Parenting can be tough and if your home is a mess, it can be tougher. If there are toys on every surface, half-finished arts and crafts projects on the table, and clothing all over the floor, you might feel overwhelmed. Looking to do something about it pronto? Well, decluttering with kids doesn't have to be difficult.
The idea that you can’t declutter when you have kids is 100% a myth. In the following guide, we will cover some essential tips for successful decluttering, as well as some of the approaches you can use to share this habit with your little ones!
Why involve your kids in the decluttering process?
Decluttering doubtless makes your home look attractive, but that’s not the only benefit of this practice. Believe it or not, this activity can help teach your kids some valuable lessons and skills.
Here are some of the rewards you will reap when you start to declutter your home and involve your kids in the process!
Makes it simple for you and your kids to find what you need
Have you lost your keys again? Perhaps you’re running around in a mild panic, checking every cupboard and drawer you come across for your child's favorite book.
If that scenario sounds familiar, it can help to make decluttering with kids a real habit in your everyday life. Having a place for everything in your home means that it’s much easier to find whatever you need when you need it.
Improves mental health for you and your kids
Did you know that there are also mental health benefits of decluttering? Having a clean and tidy home can lead to lower levels of cortisol (also known as the “stress hormone”) in your system.
Experts have also theorized that having a decluttered home can give people higher levels of self-esteem and the confidence boost they have been looking for. Building self-esteem and confidence are super important for children.
Helps you and your kids maintain focus
When you’re a busy bee — trying to do multiple things at once — it can be hard to focus properly. That problem is made worse by a messy home. And worse for your kids if they have clutter all around.
When you can’t find the things that you need, you may struggle to keep your attention on one task. The reverse of that is that you can become more focused when you declutter your home. Decluttering with kids can help your family to focus on what's important instead of being distracted.
6 ways to declutter with kids
It's not difficult for children to accumulate a lot of stuff — from clothes and toys to games and books. This typically comes from a combination of things you buy them, gifts they receive, crafts they make, and more.
It's important that you are intentional about involving your kids in the decluttering process. As time goes by you'll be glad you did especially once they become self-sufficient enough to maintain a decluttering process on their own.
That said, if you want to streamline your home, below are some of our top tips to declutter with kids.
1. Create a tidying schedule
Spoiler: You can spend all of your time decluttering if you are constantly doing it throughout the day.
You’re a busy person with many different things going on. Rather than chasing your tail and trying to constantly pick up after your children, set aside a portion of time for it each day and involve them in the process.
You may find that it’s helpful to create a “tidying schedule” at the same time each day when decluttering with kids. And during this schedule, you all tidy up together. This is a great habit-building exercise.
2. Donate old games and toys
If your home is overridden with toys, consider donating some to charity. The Toy Foundation is a good place to start. The organization allows you to donate unwanted toys to kids all around the globe.
Let your kids take part in this so that they learn the art of altruism. Allow them to choose which things they want to donate to a good cause. You can plan to do this with each season change or once or twice a year.
3. Invest in toy boxes
Storing toys can be a nightmare especially if you have open-plan shelving. Get around this problem by investing in a toy box (or even a few!) where you can hide everything away.
For example, you could get three different toy boxes in different colors. You can use one for soft toys, one for games, and one for toys that have many small parts, such as Legos.
4. Get rid of broken toys
As you start the process of decluttering with kids, did you notice you're holding onto things that your children no longer use? When a toy or game has broken, you might be under the illusion that you are going to fix it.
However, unless you do this immediately, you will probably never get around to it. Look for places where you can donate or recycle broken toys rather than taking the shortcut of simply throwing them in the trash.
It's also a great opportunity to team your kids about the idea of recycling and how it helps the environment.
5. Create a capsule wardrobe for your kids
We are all guilty of buying too many sweaters or shirts for our little ones. If your kids have an abundance of clothes, you might find that it is hard to declutter with kids.
One of the ways that you can handle this problem is by creating a capsule wardrobe for each of your kids. That means getting rid of any miscellaneous clothing items and keeping things simple.
Have your kids pick out their absolute favorite clothes. You can even have a fun time creating different outfits together.
6. Categorize their toys and books
You’ve already put the vast majority of your kids’ toys in boxes. The rest of the stuff can be put on shelving units. Of course, this can look messy if you have no system in place.
Categorize these books and toys and show your kids how the system works. You could put small colored stickers on each of the toys to show the kids where it goes, for example.
Have your kids help you with this exercise so they can learn or improve their organization skills and know where to find things.
How to make it fun when you declutter with your kids
Decluttering your home is tough enough as it is. However, when you throw decluttering with kids into the mix, it can be an ongoing task. Teaching your children the value of decluttering when they are young is a smart move.
This lesson will stick with them for years to come and they can easily carry it into their adult lives. Here are three different ways you can make decluttering fun:
Make a game out of it
We all know that children love games. If you want to get your kids to help with decluttering your home, one of the most effective options is to make it into a game.
You could choose a “tidying up song” to play when you want them to put their toys away. Tell them that they have to see how many things they can put in the right place by the end of the song.
Alternatively, you can set a timer and see who can tidy up the fastest!
Set a good example
If you want your children to pick up decluttering habits, you need to show them how it’s done. If you struggle to pick up after yourself, they might, too.
For the best results, it’s worth leading by example when you declutter with kids. This means not just the action of tidying up but also having a good attitude about it too.
A mini dance party after your tidying-up task is complete can give you something fun to look forward to!
Reward them when they tidy up
Don't underestimate the power of positive reinforcement when decluttering with kids. If you want your children to learn good habits (and stick to them!), you can consider a rewards-based system.
That could mean giving them a break or a quick game when they have done their chores. Of course, compliments can be equally as effective when showing your gratitude.
Decluttering with kids can help change your home for the better
We all know that decluttering with kids can be hard, however, it is not impossible. Within this guide, there are simple approaches you can use to get the job done. Make this positive change in your life and see what rewards you start to reap.
The sooner you teach your kids to live a clutter-free life, the more comfortable they will be with tidying up after themselves.
This can have a strikingly positive impact on your mental health and the state of your home for both you and your kids. So, why not get started today?
In addition to this guide, you can read more tips about how to be organized and how to stick to your budget, too!