Using Kids and Clutter-Free in the Same Sentence




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Kids create a lot of noise. Kids create a lot of fuss. Kids create a lot of havoc and Kids make you late for almost everything. But above all of this, sitting nestled at the top of the podium for the hundredth year in a row, kids create a whole lot of clutter. It’s like they were born with the sole purpose of creating a mess, and all you can do is stand there in total dismay as your mind whirs and whirs until you finally accept that their messy-clutterness drives you totally bonkers.


But it doesn’t have to.


That’s right. You heard us. It doesn’t have to.
You see, with a little bit of perseverance, a pinch of meditation, a splash of zen and a strategy, you can keep a (mostly) uncluttered home without losing your mind or making your kid throw a fit the likes of which you have never seen before.


The reason we chucked in the little-bracketed caveat of ‘mostly’ is pretty simple: you have kids. That means you will never have a totally clutter-free home or be able to embrace that growing trend known as minimalism. It is something that you need to accept.


That said, there are things you can do to make your house a little more clutter free and simplified, including the kids rooms. Your home will still get messy, but compared to what it used to get like this will seem heavenly. So, without further ado, here are our top tips for decluttering-slash-simplifying your home:


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Know What You Can And Can’t Touch

This is going to be one of the most important decision-making areas you face because knowing what is and isn’t important in the eyes of your child will ensure that you don’t toss anything - toys and possessions - that are super cherished by your little one. So, before you make any moves, watch which toys and things they play with and which bits and bobs they love the most. Then, slowly, start to get rid of the things they don’t ever use or play with. Give them to charities, pediatric departments in hospitals and friends with kids. Voila, you now only have toys and possessions that your child actually loves and uses.


Presentation Is Important Too

Now that you have done a purge of all those space-stealing possessions, it is important you take presentation into account when putting the important things back. It can be way too tempting to fill each and every drawer and shelf with things. But this doesn’t exactly look, well, neat. That is why we urge you to leave a little bit of space around each of their favorite toys. It looks nicer, your kids can find their toys easier, and it leaves space for, well, newer clutter (which is inevitable).


Set Up A Quarantine

Okay, so maybe the word quarantine is a little strong. Perhaps contain would have been better. Either way, try and keep your kids toys contained in their bedroom and - if you have one - their playroom. The living room, dining room, kitchen, entrance, hallways, bathroom and wherever else you can think of should be for household things only. This isn’t to be harsh. No way. It is so that your home isn’t a danger zone where you run the risk of standing on a Lego brick, and it is so that your kid doesn’t lose their favorite toys. And, yes, because you don’t want their clutter taking over your house like some sort of alien invasion. It is worth noting that you will not succeed in this. Not all the time. But it will help you keep on top of things, which is kind of all we can ever hope for as parents.


Bins Are The Best

Bins, chests, trunks, baskets - all of these are much-needed friends because each of these makes clearing up so much easier to handle. It just helps you contain the mess a whole lot easier. To make them work even better, add labels (or stick some pictures) onto them so you and your kids know what goes in what bin. It will become an organized mess, whereby you and your kid will know where to find which toys. You could even put some stick on basketball hoops above them and make clearing up way less efficient but way more fun if you really fancied.


Teach Them to Clean And They Will Be Fed For Life

In the same way kids have an unrivaled ability to make a mess, they also have an incredible ability not to clean up after themselves. It is quite something to behold. They will make a mess but not know how to clean up after themselves. That is why you should teach them. Explain that everything has a place and so everything should be put back in its place. Take the time to learn about natural cleaners so that your kids can help you clean up any mess that they accidentally create, whether in the living room, kitchen, bathroom or wherever. They may not be the greatest cleaners in the world, but it is important you teach them why they should clean up. And, let’s be honest, it is better they try than not because at least you will have less to do.


Let Them Make A Mess

They are kids after all. That’s what they do. They make a mess as a result of playing and exploring and letting their curiosity get the better of them. It is their way of learning and growing and you can’t quash that. Surely. So, instead of trying to stop them making a mess - which will be a losing battle, trust us - let them. Then, once they are finished, ask them to clean up, or at least ask them to help you clean up. That is only fair.


Purging Twice A Year

There are two times every year when your kids receive an overabundance of new things - Christmas and their birthday. That is why you should purge their old things. If you don’t, you are just going to be adding all this new stuff to their old stuff and then you are going to be doing battle with a whole lot of clutter and a whole lot of mess. Of course, it is super-duper important to get your kids on side, which is quite easily done in all fairness. All you have to do is ask them to keep their new things separate and then, a few days after their birthday and Christmas, have them go through their old things and choose which bits and bobs they are happy for you to give to charity or a hospital in order for there to be space for their new things. It works. It really does.


Make Cleaning Super Fun

Whether you are putting toys away, vacuuming the floor, mopping the kitchen, sweeping the living room or just wiping down the surface with those natural products we mentioned earlier, make it fun by turning it into a cleaning party. That’s right. Put some music on - whatever they like - turn it right up and then sing and dance as you go. Go on Spotify and you will find an abundance of Disney and cleaning playlists, the kind of things that will get your kids into the spirit of cleaning up. Just because it is considered to be a chore doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Quite the contrary, and a little bit of air guitar will prove that fact.


