teach your kids where all of their toys belong.

My kids are 3, 2 and 5 months old so we’re just now starting to get to the point where our 3 year old really knows where things go (rather than just putting things into random baskets, etc. when I ask them to clean up).

Let’s walk though a few different types of toys:

Dress Up Clothes Purging + Organization

Dress Up Clothes Purging + Organization

3 Questions to ask when purging dress up clothes

When you go through your kids dress up clothes ask these questions to know what to keep and what to get rid of:

  1. When was the last time they wore it?
  2. Is it ripped, broken or not usable?
  3. How many do you have of each item?

These questions should help you get started. If it’s been months since they last wore something, get rid of it.

If it’s ripped, broken, etc., you have two options. One is to fix it. The other is to get rid of it. If you plan on fixing it make sure you do it within a few days otherwise just toss it! I usually give myself a deadline and if something isn’t fixed in that time frame I know I just need to get rid of it.

And if there’s 10 different pairs of shoes, or 20 tutus, do you really need to keep all of those? Unless you run a day care or have 10 little ones running around at one time frequently, you likely don’t need a million options for your kids. I like to use it as a learning opportunity and teach my kids to be generous. We pick out a few things that are in good shape but that don’t get much love and pass them on to kids that could use them!

Organizing dress up clothes

There are a variety of ways to organize dress up clothes. I currently have ours in a simple plastic 3 drawer container. The top drawer is for accessories (hats, shoes, jewelry, etc). The middle drawer is for Roy’s dress up clothes and the bottom drawer is for Penelope’s.

I’ve also seen these adorable clothes racks for dress up clothes. You could also hang hooks on the wall if you don’t have much space on the floor!

Another option is to use baskets! I have a whole round up of cute baskets on this post. That’s a great option to keep things in one place (but also easy for little ones who don’t know how to hang/fold clothes quite yet).

Stuffed Animals + Dolls Purging + Organization

Stuffed Animals + Dolls Purging + Organization

I’m a mom that purges stuffed animals, cruel, I know! Stuffed animals seem to multiply over and over even when you’re not the one buying them! First let’s talk purging.

3 Questions to ask when purging stuffed animals

  1. When was the last time they played with it?
  2. Is it in good shape?
  3. How many of each animal are there?

Surprise! They’re basically the same questions as above!

Again, if your kids haven’t played with a certain stuffed animal or it’s falling apart or you have 10 unicorns, get rid of some.

One tip on this is to do it when your kids aren’t home!! You know what your kids play with and you’ll be way more apt to get rid of some things when your kids aren’t claiming that yes, they WILL actually start playing with that adorable brown bear! 😉

Stuffed animal organization

This will greatly depend on how many stuffed animals your kids own! We have one small ottoman that doubles as a storage space where we have stuffed animals in our play area. Then both kids have their favorite stuffed animals in their rooms. One or two live on their bed and a couple live on their reading chairs.

In addition to baskets like I mentioned for dress up clothes, there’s also bean bag chairs that double as stuffed animal storage! Whatever you decide to do, I would just ensure that your kids know where their stuffed animals belong and make it easy for them to get to so they can put away their own toys.

Game and Puzzle Purging + Organization

Game and Puzzle Purging + Organization

2 Questions to Ask when Purging Games + Puzzles

  1. When was the last time your kids played with it?
  2. Is it missing a piece?

Number 1, if your kids aren’t playing with them, get rid of them!! There’s plenty of fun games and puzzles out there so don’t hold on to ones your kids don’t actually like to play with.

And 2, if a puzzle is missing a piece or a game is missing something needed to play the game, TOSS IT! There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a puzzle only to realize you don’t have all the pieces!!

If a game is missing a piece but you can make do with out it, you don’t need to toss it. 😉

Organizing Games + Puzzles

Roy’s preschool class has the best little puzzle rack and once we finalize our play room I’m definitely going to get one of these. Right now I have a bin of puzzles and games in our living room and a bin in our playroom.

Book Purging + Organization

Book Purging + Organization

Purging Books

  1. When was the last time the book was read?
  2. Is it in good shape?

We have “little libraries” in our neighborhood which is basically our neighbors way of sharing books with one another. We always have a rule that we can’t take a book out without putting one in for someone else! That helps us in purging books that don’t get read much.

Organizing Books

We actually have 4 different types of bookshelves for the kids and I love them all!

In Roy’s room we have 2 bookshelves – one simple bar cart and a tree style bookshelf. Admittedly the tree one is a bit harder to keep organized while the Ikea cart is super easy to just toss books on to.

modern kid room with tree bookshelf

In Penelope’s room we have a super cute book shelf where the front covers face out rather than the binding. We aren’t able to keep as many books in there but we love the look (and how it forces us to stay organized!).

Purging + Organizing School Stuff

Purging + Organizing School Stuff

Kids have SO much school stuff, even my kids that are in preschool! From backpacks to lunch boxes to the copious amounts of papers and art project the come home with, it can be super overwhelming.

Purging School Stuff

I know this is going to sound cruel, but get rid of unnecessary papers!! The most important question I ask is “would my kids like this when they’re my age”. I think holding on to a few things each year (hand prints, drawings, art work, etc) is fun but do you really think your kids will want to see their spelling test from 2nd grade?

Probably not. Don’t hold on to things for years only to have your kids throw them all away 20 years from now.

Organizing School Stuff

Truth be told, I don’t have a ton of school stuff currently since my kids are only in preschool. When they’re little, like mine are, start good habits now.

Whenever our kids bring home art work or papers from school, I do one of 5 things.


1 – Hang it on the fridge. Anything small and cute (or a great grade!) can live on the fridge for a few days (or sometimes a few weeks). That way my kids can see their work every day for a while or be proud of that A+ the received!

2- Hang it in our play room. We have wire hanging racks in our play area that I rotate with the kids art work. I’m constantly rotating what’s up there with the seasons and it’s a great place for bigger stuff.

3 – Mail it to a relative (or friend). Regardless of whether or not a family member lives close, sending snail mail every once in a while with a piece of art my kid created puts a smile on their face! They’re not expected to keep them for long but it’s definitely worth the cost of a stamp to put a smile on their face.

4- File it. If it’s something I would want to keep for when their older, put it in a plastic file cabinet with the age that they created it written on the back.

5 – Throw it away. Do it at night, after they’re asleep and be sure to cover it up with something so they don’t see it. 😉

When it comes to things like backpacks or lunch bags, have a home for them. Maybe it’s hanging in the mud room, hanging outside their bedroom door or in a basket. Whatever works well for you and your kids and your home, do it.

Purging + Organizing Kids Clothes

Ok. Kids clothes. This topic is so gigantic that I have an entire post all about organizing kid clothes. You can see my entire system of organizing with 7 key tips here!

Miscellaneous Kid Stuff (Outerwear, sports equipment, etc)

This will greatly depend on where you live, the age of your children and what kind of activities they’re in!

You’ll basically want to go through all of the items and ask yourself similar questions to above. Is it in good shape? Do your kids use it?

If you only have one mitten instead of a pair, get rid of it. Check over everything and if it’s broken or needs fixing, either get it fixed right away or get rid of it!

Then make sure all of your items have a home! We have a simple plastic 3 drawer container for our kids outdoor items (each child has their own drawer). This helps them know where their stuff is and where to put it away.

As always, thanks for reading and sharing!

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