What about all that stuff my kids accumulate?!?

While we’re still on the topic of organization this month, let’s talk about how to handle all that stuff that stacks up, piles up, and clutters up your house related to your children. Some of it is tough to let go of and some of it just gets out of hand before you even realize it. There are a few things you can mindfully do in your home that will keep the kid clutter under control. If you already feel like it’s too late to reign it in at this point, think again … you can still implement these techniques and get it together (and you’ll be so glad you did!).

Let’s talk about some very specific clutter issues related to your children and ways you can get them under control.

Artwork – OK, if your children are old enough to hold a crayon or paintbrush you know how quickly the artwork can start piling up (and how hard it is to get rid of ANY of it). If you keep every single work of art made by your little ones, though, you’ll need a storage shed just for this purpose. Honestly, though … wouldn’t you rather be able to look at some special items your child created than having piles and piles that overwhelm you? Here’s how I handle artwork:

 

  1. Let the artwork accumulate for a set period of time (monthly is easy to manage) and then sort through with your kids to decide what to keep and what to toss/recycle.
  2. If getting rid of any artwork is too sad for yourself or your kids, take photos of items that are going to need to be thrown away – Artkive is a great app to look into using for preserving the artwork.
  3. Pass on the artwork to family and friends … grandparents love to get artwork from their precious grandbabies or you can use the artwork to create cards for birthdays or holidays for friends and family.

Toys – The earlier you can start on the toy clutter issue the better. There are intentional things you can do to avoid the chaos of toy clutter before it ever takes hold and ways to keep it from taking over your home as your children get older. If it’s already a battle you can’t see getting under control, setting aside a whole day or weekend to reign it back in could be in order (just make sure everyone in the house knows what the plan is as they need to be involved in the process).

  1. Less IS Better. That’s not to say that kids don’t need toys, they do … but too many toys is the issue. Read more HERE as to why less is better when it comes to toys.
  2. Purge Often – think Marie Kondo style purging. Unfortunately, children grow out of toys quickly. Donate, trash in some cases, or set aside for younger children, but avoid the issue that so often happens when parents finally decide to declutter (or are forced to declutter due to a move) and you’re 10 year old still has toddler toys in the closet.
  3. Toy Rotation – Have you tried this? This is a great solution to the issue of too many toys and gives you the opportunity to bring out “new toys” when needed. If your children are overwhelmed with toy choices, this may be a partial solution to your toy clutter issue. HERE is a step-by-step guide to toy rotation. Let me know if this works for you … it’s on my To-Do list!

 

Get Organized – I’ve been sharing organizational tips all month, but when it comes to organizing your kids’ space, my biggest tips are closed storage and labeling. I absolutely LOVE the Elfa brand from The Container Store (good news – all Elfa is 25% off as of the date of this post). It’s super versatile and can basically be used to organize anything! Craft items, games, school supplies, clothing, toys … give it a home and label it so your children know where items go when they are done with them. It will make your life so much easier!

Photos – Sentimentally, this is probably the hardest of them all, but decluttering photos can be done whether they are on your phone or actual photos. Marie Kondo has a solution to photos that many people can’t even conceive of doing (throwing away photos). This is usually the last step of decluttering if you’re completing the Konmari method and it may be the hardest, but if we’re talking about decluttering and kids, getting it under control early is best. Here are the main points when it comes to decluttering photos:

  1. Gather ALL your photographs into one place and get the family together … this can be a fun way to spend an evening together and look at memories.
  2. Organize by time period (years, ages of your children, etc)
  3. Here’s the hard part – choose which to keep and which to let go of. You don’t need multiple photos of the same event or scenery photos that you can’t even identify. Choose the best photos and release others. Put together a memory book for your children with extras if you like, but some will need to be let go of. It will honestly let you enjoy your best photos more easily. Really. Just do it.
  4. Digital photos are probably where the majority of your memories are kept these days, so decluttering and organization is just as important in regards to your phone/computer storage of photos. If you don’t get this aspect of your life organized at some point you are much more likely to just lose all those precious photos due to the overwhelming number of photos on your phone. There are some great tips for getting organized digitally in this article. Apps are available that allow you to print photos straight from the albums on your phone. It’s easy and inexpensive … Freeprints is one such app.

Does this all sound overwhelming? If you try to do it all at once it probably will be, so take another piece of advice from me … start small. You’ll be excited by your progress and more likely to want to get more accomplished as you see how much better it makes you feel to take control of this part of your home and life. Also, don’t forget to get the children involved. In order for your new techniques to keep the kid clutter under control, they need to be on board when it comes to clean-up time and making choices about what to keep and what to let go. Just remember, the sooner you get started the better, so make it happen and let me know how it goes!

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