The Flash Cleanup Is A Winner

Nothing beats a flash cleanup, say twenty to thirty minutes of making the house look less like a war zone. Don’t just do this alone, though. Make it a family thing, because as the old saying goes, many hands make light work. Give everyone in your family a set of tasks to complete, pop a playlist on, set a timer, count them down and watch as the house gets a clean up in almost no time at all. It is just such an easy way to keep on top of the mess. Whether you are a family of three or a family of six if you all pitch in you will get a lot done very quickly. And there we have it, a clean house and the rest of the day to have fun. What more could you want?


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Organization Is Critical

The more orderly you can keep things the easier your life will become. Have somewhere for stuffed animals, somewhere for Lego bricks, somewhere for plastic toys, somewhere for school things (including homework), somewhere for sports bits, a place to pop all your videos games and DVDs (if they still watch DVDs) and anything else you can think of. The more organized you can get your kids to be, the simpler you will find clearing up to be.

Like we said, you are never going to have a totally tidy abode. You gave up that dream when you had kids. But, so long as you can accept that, you can still have a happy and tidy home, which is way better.

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30 comments:

  1. I love me some bins! I have 2 kids and bins are life savers. We try to purge a few times a year as well, because these kids end up with just too much stuff.

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    1. How DO they end up with so much stuff??? LOL Yes, my daughter is actually a good purger, so she does a couple times a year. My son. . . . another story. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I always try to purge around the summer and once again before Christmas. Otherwise we would have toys running out our ears!

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    1. Right before Christmas is an awesome time to purge! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  3. These are such great tips for controlling the clutter when you have kids. We've had many cleaning parties at our house, with plenty of loud Disney music to motivate all the little (and not-so-little) cleaners. As our kids have grown, I love keeping things cleaned out and, in recent years, have worked to minimize the clutter. It does get easier in a sense when they grow older and out of the toy stage.

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    1. Yes, I agree. It does get easier as they get older and there aren't as many small toys. Disney music sounds like awesome clean-up music! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Such a helpful post. I'm all about bins too. Everyone's situation is different and these tips are good for anyone to read through.

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    1. Bins are great, as well as trunks. We use a lot of trunks, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Lol, as I read this, I thought about how I can use these tips with my husband. He hates throwing things out and can amass quite a bit of clutter. Great tips. I love the flash cleanup idea.

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    1. Haha! Hey, whatever works, right? Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  6. These are all wonderful tips that I'd love to share with friends who have kids especially the little ones that are starting to discover what a joy playing is. I think it's good to just contain the toys in one room, it's easier to deal with it that way.

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    1. Yes, it definitely makes it easier if it can be contained in one room. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. This is a really thought out post. I think these are great tips for how to handle these types of situations. I do not have children, but I know people who do that would benefit from this.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I hope you have a great week!

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  8. These are great ideas. I got super lucky and my youngest daughter took after me and my husband. We both are OCD when it comes to order, and so she has always been one to keep things in the correct bins and even back in their boxes.

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    1. That's nice that you have at least one that likes order. I'm sure it makes life a little easier. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

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  9. Thanks for sharing these great ideas. I don't have kids yet, but I'll be sure to keep these tips in
    mind for when that day comes!

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  10. This is probably my biggest frustration when going to a friends house with kids, is toys everywhere! Kids need toys and that's a huge part of their life but I often wonder if it could not be contained better!

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    1. Haha! Spoken like a true kid-less person. ;) But yes, hopefully tips like these would help in those situations. Hope you have a great week!

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  11. Bins are a life saver. They make storage and cleanup easy. I also agree you have to teach kids to clean up after themselves. It's a good habit to get into so that you don't become a slob as an adult.

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    1. Yes! And so that they don't think there's always going to be someone there to wait on them hand and foot! Hope you have a wonderful week. :)

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  12. As soon as the kids could take out toys from their shelves and cabinets, I taught them to clean up after themselves. It's really important that they do so, because it doesn't just keep the house clutter free but they'll learn some discipline as well.

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    1. I totally agree AnnMarie! It is a great way for them to learn discipline at a young age. Hope you have a great week!

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  13. This is a nice post. It's hard to teach kids to pack their toys away. And I'm always thinking of "another way" to let them clean up.

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    1. Thank you, Journa. You're right. It's something that we still struggle with sometimes, but now it's soccer balls and band equipment! I hope you have a great week.

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  14. These are some great tips! Im yet to have children of my own but work with children so know how messy they can be. I love the idea of a cleaning party, that sounds like fun!

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    1. It is fun! I still remember the days in preschool with my kids singing the "clean up" song. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share! LOL But, I love Lori's idea of the Disney music. Hope you have a wonderful week!

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  15. My children are obsessed with stuffed animals. Together they own more than I ever have in my entire life time. This weekend we decided to give them on tall canvas decorative hamper to fill and the rest will go in a bin for storage. They are allowed to rotate every few months to love all stuffies equally. We also set a rule of one new animal means they have to get ride of one old animal. It's easier for kids to manage their possessions when they aren't so overwhelmed by them.

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  16. When my daughter was little it seemed like there was so much clutter everywhere! I wish that I would have allowed both of us to just enjoy instead of always chasing the clutter. These tips are good I will use them for my job.

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