Kids clutter can get out of control if you let it. So if you're feeling a tad overwhelmed right now relax, I'll share with you a few ideas on how to get kids clutter under control.
1. Take stock of what you have. Pull it all out. I mean all of it. You can't get a handle on something you don't know the full extent of. Once all the toys, winter parkas, spring jackets etc ... have been dragged out into the center of their room begin sorting. There is a number of different ways you can do this, so choose one that makes sense for you, your family and your storage abilities. For clothes you can sort by season, size, type (pants, shirts, socks) and for toys sort by recommended age, type or size.
2. Purge. One sure way to reduce clutter is to get rid of it. Take a good hard look at all the toys and clothes in front of you. If things no longer fit, are out of style, badly stained or no longer played with, it's time to part ways. Donate or sell toys and clothes that are still in good shape. Everything else that is broken or beyond repair throw it out. Most important thing here is to get it out of your house as quickly as possible and don't negotiate to bring it back in.
3. Choose a sub-set. Before you start planning how to organize the keepers choose a sub-set of toys for your kids to play with for the day/week/month. From my own experience kids become overwhelmed when they have so many toys to choose from. When they have fewer choices they learn to master the ones they currently have access to and they actually become more creative with them. The number of toys you choose to keep out is up to you. But once you've decided it's time to put the other toys away and out of reach.
4. Organize. There are a number of organizing techniques but I always say choose the one that suits you the best. There is nothing worse than going with a system that you have to fight with. For toys, books and art supplies that will be readily accessible for your kids, consider creating a system that is kid friendly. Use baskets, tubs or bins and stick a laminated photo to the front of the bin to indicate what goes in it. If your kids are old enough to read then use a label maker to label drawers, bins or shelves.
5. Switch them out. So you've chosen a few toys for you kids to play with and the rest are safely out of sight. Every week or once a month rotate the toys. Put away the toys they've been playing with and replace them with a few from the storage bin. This works wonders in terms of get your kids interested in and excited for an old toy again.
Other ideas to consider:
- Over the door pocket organizer - not just for shoes anymore. Use it to hold dolls, papers, crayons, toy cars, small books or toiletries.
- Cubby system - each kid can have their own set of shelves or you can label each one to corral specific items.
- Art work - put an end to fridge clutter by framing your kids art work and hanging it in their room, the family room or play area. Alternatively, stick art work to their bedroom door or on a family bulletin board. Take pictures of their art work so you have a memory of it without having to hold on to the physical item.
- Get kids involved in clean up - at the end of the day take a few minutes to walk around the house and put all of their stuff away. Toys, shoes, boots, jackets, clothing etc ... get your kids involved so they know what's expected of them.