10 Essential Space Management Lessons for Your Kids Before Moving Out

Moving out for the first time can be an exciting yet challenging experience, especially when it comes to managing space efficiently. Whether your kids are heading to a campus dorm or their first apartment, these 10 essential space management lessons will help them create a comfortable and organized living environment.

Personalizing a Campus Dorm without Paint

Making a campus dorm feel like home can be a challenge, especially when the no-paint rule looms large. But if you’ve been working with your child to decorate their bedroom at home, they probably know there are ingenious ways to infuse personality without touching a paintbrush. 

Consider showing them how to use open shelving units as an artistic canvas, turning storage into a curated display of their unique style.

The Art of Room Painting

If your child has the option to paint their room, teach them the basics of room painting. Choosing the right colors, preparing surfaces, and using the correct techniques will make a significant difference. A well-painted room can instantly enhance the overall aesthetic and mood of the space.

You’d be surprised to know how often amateur DIY painters fail their projects due to lack of know-how and practice! So, it’s worth teaching them the best way to approach wall painting.

Building Furniture Like a Pro

Furniture from stores like IKEA often comes in flat packs, requiring assembly. Providing your child with the necessary tools and methods to go through the process of building furniture can be a life-changing skill. This skill not only saves money on assembly fees but also empowers them to choose furniture that suits their style and needs.

Start with the basics: clear a well-lit workspace and lay out all the pieces. Sort hardware and follow the step-by-step instructions, decoding the hieroglyphics of those sometimes confusing diagrams. Don’t hesitate to grab a friend or family member for an extra set of hands; teamwork can make the process both quicker and more enjoyable.

Consider this furniture-building journey as a rite of passage into adulthood. It’s not just about constructing a chair or a bookshelf; it’s about fostering a sense of accomplishment and independence. 

Avoiding Clutter with Best Practices

Prevention is key when it comes to clutter. So you want to instill good habits like regular cleaning and putting items back in their designated places. 

Maintaining a clutter-free space isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an environment that nurtures a sense of calm and productivity. 

Good clutter-avoiding habits start in childhood when you encourage your child to designate specific places for everyday items, making it easier to locate and put things away. Naturally, this means also introducing seasonal decluttering sessions, where your child can assess belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. These space management practices will change their life when they’re older! 

The Art of Decluttering

Even with the best intentions, clutter can accumulate. Decluttering is a transformative process that goes beyond just tidying up; it’s a journey towards a more organized, stress-free living space.

So, it’s important to teach your child how to tackle one area at a time, whether it’s a cluttered desk, a jam-packed closet, or a chaotic corner. Sorting items into categories – keep, donate, or discard – provides clarity and makes the decision-making process more manageable. Marie Kondo’s famous question, “Does it spark joy?” can be a helpful guide. This not only streamlines the decluttering process but also encourages your child to surround themselves with items that truly resonate with their happiness.

10 Essential Space Management Lessons for Your Kids Before Moving Out

Maximizing Space with Smart Storage Solutions

When it comes to creating an organized and efficient living space, the key lies in maximizing every inch with clever storage solutions. 

You can teach your child how to identify underutilized spaces that can be transformed into storage goldmines. From wall-mounted shelves to stylish baskets, these solutions not only add functionality but also enhance the overall aesthetic of the room.

Encourage your child to think vertically. Utilizing vertical space with tall bookshelves, floating shelves, or modular storage units allows them to keep the floor clear while optimizing storage capacity. 

You can also introduce them to dual-purpose furniture like ottomans with hidden storage or beds with drawers underneath, seamlessly blending style and functionality.

For smaller items, explore compartmentalized storage. Drawer dividers, baskets, and storage bins become invaluable allies in keeping similar items together and easily accessible. This not only reduces visual clutter but also streamlines the process of finding what they need.

Beyond Dorm Life: Adding Storage to Your Home

As your child transitions from dorm life to a more permanent residence, they’ll need to consider additional storage options. 

As your child transitions to a more spacious home, the need for additional storage becomes crucial. In a small home, it’s worth considering the garden space – outdoor sheds can be a game-changer when it comes to storing seasonal items, tools, or recreational equipment. These sheds not only provide extra room but also free up valuable space within the home.

Alternatively, you can help them choose storage facilities. Whether it’s a short-term solution during a move or a long-term option for items not needed daily, renting a storage unit can be an efficient way to declutter the home while keeping cherished belongings safe and accessible.

Keeping it Clean

Maintaining a clean living space is crucial for a healthy and pleasant environment. Teach your child how often to clean and vacuum, and the proper techniques for different surfaces. A clean room contributes to a positive mindset and overall well-being.

Positioning Furniture for Natural Light

Teach your child the art of arranging furniture to maximize natural light. Placing furniture strategically near windows allows them to enjoy natural sunlight, creating a brighter and more inviting living space.

Ensuring Efficient Air Circulation

Explain the importance of not blocking heated air paths with furniture. Proper air circulation is essential for maintaining a comfortable temperature in the living space. Help them arrange furniture to ensure efficient airflow, preventing any potential heating or cooling issues.

Moving out is a significant step towards independence, and mastering these space management lessons will empower your kids to create a home that reflects their personality while maintaining functionality and order. By instilling these skills early on, you’re setting them up for a more organized and enjoyable living experience.


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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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