Mighty Mommy shares six smart and helpful way kids can stay in control of their stuff, so they can enjoy their space and you can enjoy the serenity of a tidy home.
During the many long years I tried to get pregnant, we kept busy spending countless hours tackling home projects, redesigning all of our indoor and outdoor living spaces, and acquiring...weel, stuff. I can’t believe I’m going on record as admitting this, but not only did I organize my pantry closet alphabetically, I actually decorated for the seasons!
And then it happened—we adopted our first child with less than a week’s notice and suddenly my life was a total whirlwind. And after waiting six years for this miracle of parenthood to finally grace us, exactly one year later I delivered our second child. And in the blink of an eye, we had two more babies giving us a family of four kids in four short years.
I thought we had a lot of "stuff" before we had our kids. Wow—was I ever wrong! Gone were the days of having a crisper drawer full of color-coded fruits and veggies. Now I was managing a plethora of diapers, formula, and a ton of baby paraphernalia. I couldn't care less about seasonal home décor, I just wanted to have a clear path from the kitchen to the bathroom without tripping on all our new baby and toddler claptrap.
I wouldn’t change the excitement of how our family finally came to be, but I would definitely change how many baby items we purchased during those first few years. In plain and simple terms, we went overboard, and ended up spending way too much time and money trying to manage our kids' clothing and other products.
Somehow I kept up with the dozens of loads of laundry each week and was able to weed through all their miscellaneous items at the end of the day, but once they became toddlers and pre-schoolers, trying to stay ahead of the tidy-up game seemed near impossible.
Twenty five years of parenting later, I’ve learned some smart and helpful ways to guide my eight kids in keeping their rooms as organized and clutter-free as possible. Here’s the scoop on six ways to help your children stay in control of their stuff, so they can enjoy their space and you can enjoy the serenity of a tidy home.
6 Ways to Help Your Child Maintain a Clutter-Free Bedroom
- Regulate Trash
- Purge Performance
- Contain Yourself
- Toy Rotation
- Closets and Clothing
- Maintain the Momentum
Here they are in closer detail.
1. Regulate Trash
It sounds simple because it is: One of the quickest ways to declutter a space is to walk through the area with a trash bag in tow and start trashing the trash. Remove empty containers and boxes, plastic cups, broken toys, stained and tattered clothing and shoes, rolled up tissues, half-used juice boxes, ripped magazines, worn out backpacks—anything that is pure garbage and has no use at all needs to go.
Once you have a handle on those unnecessary items that are just taking up precious space, the room itself will look less overwhelming, and you’ll have a better handle on the important pieces of the room that you need to tackle next—their must-have possessions, school items, and clothing.
Get a fresh trash bin for your child’s room and line it with a plastic bag for easy removal when it is full each week. (This should be determined by age-appropriate guidelines. For example, I never had small plastic bags in my toddlers' rooms.)
I also nixed any eating in my kids' bedrooms. Walking into a room where dishes are strewn with half-eaten sandwiches, apple cores, and other stale surprises creates clutter. It also makes way for foul odors, hard-to-spot crumbs, and potentially little critters like ants you don’t want hanging out in your child’s room.
When kids learn at a very early age that garbage belongs in the trash can, and not lying around on an empty surface or casually thrown on the floor, they will learn to take pride in their bedrooms and also be more responsible in keeping other areas of the house tidy as well.
2. Purge Performance
One of my favorite ways to create order and harmony in my family’s life is to cleanse and purge our living spaces. I find it so satisfying and therapeutic to eliminate the unnecessary items—paperwork, unused clothing, used books and toys, and dust-catcher knick-knacks that are just taking up both space and time in trying to care for them.
As I mentioned earlier, before I had kids, I spent countless hours rearranging furniture, artwork, dried floral arrangements (eek!), and changing draperies when the mood struck me. I was basically a slave to my "stuff." Eight kids later, sure I love having a beautiful, comfy home for us to enjoy, but I’d much rather spend my free time enjoying an experience with my kids rather than shuffling our possessions from one spot to the next, and even more I hope they realize how much nicer it is to have less clutter to worry about and more time doing things they love instead of housekeeping tasks.