Drowning in kids’ clutter?

There is no doubt that between sports, hobbies, birthday parties and art projects, life with kids means managing a whole lot of stuff. Plus, children have a way of accumulating things: from toys to arts & crafts and clothes that don’t even fit. 

Fact - Did you know that toys weigh twice as much when you’re putting them away as when you’re taking them out to play? They gain even more weight if your home has stairs.

Okay, not really, but according to my kids, this must be true!

And if your children are like mine, all things are dropped randomly once interest is lost. And there those things stay until the house is an unnavigable ocean of random pieces (little buttons, shells, pebbles or leaves they found in the woods a year ago!), Lego bricks, endless art supplies, games and the occasional important piece of art piece hiding beneath. It’s safe to say children are collectors from a young age!

Clutter starts small, but soon becomes overwhelming. We often use kids as an excuse and postpone decluttering until it niggles at our peace of mind a little bit each day, and eventually becomes a stressed-out frenzy that eats up an entire weekend leaving a trail of bitterness and exhaustion in its wake.

Here is a three-point approach to keep toy clutter at bay:

1.   LIMIT:Reduce the number of toys your child has available at any given time. Limiting toys simplifies the cleaning process for the kids, this is the key! Boxing up some of the toys and rotating them every couple of months works wonders for children; it’s like Christmas all over again!

 2.    DONATE:Once or twice per year, involve your child in the donation process. Many parents feel it’s easier to clear out the unused toys without their children’s input. However, making your child a part of the process teaches them the difference between want and need. Your child comes to understand that it’s okay to let go of items that no longer hold meaning for us. And more importantly, it teaches them to be generous and to think of others in the individualistic culture we live in.

3.    CONTAIN:Employ the What-Not Basket trick and think through the toy storage you currently use. Place small baskets near your stairs, and drop items into each child’s basket when you see it left around the house. Have your kids clean out their baskets as they get full, or as necessary. Using the CUP method (Choose it / Use it / Put it away) encourages children to help out too. They soon learn that if they choose something to play with, they decide to use it and therefore it’s also their responsibility to put it away once they are finished. If not, a mention of a Toy Jail always works wonders! 

My hope is to raise adults who understand that material possessions don’t equal to happiness. Moreover, I want them to make material possession a conscious choice, thus reducing the stress that comes from clutter. Kids enjoy their space so much more, they are happy to spend their time in the clean room with stuff they can easily find... I am yet to see a child (or adult!) who doesn’t like a nice, tidy and organised room! So let’s stop using kids as an excuse and let’s crack on making our homes the very best we can! It’s our responsibility to teach them how it’s done! We don’t need a magazine styled house but a functional, clutter-free and peaceful refuge for everyone to enjoy.

Written by Daniela Hughes Francisty

Daniela is the owner of iOrganise – Professional Decluttering & Organising by Daniela. Asan expert in decluttering and organising, she is on mission to help people clear out clutter and regain control over their living spaces. Based in Tonbridge, she helps people simplify their lives and create order in their homes, in order to achieve the end goal of a calm, functional home and a focused mind. And remember, if you lack time, motivation or simply don’t know where to start, just drop me a message and we can discuss how I can help you achieve your dream, clutter-free home... 

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