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Have your kids been after you lately to clean up your room? I received this email from a client whose closets we recently installed: "An unexpected pleasure was that the kids are excited about their closets. I did not think it would register with them. It's been fun watching them try to get organized. Unfortunately I have not had a chance to organize myself..."

Kids more organized than their parents! What is this02-KidsReach-In.jpg world coming to?

The fact is that the majority of kids that we see are extremely enthusiastic about their new closet. Take Mikey, the most articulate five year old I have ever met! We dropped by his home one afternoon last month to do some final measurements. The installation was on our schedule for the following week. Mike took me by the hand and insisted on a tour of the family's recent remodeling work, narrating all the details of the new master bedroom, play room, and saving the best for last, he proudly showed me his new bedroom and the "secret door" in his new closet. Along the way he turned to me and asked, "Will my new closet be made of metal or wood?" It wasn't the fact that many adults don't know or understand the distinction between metal and wood closet components that made Mike's question so remarkable, but that the answer to that question mattered so much to him. "Wood," I told him. "That's good," he said, approval showing in his eyes, but then he wanted to know what it looked like and what color it was. "You'll see it next week when we come to put in your closet," I told him. But that wasn't good enough for Mikey.

"You must some samples of it in your van." he stated. Clearly this was a child with no intention of buying into the typical adult brush-off.

"Ah... " So, I got some samples and gave my best presentation to a five year old. Why not? I love interested clients. And Mikey definitely fit into that category. But my best conversation with Mike occurred during the installation of his closet the following week. It went something like this:

Mike asked me, "Were you ever five?"

"Yes, I was five once," I told him.

"And were you four?" he asked.

"Yes, I was four, and I was five, and I kept having birthdays all the way to fifty-eight."

Mike thought about this for a moment and then he said rather seriously, "And on your next birthday you will be fifty-nine."

"Yes I will."

"And then on your next birthday after that you will be... ah... thirty, right?"

"Yes, Mike, that's right." Really, who am I to contradict a customer.

"Yeah, thirty," he repeated. Bless his heart. Who wouldn't love installing kid's closets? Having trouble getting your kids to keep their room picked up? Here are eight quick closet tips that will help you and your kids keep their rooms organized:

  • Roll-out baskets are a great way to help kids stay organized. Baskets provide an easily accessible place to put things away. And they come in lots of sizes for a variety of uses. Use baskets for stuffed animals, pajamas, socks, hats, gloves, mittens, balls and toys.
  • Roll-out baskets make great hampers!
  • Drawers, like baskets, provide contained space within reach of little ones. Help kids establish a "set" place where things belong, and then when you're nagging them to "clean up this room" you'll have half the battle won.
  • Adjust hanging rods low enough for your child to reach. These can be readjusted over time to keep her organized as she grows.
  • Triple hanging rods in kids closets maximize space and allow more room for shelves.
  • Provide plenty of shelf space within kids' reach for toys, books, and bins. Save the upper shelves for stuff that mom and dad will put away for them.
  • Find bins and boxes that fit easily onto the closet shelves to hold small toys, crayons, art supplies, etc.
  • Provide a sturdy stool to help your child reach higher shelves or hanging rods.
  • Use hooks and organizers on the back side of hinged doors for things like shoes, belts, backpacks, robes, or PJ's.

Get proactive and help your kids organize their rooms. Ask them for their input. You just might be surprised at the level of enthusiasm that they bring to the project.