Children – our lives are enriched by their presence. They bring us joy, purpose, and significance. They are our hope, and they spread love to the world. They fill our homes with laughter and clutter. LOL.
While it is challenging to keep our home tidy with all the toys and gadgets our kids seem to need, decluttering can still be possible with significant effects. In this post, I would like to share eleven tips I have learned that can help make simplifying our home with children a little easier!
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Why do we need to declutter our homes for our children?
Kids are messy. It’s a fact of life. But that doesn’t mean their living space must be cluttered and chaotic.
According to research, children raised in chaotic homes, characterized by noise, overcrowding, and a lack of order, tend to score lower on cognitive and self-regulatory abilities. They also have poorer language abilities and score higher on measures of problem behaviours and learned helplessness than children raised in less chaotic homes.
With fewer choices, kids can learn more about the activities at hand. In the short term, it can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. A tidy environment can also be more conducive to focus and concentration.
In the long-term, teaching kids how to keep a clean and organized home can help instill essential life skills like time management, goal setting, and decision making.
Moreover, it can also help them appreciate the value of taking care of their belongings. So even though dealing with clutter can be daunting, remember that the benefits are well worth the effort!
How can I benefit from a decluttered and organized home as a parent?
First, you will save money for more important things when you intentionally purchase stuff for your kids. Your spending habits positively change when you have a goal: not to add more clutter to your home.
Second, you will have less cleaning to do. The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean and put away. That’s all there is to it!
As you will not be spending too much time cleaning, you gain more quality time to spend with your kids.
Finally, with fewer things to manage at home, you get less stress and have a clearer mind.
Have you ever been to a friend’s or relative’s house and noticed that you feel more relaxed because there is less clutter? I do. It doesn’t matter if they only tidied up before you arrive, but the lesser things you see, the more comfortable you become. Just like the feeling you get when you first arrive at a hotel room.
Tips to get started on decluttering your home with children:
Set some ground rules
Before you start, sit down with your kids and tell them you are removing items they don’t want and need. Set some simple rules they can follow, such as only keeping things they love or use regularly. Set your limitations to match your child’s age.
Start with a small space.
When you’re first teaching your kids how to declutter, it’s best to start with a small space like their bedroom or playroom. You can even start with just a bookshelf or a toy bin. Starting small will help them see the benefits of decluttering without feeling overwhelmed.
But kids love every toy when decluttering! When you have young kids, you’re the best judge to know if they play with a specific item. Have a toy rotation in place if your kids have a lot and you don’t plan to become a minimalist.
Toy rotation simply refers to determining the number of toys available at any given moment and updating the existing toys regularly, not by adding more toys but by removing some and replacing them with others.
Make it a fun activity.
Decluttering doesn’t have to be a chore! Try to make it into a game or competition. See who can declutter the most in a certain amount of time or have a contest to see who can come up with the best storage solution for their belongings.
Discard or donate items that are no longer needed
A key part of decluttering with kids is getting rid of toys and clothes they no longer play with or have outgrown. Teach your kids the importance of donating or recycling items instead of simply throwing them away.
Apply the one-minute rule
Decluttering your home is just the first step to making it a more joyful place for kids. The next time you find yourself with extra minutes, check out this tip from Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project! She suggests you do any work that takes less than one minute as soon as you recognize it. So if toys are lying around without being used or placed correctly, return them immediately after recognizing their existence. Depending on your child’s age, you can teach them this concept too.
Create a storage plan
Creating a storage plan for your belongings is an integral part of decluttering. Give every item a home. A storage plan will help you know where everything is and make it easier to put things away. You can even do labelling if you have ample time.
Follow the Container Concept
We all love to provide educational toys and books for our children. I have a weakness for finding great deals on used books that my husband often rolls his eyes at when we go shopping together, but he’s never complained too much because it is part of who I am!
I follow the container concept of organizing very closely. You only keep what fits in a designated bin or box, instead of buying more bins. This helps reduce over-accumulation by limiting how many items can fit into your house or rooms. It also helps teach kids early about self-control.
As a rule, I told my teenager that she could collect books as long as it fits her storage. For younger ones who already know how to organize their belongings, you can teach them that if toys overflow, they have to let go of a few and keep the ones they love.
Do the one in one out policy.
If you feel the urge to buy a toy or something for your child, feel free to do so. However, take out one item of a similar kind at home and donate it. You can apply the same principle when they receive gifts on occasions.
Use the one-dollar rule when purchasing kids’ items.
We all love to dress up our little kids, especially little girls, and I am so guilty on this one. However, with so many handed-down clothes from my nieces, I rarely need to buy my little one new ones, and on these rare occasions, I apply the $1 rule from Bernadette Joy. If an item comes to one dollar or less per use, I give myself the green light to buy it.
Have regular decluttering sessions
Decluttering never ends – it’s a good idea to have regular decluttering sessions with kids – seasonal or monthly; this will help keep your home in tip-top shape and prevent items from accumulating over time.
Following these tips, you can efficiently declutter your home and teach your kids the importance of living in a clean and organized space.
What should you avoid in teaching kids about decluttering?
When teaching kids about a clutter-free home, avoid using terms like “junk” or “mess.” Instead, explain that everyone has things they use daily, stuff they use sometimes, and things they don’t. Help them identify which category each of their belongings falls into.
Teach them how to organize their belongings so they can easily find what they need. By using positive language and giving them concrete tools to declutter their space, you can help kids develop lifelong habits of living in a tidy home.
Takeaway: Do I consider my home clutter-free?
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the housework when juggling a family and work, but there are ways of making things easier, like having your kids and husband involved.
Do I consider my home clutter-free? Of course not! Our house still gets messy, especially when rushing to go somewhere. But it’s much less complicated than before I started simplifying my life. Now when things get overwhelming or stressful in our lives–I just need to take some time and reset!
What are some other tips that you would add to the list? Share them in the comments below!