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In the midst of all your holiday preparations, you might want to dedicate a few hours to helping your children reorganize their room. This may be the best time of the year to do that, because the promise of new toys might make them more willing to clean and organize, otherwise where are those new gifts going to live?

Set the Mood

Getting kids, of any age, to do anything that hints of cleaning can be excruciating. If you toss in the idea that it might be a good time for them to get rid of old toys, you may face tantrums or outright rebellion. Take advantage of the holiday spirit to get them excited about — or at least not dreading — the exercise.

Load a holiday playlist, make holiday treats for afterward, and give them a few decorative items to put up in their room as they complete each phase. You can also remind them that the holidays are a time for giving and helping the less fortunate. If they have an abundance of toys, games, and books that they no longer use, perhaps there is a needy child out there who would be thrilled with such a gift.

Have a System

There are three steps to organizing: sorting, putting away, and dealing with the rest. Have a plan for each of these phases and be sure to include your child in each.

pile of toysA good approach to sorting is to take every toy, game, book, stuffed animal, etc., in one giant pile for each child. Then provide three boxes, bins or even laundry baskets, color-coded works best. Have the child sort according to keep, broken, and give away. Then leave your children alone to make their initial decisions.

If the keep basket ends up much larger than the others, consider boxing up a fourth category of toys: things they rarely use but aren’t ready to part with. Label this box with a date six months in the future and put it into storage. If your kids haven’t asked for the box to be opened in that time, they might be willing to part with those items.

Encourage your kids to organize their toys as they are put away, rather than just shoving them into bins or on shelves. These are the treasured items that they chose to keep and, therefore, deserve to be treated well.

It is also a good idea to include the kids when you deliver gently used toys to local charities or thrift shops. As for the broken toys, you may want to have a little funeral procession to the trash dumpster to honor the joy and happiness these toys provided.

After the toys are sorted, put away, and delivered to their next home or resting place, it is time to enjoy the rewards of a completed job. For the kids, it will be decorating their room and eating holiday treats. For you, it will be seeing the neat, organized rooms — even if it only lasts until the presents are unwrapped in a few weeks.

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