You cannot deny the fact that kids have an inseparable relationship with cluttering. Sometimes as parents, we tend to go crazy cleaning up the clutter or mess created by the children. Finally we conclude that with kids at home, there is no way to de-clutter. But as my experience tells me, that’s not true. You can definitely maintain a simple home with kids around, although I agree that it might not be super clean like before (when you didn’t have kids). Let me quickly discuss some tips here.
1. Understand what is important
If you want to remove clutters from your home that are caused by kids, the first thing that you should do is to identify the toys or any other belongings that are really important for the little ones. Ask yourself these questions- Which are the things my kids love? What objects they play with? Once you get the answers, do away with all the remaining things as far as you can, keeping only those things that they love and use.
2. Go for massive cleansing
Yes, you heard it right! If there is a lot of clutter created by kids at your home, initially you would definitely love to launch a massive purge. For this you have to block an entire day and check out all the rooms. It is advisable to go for one area at a time, maybe a shelf, a cupboard, a part of the closet or a drawer. Take out and pile up all the things that are there and from the pile select only the most significant objects, doing away with the rest. After putting back the much needed materials, move over to the next area.
3. Leave space
When you are putting back the stuff that is important, you might think of filling up each shelf, drawer or closet area. I would strongly suggest not doing so. Allow some space which will make the arrangement look better, and will also keep some room for other items, which you can add as and when necessary.
This is one of the key things that you can do to minimize kid clutter in your house. I myself, with due help from my husband, used to practice it, and it really worked! I used to tell my kids to keep their things only in their rooms, not allowing them to clutter up the dining room, kitchen or living room. We have a play area and although the kids try hard to clutter the entire house, we always try to restrict the stuff of the kids to certain areas. This makes the living area sober and simple.
5. Make good use of bins
Bins or baskets are the best things to limit the kid stuff to particular areas. This makes it more comfortable for the kids to toss the things within the basket, making it easier to clean. You may also go a step ahead to label each bin with the category of things that is kept there, such as stuffed animals, blocks, and so on. Make use of picture labels if the child is not yet able to read.
6. Organize similar things
It pays off when you organize things that belong to the same category. As I said before, you can maintain one bin for blocks while another for stuffed animals. Again there can be a third bin for sports stuff. Try out the same thing with clothes and video games. This will help you keep your home more organized in spite of having kids.
7. Have a single place for school papers
Maintain a single place where you can store all the school papers that come in. In my house, there has always been a separate folder for storage of school papers, so that when my kids need them, they do not have to waste time searching for the required papers. Just as I maintain a folder for school papers, I also ensure that every time there is an announcement of a school event, the same is entered into the Google Calendar. This helps to remember things as and when required.
8. Teach cleaning habits to your children
Make your children learn how to clean from a very young age. The point is, rather than continually creating a fuss about the mess, ask your children to make the place clean if they have cluttered it. Slowly this will become a habit and even if the rooms get messy, you can be sure that the kids will do the cleaning up work.
9. Clean during birthdays and Christmas
We all know that on these two occasions, the kids will definitely get a lot of new things in the form of gifts. If you store this new stuff with the old things that your kids already have, there will indeed be huge mess inside the house. So, the best thing is to ask your children to store the new stuff in a single place. Then, a couple of days after the birthday or Christmas is over, you may rearrange their old stuff, doing away with what is not necessary, and arrange the new stuff accordingly.
10. Abide by the ‘less is more’ doctrine
Make the kids understand that to be happy in life they do not need piles and piles of things. Anyway, it would not be possible for them to play with everything at the same time or in a single day. Teach them that if they have lesser number of things, they would be able to find out things more conveniently and can even properly see the objects which are there for them to play with.