I’ve tried to declutter with my kids before. Let’s just say, it didn’t go very well.
“Mummy, I can’t find my t-shirt!”
“Mummy! Where did you put my reading book?!”
“I’ve lost my student council badge!”
“Why did you only wash one of my socks?”
These are just some of the frustrating things my kids screamed at me one morning. Oh, did I say one morning? I mean EVERY morning. (Please, tell me I’m not alone!) Trying to declutter with my kids was slowly but surely tearing my limited sanity to shreds.
I decided enough was enough, and I made my way to the best source of advice for mothers all over the world – Nanny Google. Amongst all the child psychology drivel, mummy forum rants, and perky Pinterest posts, I actually found some decent tips to try and
experiment on help my kids organise their own clutter.
Here are the 5 simple yet effective tips that finally helped my kids declutter in no time!
1. De-clutter clothes
Here’s the ironic thing – I remember my own mum buying baskets for everything. And I would mock her for it. There were baskets under the sink, on our bookshelves, by the dresser, in the TV cupboard, everywhere! Somehow, every time she left the house, she bought more of them.
But now I get it.
I bought my kids 4 baskets each for their shelves and labelled each one:
- Underwear and socks
- Trousers and shorts
- T-shirts and sweaters
Now when their clothes are scattered all over the floor after 10 minutes of deciding what to wear, they know exactly where to put it all back. WITHOUT asking me a million times in that
annoying adorable voice: “But where does this goooooo?”
2. De-clutter toys
This tip I used twice. Once at home, and again at the playgroup I helped run each week.
“Tidy Up Time” is always a hot mess. You’re ready to put your kids to bed, put the kettle on, and put your feet up. But you can’t relax when all the Barbies are stripped naked with their legs in the air and the hot weels cars are lying in wait for you to skid on and break your neck.
But when the kids can’t remember where everything goes, it just gets thrown anywhere which makes the following playtime more than little irritating.
I managed to get my hands on a handy little Ikea storage set of drawers and by placing labels on each drawer, the kids know exactly where to put it all. Don’t worry if your children can’t read yet – you can use photo labels! Take a photo of the contents of each drawer and stick it to the front. Some of the categories included:
- Train tracks
This method also made it much easier for the kids to decide what they wanted to play with each day. We’ve all had those days when the kids genuinely haven’t got a clue what they own so they simply conclude – “But I have NOTHING to play with!”
This little hack solved that problem!
3. Everything has a place
Sensing a theme here? When kids are completely clear on where things need to go, it makes decluttering independently possible. My kids know that their shoes go in the shoe cupboard, their school bags go in the large racing car in their room, their books go in the book cupboard, and their notebooks go in the brown drawers in the playroom.
When they know where everything goes, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy repeating yourself over and over again!
4. Time It!
Time seems to stand still whenever we ask our kids to do anything. They can trash a room in 5 seconds flat, but it will take them 5 weeks to actually put the clutter away again! But for some reason, all kids love a ticking clock and a chance to use Siri (maybe it’s more Siri, who can know for sure?)
“Hey, Siri, set a timer for 15 minutes!”
And, voila! The kids are running around to put their clutter away in the time I’ve given them. We go from the playroom, to the living room, to the bedroom – wherever they have taken their destruction – and they have a limited time to get it all put away.
Jazz this up with some music (YouTube has some great ‘Tidy Up’ songs) or even the sound of a countdown will get them excited.
5. Reward it!
Or punish. Mama’s choice. If my kids get the clutter cleared away in the time I’ve given them, they get to watch TV, or go on the computer, or whizz around the block with their bikes – whatever they choose! Of course, this only works if they aren’t allowed these little pleasures BEFORE the mess is cleared.
If they don’t… well, there’s no time to do anything fun, is there? Simple logic and consequences works 100 times better than me screaming my head off until I give myself a migraine. Only I lose out that way!
Don’t expect clutter-free miracles
They are kids at the end of the day. Mess is going to happen. These tips won’t keep your house spotless all the time, but they will help get that clutter out of your face in record time and minimal stress!
Let me know what tips work for you! How do you declutter with kids? Tag me in your stories/posts over on Instagram – @OurDailyWonders