How to declutter your house (part six-kids’ stuff)

So, here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for (unless you don’t have kids, take a break this week, or read on so you can be judgy next time you see someone with kids.)

My controversial approach to decluttering kids stuff using the Konmari approach is………..

……..

DON’T DO IT!

Well sort of. In the book Marie Kondo tells of how she tried to declutter her family’s belongings and how this only upset them, therefore she says you should only tidy your own things, others will follow suit. Now I’m not saying three year olds will start clearing out by themselves but I think there’s an important point.

Just because you see it as pointless plastic tat (which it probably is), does not mean it doesn’t spark joy for your child. A case in point is my daughter’s ‘party bag’. An old party bag fill with random tiny toys, bits of ribbon, hair clips, stickers, that she has collected over time. They’ve been designated as too small for her baby sister and so this bag is kept out of reach, separate from the other toys, adding to the allure I think. To most people this would look like a bag of rubbish and an easy win for the decluttering, however to her it is special, a marker of her independence and maturity separating her from her sister (even if it is a total PITA when she tips the contents over the floor).

With this in mind, I made an effort to not touch the children’s things until I had completely decluttered my own stuff. I said to myself it’s not fair to get rid of theirs, whilst I know there is still actual rubbish in my house (practically empty bottles under the sink, I’m looking at you…)

By doing it this way, what I actually found was we had a lot of spare storage, so we were able to separate the children’s toys out by category, making it much easier for them to find stuff, and easier for us to tidy at the end of the day.

Clothes that they had grown out of were easy enough to pass on/ recycle, toys they had grown out of were a little harder to let go of, but I have a very mature three year old who seems to understand the concept of passing toys on to little children. We also have a great charity shop near us called The Re-useful Centre, this has a good toy department, so when they give away some of their old toys, they can pick up something more age appropriate.

I won’t pretend there hasn’t been some late night raids on plastic happy meal toys, but they haven’t seemed to notice, and the conversion of our study into a dressing up room has more than compensated! (I know, I know, I tried gender neutral parenting, but go figure.)

Marie Kondo suggests that they keep all their belongings in their room, but for us this doesn’t quite work because a) they share nearly all their toys/ books and b) I prefer to keep their rooms clear on the off-chance it may help them sleep ( if only!)

So in summary my top tips for organising kids stuff:

  • Do yours first
  • Spread theirs out by category, e.g. dolls, dresses, dinosaurs
  • Have a way of quickly getting rid of clothes they grow out of (we have a bag under the stairs, once it’s full we take it to charity/recycle)
  • Encourage them to recycle old toys (even if it’s with a bribe of new ones!)

Here are some pictures of where we’re up to…

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Toys in the main play area, left to right: little toys, babies, outdoor toys, food related (plus kitchen we picked up for a fiver at the charity shop last week!)

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The dressing up room. Nuff said.

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But in contrast, a very minimal bedroom…

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How this room looks every night after about 3am, no child in it (zzzzzzz).

 

So that’s it, quite painless really, and I promise it’s really easy to keep that way, I’m far too lazy to tidy up for pictures! 😉

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