I asked 8 amazing declutterers for their professional top tips on dealing with clutter belonging to kids. Their tips are so helpful and I’ve put them into practice already. Am sure you’ll get loads out of this. Here’s what they said:
Stop clutter before it starts and enjoy experiences with your children instead of buying more and more “stuff”.
What children want most is time with their parents – and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Going to the park, reading stories, baking cakes – even just chatting about the day you have both had – are great ways to bond with your child. Instead of yet another toy that is soon forgotten, make memories that last a lifetime. And encourage relatives to take the children out somewhere at Christmas and birthdays, rather than add another present to the huge pile from a person the child barely sees.
James Wallman, author of Stuffocation, calls this “experientialism” – experiences not stuff. You might call it good old-fashioned family fun. And it could just be the best present you ever give your child.
You can find Jules at Cluttered to Cleared.
Minimise the toys that come in to your home.
Studies show that children don’t need more than ten toys. The fewer they have, the more they will use their imagination and find other ways of entertaining themselves, or use the toys more imaginatively.
You can find Ros at The Organised Company.
We believe that everybody should take responsibility for their own possessions in a household.
By caring for their own belongings from an early age, children will learn the habit which will lead to better organisation and respect for their belongings in later life. However, clever storage is the key to enable a child to work within an orderly system and minimise clutter. A child should be able to reach the storage provided and it should be clearly marked by a label which states the contents of the box or basket, or in the case of a smaller child, a picture. Parents should be very clear which toys or books belong in which room and a tidy up after a play session should be encouraged and reward given to reinforce the positive behaviour. If everything has a place, this should be a simple exercise and manageable even by a small child. Rotate toys. By putting some toys away and swapping around after a period of time, there are less toys to clutter and the enjoyment of “new toys” is greater! Let children be part of the sorting out process. If they have outgrown toys, give them the chance to do good and pass on to a friend or charity.
You can find Heidi and Nicki at All Organised.
Consider creating a “toy library”Children are naturally empathetic so often it’s easy to get them to let go of toys and stuffed animals, for instance, if they know they will be going to sick children or those less fortunate. Right before the holidays or a birthday is a natural time to declutter as you can tell your child you need to make room for more toys. Lastly, if there are toys they refuse to give up but you are still left with an overabundance of toys, consider creating a “toy library” in an out of the way place (attic for instance) and rotate toys every three months. The toys that were in the library will seem like new!
Respect that everyone is different and treats their space in a different way.
My daughter is 17 which means she is basically an adult. Her bedroom belongs to her, and I let her have a full control over her possessions. Yes, I ask her to clean up from time to time. But she is an artist and gets inspired when she is surrounded by colourful treasures so who am I to tell her to get rid of them? In return, she respects my rules outside her bedroom and leaves no trace of clutter in the common area.
Make storage accessible
I think one idea would be to ‘get it off the floor’ with storage solutions, also something to consider would to be make it accessible to the children so they can tidy up themselves
Don’t buy things unless they are replacements to items you had
Be calm, talk to your kids about their additional and unwanted items in the house that need to be sorted (if they are 6y/o and above), be ruthless and decide which items need throwing away, recycling or donating to charity. Keep sentimental items to the very end. To avoid clutter accumulating again, don’t buy things unless they are replacements to items you had. Teaching this golden rule to your children will make them more aware and responsible of their belongings.
You can find Mona at The Organising Ninja
Make it fun and try to think of suitable rewards
Throw away broken toys, or any games with missing parts that you really can’t replace or substitute; you won’t use them again. Involve your kids in regular ‘declutter’ sessions in their own rooms. Ask them to set aside toys that could be donated to sick kids or to their school jumble sale. Make it fun and try to think of suitable rewards e.g. put one marble in a jam jar with the child’s name on when they do well. When the jar is full they can have a small treat, and then you start all over again.
You can find Liz + Julia at Carefully Sorted.
Please let me know if you’ve tried any of these. I think they’re fab – would love to hear from you. x