How to declutter the house to create a designated study area for children
A designated study area for children is a fantastic idea to help them be inspired to get on with homework.
Having the right environment in which to work benefits everyone (adults and children alike) and makes concentration and progress much more achievable.
Creating that space means making it a priority and taking a focused look at your home to decide where a study area can best fit.
If your home is small you’ll need to be clever with using the space you have. If you’re blessed with more room, your choices are more likely to be where to put the study space – in a communal area or in your child’s room, for example. There are benefits to each.
As we tend to spread out to fill whatever space we have in our homes – plentiful or otherwise – some decluttering or reorganising is likely to be necessary to make way for a study space.
It’s best to start by considering what you’d ideally like your child’s study area to include and then to look at your home and think about where you could best house it.
There are three steps:
- Decide what you need to include in a children’s study area
- Figure out where to place a child’s study area
- Make space for your child’s study area
1. What to include in a child’s study area
This will be partly dependent on the age of the child, but there are some things that are worth bearing in mind for all ages.
|What to include in your child’s study area||Benefits|
|Storage space for books, pens, pencils and other necessary equipment||Having everything that is necessary for homework in one place, all well organised, will mean your child can get on with something productive straightaway, every time.|
Ideally this would mean a desk with drawers and perhaps some shelving and additional storage.
If you can’t stretch to that, simply having a clear storage box or some folders of necessary items and a good pencil case filled with essentials is great. A clear pencil case allows your child to easily see everything inside.
|A desk or work surface||Children of all ages need a clear space on which to be able to get on with their work, whether it be secondary school essays or drawings and worksheets in reception.|
It need not be a formal desk if you can’t stretch to it. There are excellent, simple and affordable fold out tables available, for example.
|Personalisation||Encouraging your child to have some input into the study space in terms of design, furniture choices, surrounding decor and placement in the house is key. It needs to be a place where they feel comfortable and happy to be.|
If you have the funds and space to buy a new desk and storage cupboards, let them be involved in the choice. If funds are more limited and you’re making do with things you already have, it is still possible to give them some ownership of the space with a cushion in their favourite colour or a poster on the wall above the desk.
Add a cork board to allow your child to display pictures or completed work or perhaps allow them to tack them to the walls.
|Good lighting||It’s vital for eye health and mental wellbeing to have a well lit space in which to work, ideally with some natural light.|
|A good chair||Not having the opportunity to sit correctly can have terrible consequences for necks and backs, especially when working at a computer.|
If your child is going to have a computer as part of their study area – and let’s face it, even primary age children now do a lot of work on them – you ought to take steps to ensure they can sit properly to protect them.
That’s not to say that children should not be allowed to ever deviate from that one spot. It’s great to include a bean bag or comfortable area in the study area or elsewhere in the home where they can read or have a change of scenery – just watch out for them being hunched dangerously over a laptop, tablet or phone.
2. Where to place a child’s study area
In a home that is already space restricted you’ll face the biggest challenge in trying to create a study area for your child.
It may be that you’ll have to have an area that you can quickly convert, such as a dining table, perhaps with a small chest of drawers on casters that you can fill with all their books, pens and pencils and wheel up to the table when they are working.
It may be that you can get creative with how you currently use a particular space such as an under stairs nook, which is often the perfect size for a desk. Or an alcove in one of your rooms.
As you’re assessing your options of where to create your child’s study area, take a look at whether the current use of each possible area in your home is essential. Do you have bulky or numerous items that whilst still important to you, you don’t actually use at the moment? Don’t let these be an insurmountable barrier. You could consider creating storage space for those things instead by boarding out your loft or reorganising and weather proofing a garage or shed.
For speed and peace of mind that your belongings will remain safe and dry, you may wish to consider commercial storage. Unit sizes vary to meet your requirements and budget. Our guide will help you to select the right size storage unit for you.
Some children will prefer a quiet, secluded spot in the home in which to study, where they have peace to concentrate. Others, especially younger children, may prefer or need to have you closer by. For them, a study space in a communal area of the home may work better. Talk to your child about it.
If they are going to have an internet connected computer as part of their study area, you’ll no doubt want to consider guidelines around how to keep your child safe online in your planning of where their study area will be.
3. How to make space for a child’s study area
Once you’ve decided what you feel are vital elements of your child’s study area and where realistically you may be able to house it, making space is the next step.
A good clear-out and declutter is the best place to start.
Try making three piles of things in the area you want to clear to make way for the study space.
A pile each of:
- items you still need and use to rehouse elsewhere within your home
- Items you want to keep but are not in daily use to put in the loft, garage, shed or other storage
- items that you no longer need or want that can be either thrown away, sold or donated.
Try to pick a moment when you are not feeling too sentimental and are able to part with things you really don’t need anymore. A good piece of advice often given when having a clear-out is to only keep things that are either useful or beautiful. Every item you have in your home should have a practical purpose or bring you pleasure.
If you are clearing a child’s room, try to help them to part with anything they have outgrown or no longer play with. You may wish to sort and store baby items you may need in the future but for now if they’re no longer needed then tuck them away in a safe place.
Once that is done, all that remains is to select or repurpose the furniture you need and to get it all set up! Happy studying.