With every child you have, expect clutter… lots of clutter. When you’re raising kids, figuring out how to declutter might feel like a distant dream, but there are ways to declutter with kids.
As a new mom, I gleefully added everything under the sun to my baby registry.
But then the baby came. As he grew, so did our clutter as we received more and more gifts and clothes and toys… until I was ready to move out of my house!
As I became overwhelmed by the clutter, I realized that many of the decluttering books, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, didn’t address how to deal with kids’ clutter in a realistic way.
Instead of the “decluttering magic” that I read about, I found myself constantly battling clutter.
I tried a 30-day decluttering challenge, and I even created a Weekend Warrior Challenge to declutter quickly.
Get both decluttering guides in the Conquer Your Chaos Bundle.
But no matter how much decluttering you do, it’s important to get your family on board.
Now that my kids are getting older, I’ve learned to manage the clutter. It’s much better to take control of the clutter (in other words, get it out of the house) than try to clean and step around it.
But trying to declutter with kids is a process. It’s not something that you can do once and be done forever, despite what the KonMari technique promises.
How to declutter your home with kids
Dealing with kids’ clutter requires systems and plans. You also need to prevent the clutter from entering your home. Finally, decluttering with kids also involves teaching your kids how to declutter.
Don’t get me wrong: kids’ clutter doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
By adding “decluttering” to your regular cleaning plan (download a copy of my cleaning plan here) and reducing the amount that enters your home, you’ll be able to keep your home organized and clutter-free!
But if you’re struggling to stop the overwhelm in your home right now, despite your kids’ best efforts to save every last thing, try these tips to declutter with kids and get your kids’ toys, clothes, papers, and stuff organized! I promise that it’s easier than you think! 😉
Decluttering your home with kids is a pretty tough task, but it can be done.
Being a mom can be tough sometimes, but it’s also pretty awesome. In addition to getting all the hugs and kisses you could ever want, you also get to teach your children so many important life lessons. One of those lessons is how to live in a small space without throwing everything everywhere and forgetting where things go.
Here are some helpful tips for decluttering your home with kids.
Teach them WHY it’s important to declutter
There are so many benefits to decluttering your home from a mental standpoint alone. You’ll have less stress, more space for family time and hobbies, and less clutter that will make you feel like you need to clean more often.
Help them make decisions
Kids love to play with toys. They also love to use their imagination and dramatic play skills. That’s why they are always filling up their rooms with things that belong in other rooms, or don’t need to be there at all.
Kids are not very good at deciding what they want and what they don’t want. This is why we, as parents, have to step in and help them out.
We need to set a clear system for them so they can make decisions on their own when we are not available. This way, kids will have a better understanding of what they should be doing with things like toys or clothes.
We should start by picking out a few items from the room at random and ask them if these items should go back into the toy box or go somewhere else in the room.
How can I get my child to declutter?
Encourage your kids to declutter by asking them to make a commitment and then reward them.
Use stickers, a minute of screen time, or even money (a quarter per item or a percentage of the money earned in a garage sale or consignment sale) for every single item that they are able to get rid of.
This decluttering challenge is a playful way of encouraging kids to declutter. Best of all, this game is based on the simplicity and success of the “Fight the Clutter” book series, which teaches children how to declutter by focusing on the process, instead of the outcome.
In addition, I love the “smart toy strategies” in the Impactful Habits, Organized Home course.
How to get kids on board with decluttering
It’s never too late to consider how you can get your kids involved with your decluttering project. Let your kids know that this is a family activity and that they are welcome to pitch in with their ideas.
Make an agreement with your kids about the items you will declutter together. This will make sure that both of you are on the same page.
Create boxes for each category of items you want to declutter, like toys, clothes, or books. The boxes should be labeled so you know what type of items are inside them and what needs to happen next with them: donate, give away, or throw away.
Start by sorting through the piles of items that are in one area by one category. Make decisions about which objects should go and which should stay, and then move on to the next area.
How do you get rid of stuff with kids?
I recently shared my tips to declutter with kids on Setting My Intention. If you’re looking to declutter and organize your kids’ stuff, read 4 Simple Ways to Reduce Kid Clutter here!
5 Kids’ Things You Shouldn’t Declutter
Children can be very attached to their belongings, which can make it hard for parents to get them to let go. Luckily there are ways to get your kids to finally let go of their favorite things.
- One way to do this is by encouraging your kids to donate or sell their items when they are done with them. This lets them feel like they have accomplished something and encourages sharing with others.
- Another idea is promising your kids a new toy if they give up something old and unfavored, or you could offer a reward for every item they give up.
- Another tactic is not buying things in the first place (e.g., avoid buying toys that will clutter up the house).
- The final option is trading items with other family members instead of letting kids fight over who gets which item.
It’s always hard for parents to say goodbye to their children’s childhood memories. But with the ever-increasing technological advancements, it can be made easier.
We should not feel bad about replacing the old toys and gadgets with new ones. It is our responsibility as a parent to listen to our kids, but also offer them an experience that will help them grow and mature as they get older.
Also, many items can be repurposed into useful items, OR you can simply take a digital photograph of the item to serve as a memento.
Nevertheless, these items should be saved:
1) Cribs – although cribs may become obsolete (I had a “generational” crib passed down to me that was “repaired” with chicken wire) you can always save them for a grand baby.
2) Toys – Not every toy should be kept, but many, like Legos, Lincoln Logs, or trains/die cast vehicles will never “go out of style.”
3) Blankets -A favorite blanket is often one’s security blanket – an object that we need in order feel safe or comfortable in our own surroundings. These blankets are usually from childhood and are sentimental objects that are cherished by children for many years after they are grown.
4) Stuffed Animals or Dolls- Some kids have an affinity for fuzzy animals and will do anything in order to keep them as close as possible. Also, sometimes it’s difficult for kids to let go of their dolls because they want to make sure they’re taken care of.
How Do you clean your house with little kids?
Even after you’ve decluttered (with our without your kids’ help), it can be challenging to keep a house tidy when a child is around.
Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Keep clutter off the floor by using baskets or containers to store toys and other items.
- Establish a routine for the day so that kids know what they have to do and when they have free time.
- Teach your kids how to put things away by showing them where everything belongs.
- Create a schedule for chores, with help from your children, so that they have input on what needs to be done and how often it should be done. Make sure you choose age-appropriate chores for kids (get the printable list below).