As we all know, children create clutter – and lots of it! Tidied bedrooms rarely last for long, and all dreams of being able to see your living room floor went out the window years ago. But fear not – follow this five point decluttering plan and you’ll not only have an organised, streamlined home, but it’ll stay that way…
1. Getting started
Getting started can often be the toughest part. Find that much-needed motivation by tackling the most annoying most annoying area first. Once you’ve cleared that irritating drawer or cupboard, you’ll feel such a sense of achievement. This will propel you into action and give you that shot in the arm you need to keep going!
Involving the kids from the start is also important. If they had a hand in creating their newly-organised space, they’ll be all the more likely to accept it.
With every area you tackle, follow this simple principle: evaluate what you have first, and organise second. Now let’s get going!
Start by looking at what you have. Do you really need to keep everything? Children often have so many toys that, chances are, they won’t miss them if you cut down a few.
When picking which ones to cull, avoid asking “Do you like this toy?”. The answer will always be yes. Instead, ask them to put their favourites in a box (or two, depending on how much space you have), and keep these ones in an easy-to-reach place.
As for the ones they haven’t picked out, these can be donated to a local charity or friends with kids. If you’d rather hang on to them, why not try rotating toys? Store some of their toys out of the way, and rotate which ones they have to-hand every few months.
Once you’ve decided what’s staying and what’s going, it’s time to get the right equipment to store what’s left. You need solutions that are kid-height and easy to use, so they can reach – and most importantly, put away – their toys without needing your help. A stuffed toy zoo or a DIY car garage is a great, creative way to keep toys off the floor and in their rightful home.
Again, start by sorting what you have and what you want to keep. Clothes that don’t fit any more can be passed on to younger siblings or friends with children, and clothes they haven’t grown into yet can be stored out of the way in the loft or a storage facility until that inevitable growth spurt.
Now for the clothes they wear every day. The priority when finding a home for these is organisation. They need to be kept easy to see and easy to reach to make the morning rush less stressful. Try storing whole outfits together, rather than t-shirts, trousers or dresses in separate drawers.
Fancy dress outfits are another matter – why not turn them into a decoration for the room by displaying them on hooks or an open rack, and kill two birds with one stone?
Start by throwing out anything not currently being used (yes, I’m talking about those unused mini toiletries stolen from a hotel bathroom!)
Minimise the number of bottles in your bathroom even more by encouraging everyone to share toiletries. Unless someone has special skin conditions, there’s no reason to have five different types of shampoo in the shower.
Install hooks on the wall for everyone’s towels and facecloths (lower ones for the kiddies), and invest in a shower caddy to keep the side of the bath or shower clear and easy to clean.
Instead of a cup for toothbrushes, give everyone a holder to stick on the wall above the sink, either DIY or a cute shop-bought version. Not only will this keep the sides of the sink clear, but it’ll also mean not having to wash out an extra cup every couple of days.
5. Keep it going!
Getting the kids involved in decluttering at the start is one thing, keeping them involved is another. Incorporate the new, organised storage into their routine by introducing the ”if you want to play with something, first put away what you’re playing with now” rule.
Making your new storage solutions fun and something they want to use will also encourage them to keep it up. Putting their stuffed animals away in their new “zoo” or swing is a fun activity, not a chore. If they enjoy doing it, they might even tidy without any help from you – or at least that’s the dream!
As well as being fun, all the storage you pick needs to be user-friendly for your children. Kid-height solutions are essential, and making sure toys can be put away easily with one hand will mean no excuses for not keeping the newly-decluttered areas neat.
So there you have it – follow these five steps and you’ll be well on your way to that clutter-free haven of a home that you always dreamed of. And here’s hoping it will stay that way – at least until tomorrow…
About the author: Natalie Andrews is from international cleaning experts, Helpling. She is becoming a cleaning and decluttering expert thanks to Helpling’s work with home cleaners all over the world!