News & Politics

How to Keep a Neat Kid’s Room

Hide, control, and get rid of clutter in your home’s trouble spots—all by design.

This six-year-old boy’s room features furniture he won’t outgrow. Photograph by Greg Hadley Photography.

Lynn Tanger is passionate about organization. “It’s my thing,”
says the Alexandria mom. “I get excited over shoe racks.”

When she and her husband hired the firms Harry Braswell and
Virginia Kitchens to do a full renovation of their home, Tanger took son
Harry’s room on as her own project. The bedroom and closet were once the
home’s master suite, and because six-year-old boys don’t typically have a
lot of clothes, she turned the closet into a playroom that can evolve
someday into a homework area.

She had Braswell cut a dormer window into the sloped wall to
allow in light—and to make space for a window seat that doubles as a toy
box. Shelves on either side, which will someday hold schoolbooks, now
contain bins of toys and games. When it comes to kids, she says, storage
is a matter of creating spaces where stuff can be tossed: “Something that
you can throw stuff into and it still looks like a piece of furniture—I
like things to be decorative, but with a purpose.”

A year after the renovation, she says of her son, “He
definitely spends a lot of time up there. It works the way I was hoping it

Kid’s-Room Tips

  • Make it easy for a child to clear away his own mess.
    Mom Lynn Tanger’s secret weapon is the Swoop bag—it lies flat on
    the floor for a play area, but pull the cord and it “swoops” into a bag
    you can carry away. Perfect for building blocks or Legos.
  • Purchase furniture that can multitask, such as
    ottomans or benches that double as storage. Among Tanger’s favorite finds
    is the French Railroad Cabinet nightstand by Restoration Hardware Baby
    & Child, with a wire-front cabinet, and custom-made storage ottomans
    that she ordered from a seller on Etsy.
  • Don’t be too cute. A child’s storage system
    needs to last beyond toddlerhood.

More Home Organization Tips ››