Ever feel like you are drowning in clutter? Is a lot of it related to your kids’ toys?
Today, I’ve invited Kate from The Home Design School to P&P to discuss strategies and tips to organize your kids’ clutter. Kate has an amazing blog full of decorating advice and de-cluttering tips.
Guest Post by Kate Hatherell of www.TheHomeDesignSchool.com
Over at The Home Design School, I often talk about the importance of having a well-designed, well-decorated home. This isn’t just because I love all things interior (although of course I do) but it’s because I believe that the way your home looks has a real impact upon how you feel.
A home should be a place for pleasure, rest and relaxation, and your home environment should be set up to support that. If your home is full of clutter and badly decorated, it fosters a sense of chaos and confusion, which spreads out into the way that you live your whole life.
Now you might be thinking that this is all well and good if you live in the pages of a magazine, but how do you achieve that when you live in a normal family home, where you have children with all of their clutter and toys around? How do you keep on top of it all?
Follow these 7 tips to organize your kids’ clutter for a calmer, clutter free home:
- Purge and declutter. Some children (mine included) have so many toys that they no longer know what they own. Set aside a whole afternoon to go through their toys and to recycle or give away any toys which they have grown out of, no longer use or simply have too many of. If there will be tears and tantrums doing this, then declutter while they are out of the house. They are very unlikely to remember what they had (but if this is a step too far for you, hide a bag of toys for 3 weeks and only return them if they notice they’re missing).
- My children tend to play with the same small group of toys, which means they have lots of toys which never get played with. Split your children’s toys into 4 different piles, and put 3 of them into storage in labelled plastic boxes (perhaps in an attic or garage). Rotate each set of toys every week or two: your children will never get bored with their toys again, and you’ll have less clutter to contend with.
- To organize your kids’ clutter ensure that you have adequate storage for each type of toy. So get shelves for books, baskets or hammocks for soft toys and boxes for board games. If each item has a home, it makes tidying much easier.
- Once you have tidied and decluttered, take a photograph of each area of the room. Print the pictures out and laminate them, so that children have a visual reference for tidying. This really helps to depersonalize the tidying process; they just have to match the room to the photo.
- Get your children on board with keeping their bedrooms and playroom tidy. This is probably the best strategy to organize your kids’ clutter and keep it all tidy. Think carrot rather than stick, and reward them if they do well. Download this handy reward chart, which will have your children desperate to help out. Stickers and pencils or erasers make good rewards, or allow them to save up for a bigger ‘prize’.
- Remember Mary Poppins and her spoonfuls of sugar? If you can turn tidying into a game, then your children may begin to enjoy tidying up. Gamify the chore by creating a leaderboard for who can tidy the fastest. Set the timer and see if they can beat their previous time, or each other’s.
- And if all else fails, my fallback position is this: I take a refuse sack into my children’s playroom and fill it with anything that’s been left out. I then give them 10 minutes to tidy everything from the bag, or it’s going in the trash. A word of warning. If they don’t tidy it away, you really do have to carry your threat through. It’s a pretty harsh strategy, but it works amazingly well if all else has failed.
It really is possible to create a sanctuary amongst the day-to-day paraphernalia of kiddie clutter with these top tips. Don’t forget to download your free reward chart, and then let us know how you get on. Good luck!
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