If you have children, you know that January presents some unique organizing challenges. The influx of gifts from the December holidays, plus more “inside time,” can throw a wrench into your goal of a clutter-free home. Here are some ways to help tackle your kids’ clutter while teaching them to organize.
A place for everything. It’s difficult to keep up with children’s organization systems because their possessions change so often. Give everything a “home,” though, to make it easier for you and your child to stay organized. Use bins (opaque or clear) of different sizes for toys, shoes and any items that children can put away themselves. Depending on your children’s personalities, you can sort and label, or just be happy that they get things off of the floor. Choose your battles!
Establish a routine. Once everything has a place, it becomes easier to create times to put away items. Try to establish habits like hanging up coats and bookbags when the kids come home, putting toys away before bedtime, preparing homework and bookbags for the next day the night before, cleaning bedrooms once a week, etc. It may be a battle, but your kids will learn from experience that life is much easier when they don’t waste their time looking for everything!
Teach your kids to let go. Learning not to hoard items is an important part of growing up. For younger children, you can make items they no longer use “disappear” when they are out of the house. For older children, involve them in the process of letting go, concentrating on the fact that quality over quantity is best and that their donations can help children in need.
Teach yourself to let go. You realize you can’t keep every toy and item of clothing that your child has ever owned, but why is it so hard? Be honest with yourself about your space and how many sentimental items you can keep. The truth is that your child probably won’t want a bin of baby clothes when they go to college or move into tiny apartments in their twenties. Save only the most important items, things that will be fun (not tedious) to look at years later.