Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, July 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 66° Partly Cloudy
News >  Family

Mama Bear Moxie: Five tips to keeping kids organized

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

One of my goals this year is to make my house more organized. I even joined a Facebook group that takes one room each week and thoroughly organizes it with the support of other women doing the same. It has been a good experience in bringing peace to my home, making me feel less stressed with the amount of things that three kids can collect. The following are five things that I have incorporated into my house that I wanted to share:

Sock bucket

I came up with this idea many years ago because I was tired of having little ones who couldn’t find socks in the morning. I was also amazed at the number of socks that would grace the washing machine and never make it up the stairs to dressers. So, I started keeping socks in one place. All of my kids have a sock bucket in the laundry room where clean socks go after folding. In the morning, they know that they can find clean, and sometimes even matching, socks in the bucket.


My husband would probably say that I love totes too much. Is that even possible? This year, I decided to organize an part of our family living area with six totes that would fit nicely underneath a table. Each tote was assigned a certain job to help corral some of the mess that never seemed to go away. My son received a tote for all of his Boy Scout stuff, my daughter received two for her books and puzzles and I received one for my yarn stash. The other two were used for my husband’s collection of paperwork and tools that never seem to make it back to the garage. So far, it has helped keep things organized while also hiding the mess.

Backpack hooks

I am a big fan of having a dedicated space for backpacks and coats. Before our daughter arrived, I had a small backpack sign with two hooks for the boys. This winter, we revamped the backpack area and added three sturdy double hooks that would hold both a backpack and coat. I went further with this project and added the child’s picture on top of the hooks. I love having a dedicated spot for them to put their backpack that is out of the way.


I don’t buy many shoes for my kids. They usually have one pair of athletic shoes and one pair of Crocs or flip flops. I think having boys first helped keep our shoe count down though, as our daughter has about six pairs of shoes. The number of shoes in a home can get out of control and cause a lot of daily organizing. A few years ago, I picked up an antique wood tool bin and converted into a shoe storage area. It offers a lot of easy to see storage for little ones. I also have the shoes in our breezeway, which keeps the onslaught of shoes out of the main living area of the house.


I definitely can’t take credit for this idea, but it has worked so well in my home. I got each child their own color of towel, so there is less fighting about having a clean towel to use. Each child has three towels in their choice of color. It has really helped in helping them be more responsible for their towels and knowing where they are. I wished I would have started doing this sooner!

These are things that have worked well for me, so I hope that they work well for you. If you have your own tips please email them to me at kristina@mamabear

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. www.mamabear Visit her website at

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email