I am a busy, full-time working mum. There are two things that are precious to me:
- My Kids
- My free time.
So do I want to spend my free time tidying up after my kids? Well, you know the answer to that!
So here is how I make sure the time in the kid’s room is spent enjoying them and minimal time is spent tidying up after them.
1) Purge when they aren´t there and do it often.
Incorporate constant decluttering into your home organization plan. Often we get put off by this step because it seems like a giant task. But honestly, it doesn´t have to be overwhelming. Put a basket/bag somewhere in your children´s room out of sight and as soon as you see an item of clothing that is too small for your child or a toy that he/she doesn´t play with, simply throw it into the bag. When the bag is full, take it to the charity shop. If you reduce the number of things your child has in his or her room you will inevitably tidy less.
Practice the “One in one out” rule. On birthdays, Christmas’s and even random days when your parents in law arrive at your home with a surprise for your children, look for something to donate that very same day to make space for the new thing. Be ruthless and don´t overthink the process of donating so you can embrace the new and remember the joy it will give to someone else.
How to be ruthless when decluttering.
I understand we have emotional connections to clothes and toys our children use. I also understand that as children get bigger we like to keep things that remind us of certain moments of their childhood. But remember, you want the best for your child and children cannot play in the chaos of clutter. Being ruthless means throwing out artwork, donating toys they don´t play with (even new ones), and doing it when they aren´t around. Remind yourself that our memories are in us and not in our things and that the more we take out of our house the more space our children will have to freely play and enjoy the things they actually want to play with.
2) Label everything clearly and use bins.
Give a place for everything. When your child receives a new toy, take it out of its original packaging and give it a box, bin, basket, and label it immediately. The best toy storage is clear plastic boxes because the children can see what’s inside them and will only take out what they actually want to play with. If you prefer to use colourful baskets that match the decor of your room, then remember to label them with clear pictures and don´t overpack them. This will allow your child to see what is inside without having to empty the contents on the floor.
3) Utilize your vertical space.
Take a moment and stand in your child’s room. Analyze it and ask yourself if you are optimizing the space. Look at the back of the door, the handing area in the wardrobe, the walls….so often we have shelves that are big or walls that are bare or doors without hooks. Invest in shelving, use shelf dividers and hang an assortment of hooks for added storage.
Use higher shelves for items that you can only reach like, for example, bedding, hand-me-down clothes that are too big, books that you don´t want to read over and over again (haha), and for rotating toys.
4) Organize different areas for different activities
In your organizational plan, study your child´s bedroom and map out different areas for sleeping, studying, clothes storage, and playing. You don´t need a lot of space for this exercise and it could simply mean dividing areas using baskets and bins as mentioned above. Dividing the room into areas means that your child has a clear idea of where things go and helps him/her when they are tidying up.
5) Make “tidy-up” part of your daily routine by pairing habits.
Simple tasks such as making their own bed, putting their own clothes into the wash basket, and putting their clothes away can be started with your child as early as age 3. You can teach your children to fold or roll their clothes as soon as they are 4 years old or before! If they are older and you want to bring this routine in, then start by pairing the tidying up activity with an activity they really like to do or already do.
For example, I started recently saying to my children that we can´t have breakfast until we make our beds and get dressed. This meant we would start the day with a tidy bedroom. It took about a week for the grumbling to stop, but now it is a habit. Similarly, at the end of the day, I started saying that all the clothes have to be in their place (dirty/clean) before there was a bedtime story and within days it became a habit for the kids to have a tidy room before going to sleep.
I really feel organizing your home is about forming habits. Habits for your kids keeping their rooms tidy and habits of constantly decluttering and getting things you don´t use out of your home. Do you want help keeping these habits? Join my Facebook community Organize & Optimize your home or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me help you get started today.
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