Kids and clutter are two words that can be rather scary when they are used in the same sentence, primarily because they often go hand in hand. It was most likely around the time you had to come home and find places for all the shower gifts you received while you were expecting that you started to get an inkling of just how much kids and clutter do go hand in hand.
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The thing is, kids’ clutter can be controlled, it just takes a little know-how or perhaps a few fresh ideas to give you that jump start you need to really get a handle on your kids’ clutter once and for all. Not that you won’t have an ongoing battle with keeping it under control, of course, but knowing the plan to follow is more than half the battle, I find.
With that, let’s talk about dealing with kids and clutter by following these 10 steps.
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1. Determine your storage space
Where is it that you will be keeping your various kids’ clutter? In their bedrooms, in the living room, in a playroom or somewhere else? For us, most of our kids’ clutter is in the playroom in the basement. This is the area that I would tackle first. Wherever the majority of your kids’ clutter will be, start there.
2. Determine your storage system
Will you be using storage baskets? Storage bins? Will you have shelves or closets to work with? Once you determine the best systems to meet your needs within the storage space that you discovered in step one, start implementing your systems, making sure to maximize the space you have.
3. Make what you have fit
Yes. Make what you have fit into the systems and space you’ve allotted, and if it doesn’t, it needs to go. It may be time to have a good old fashioned purge. But the kids’ clutter you have in your home needs to fit in the place you’ve designated. And, make sure others in your family know how to corral their clutter as well. Check out How to Encourage Your Kids to Be Tidy and How to Encourage Your Kids to Be Tidy Part Two for some ideas in getting your kids on board.
4. Going forward it must still fit
As things go forward, when things come in, things must leave to make room. As I’m sure you know, you can’t just keep collecting more stuff. If you want your kids’ stuff to fit in the designated area, you’re going to have to purge as you bring in new things.
5. Discern what comes in
If you’ve gone through the trouble of tackling your kids clutter, be proactive in preserving your hard work. Even if you get something new and discover that it doesn’t work like you thought it would when it comes to storing it, your hard work is worth maintaining.
6. Maintain a healthy perspective of “stuff”
Remember that life is not about stuff, life is about the relationships we share with others. Avoid being an emotional collector, and don’t let your stuff rule your life. Believe me, I personally know how easy this can be.
7. Give experiences rather than gifts
An easy way to keep control of your kids’ clutter is by giving your kids experiences rather than gifts. Really, they will treasure your time and the memories you make together more than any other material gift you can give them anyway. Grandparents and others who buy your children gifts can be encouraged to do the same thing. Experiences like a simple ice cream cone eaten while watching the sun set can be so priceless to our kids.
8. Keep up on your kids’ clutter
This is most likely something you already know since it applies to so much more than just kids’ clutter, but not letting it get out of hand is key. Kids’ clutter, or clutter in general, can quickly get out of hand if we let it. Stay on top of the clutter wave and you’ll not have a problem in the future.
9. Be smart
Stay on top of your kids’ clutter, avoid buying more than you need, and don’t be afraid to get rid of things that aren’t meeting your needs. Better to bless someone else with them rather than having these unnecessary things causing stress in your life.
10. Inform others
This can be hard, but let others in your life know of your more reformed way of dealing with kids and their clutter. Let them know that you are trying to keep kids’ clutter to a minimum, and suggest ways that they can still shower your kids with affection.
Clutter is one of those things that seems to be a universal challenge, but it is something that can be managed. Kids’ clutter can be especially annoying since it seems to be forever coming into our homes, but knowing how to manage it using these 10 steps will serve you well.
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