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So You’re Not Organized, But You Want Your Kids to Be…

I want to chat with you about what to do when you're not organized, but you want your kids to be. Good news: You can still get your family organized!

I want to chat with you about a topic I get asked about constantly: You’re Not Organized But You Want Your Kids to Be. This topic is so important right now because everyone is thinking about back to school season, and we all know how important organization is for kids in school. The good news is that there are quite a few things you can do to get your family organized–whether or not you consider yourself an organized person. I am breaking down all my tips for how you can teach kids to organize below.


Change Your Mindset

You are organized, just in a different way than you might think of an organized person. You have organizing abilities in you, and you can easily teach your kids organizing skills even if you don’t feel like an organized person. Organizing is a skill that you can learn. 

Sometimes I feel like a personal trainer for organizing–you can figure the tasks and exercises out yourself, but it’s a lot better when you have someone guide you through proven techniques. But also like a personal trainer, it’s NOT my job to come in and do it all for you. It’s my goal to teach you the skills and techniques. 

So, I’ll say it again in case you haven’t really absorbed it: You Are Organized! Your Kids Can and Will Be Organized Too. Now, I know you’re thinking, Okay, but I’m not. My house is a mess.

It might just be that you need to rethink organizing and rethink organizing spaces. A lot of times people live with what’s already set up in their house, and it just doesn’t work for them. Really, this is a big piece of organizing that people forget: if what you have in place right now is not working, rework the space so that you can make it organized. 

Create an organizing system that works for everyone

To teach your kids how to organize, you have to create systems that work for everyone. I recommend creating a system for the least organized person in the house. This works well with kids because they tend the be the least organized–they haven’t learned the skills yet! If you’re willing to change, create the system for the messy person. 

Then, have your kids actually do the organizing. This is legit the best way to get them organized. I have a student in the Organized Kids Academy (my course that teaches kids how to organize) who sent me and my kids a video of how she organizes her bedroom after she learned from my kids. I guarantee that if you have your kids record the system that you set up, they’ll remember it. And if they don’t, you can show them the video to refresh their memory!

Set expectations for your kids

The best way to teach your kids how to organize is to set expectations. I have guides and worksheets for this in my The Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Getting Organized: I’ve had so many of you email me asking how I came up with this magic! It’s not magic, it’s just that kids with thrive with expectations

One of my favorite recommendations is to write the room on the top of the page–your schoolroom, for example. Then, you write what is expected every day. “Every day I will tidy up my desk before the end of the day.” “Every day I will do my work with minimal complaining.” “Every day I will sit in my chair.”

Then, do every week. “Every week I will make sure my penciled are sharpened.” “Every week I will clean the papers out of my desk.”

If the kids are in school, they have these expectations, and the expectations help the focus. You can apply the same strategy at home in any room of the house: kitchen, bedroom, playroom… 

Checklists help teach kids how to organize

Using checklists will help your kids be organized, even if you’re not. I have checklists in my shop, and you can use them for anything: school assignments, expectations, routines. We print these checklists, laminate them, and use a dry erase marker so that your kids can fill them in and erase them each week. These checklists and printables can help keep everyone on track. That is why I love getting the kids involved in the process. Especially when you are feeling like you aren’t organized, make a checklist for yourself to keep yourself in order. I make checklists for myself all the time. The kids love seeing them because they know that they can use them when they grow up too.

child holding clipboard with morning routine on clipboard

Set goals to teach kids to organize

Set daily and weekly goals with your kids to teach them how to keep themselves organized. Ask the kids what they want to include on their checklists so they can take ownership of their day. What do you want to get done today or this week? This guides what your kids will do each day. Or pick a word of the day, like confident. On a day like that, the expectation is that you don’t whine and you talk in a clear, strong voice. It works as a great reminder throughout the day too.

Get your kids as involved as possible

Let your kids take over things. You as the adult need to be okay with the imperfections. Yes, it might be faster for you to do it, but that won’t help your kids grow in those areas. The more you let your kids do things, the more organized they will be. Over time, you’ll see them take ownership of their space and maintaining the organizing systems.

Favorite tools to teach kids to organize

I love using tools to help everyone stay focused. These tools below are some of my favorites:

Some links may contain affiliates.

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1 thought on “So You’re Not Organized, But You Want Your Kids to Be…”

  1. Pingback: How Much Is Too Much When It Comes To Toys? - The Organized Mama

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The Organized Mama is your ultimate resource for all things organizing with families in mind. Our mission is to share practical tips, tricks, and tutorials everyone in the family can follow!