Concepts for Kids: Controlling Clutter
The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.
We all have trinkets. Things that don’t quite fit into a category or space restriction. Kids do too, but their trinkets seem like junk to us, right? At the very least, it looks like random clutter.
To children, trinkets are NOT junk nor clutter. Rather, they’re a fine collection of priceless valuables. I don’t know about you but I can’t throw those things away without a major twinge of guilt.
Here are 8 tips to help organize children’s junk… clutter… er, I mean, treasures. Let’s talk about controlling clutter.
1. Designate a Clutter Container – and a large container, if you have the space.
I don’t want to constantly clean a small pile every week. It will drive me crazy and defeat my child’s sense of ownership.
So, we use a large fabric tub (pictured above) in our family room. Childlike clutter tends to accumulate right in the hub of our home. So, keeping a tub here is convenient. Plus, an open bin like this makes trinket clean-up simple & quick.
2. Purge the items by using a habit hook.
Purging needs to take place from time to time in this department. But no need to make a stressful, rigid routine out of it! Try making this chore into a habit hook.
Habit hooks are two good habits you join together by combining one new process with an existing routine. I talked about this concept in a recent post (HERE);
It goes like this… take a good habit you’ve already formed and add to it another habit you would like to start. For example, when you brush your teeth at bedtime, hook on the habit of flossing first. Now you have two good habits that make sense to perform in tandem.
I hooked trinket purging onto vacuuming underneath the heavy furniture pieces. I linked these two together because of…
- convenience – both habits are done in the same room
- similar timeline – both tasks can be done periodically (not frequently)
- different tasks – only one involves purging. I do NOT recommend hooking two or more purging projects together. You may overwhelm yourself! Hook a purging task alongside a mindless cleaning chore or something else simple.
3. Be a gate keeper.
If at all possible, limit trinket-y things from entering your home. Recently I discovered you can ask for free ice cream at Chik-fil-A in lieu of the toy that comes inside kids meals. One less item coming into the home is one less decision to make later.
Although, you do have to decide if you want your kiddo to have the sugar or the trinket. ;)
4. Give advanced warning that collected pieces are only around for a limited time.
My daughter LOVES to cut scraps of paper and turn them into random collections. I let her because I see value in how it builds her imagination. BUT, I also set the boundary that by a certain day/time the scraps must be thrown away.
It sounds cruel, but if I allowed her piles to pile-up we would be swimming in tiny bits of fabric, feathers, and paper!
5. Find a more suitable place.
Below is a picture of a few 4th of July treasures my girlie was given.
She does not wear the glasses, so those will be donated. However, the costume necklaces can transfer to where we keep dress-up clothes, a better fit than in the Clutter Container.
6. Have a secret stash.
Some trinkets are nothing more than that, having no special value or attachment. For those forgotten or neglected items, tuck them away out of site. If “x” amount of time goes by without them being asked for, then donate or dispose of them accordingly.
7. Just plain ask!
I’ve been surprised by what my daughter relinquishes. Sometimes I’ll let her know the bin is getting a little full and ask if she has anything to part with willingly.
Otherwise, when it comes time to purge, it’s something we sit down and do together. I don’t want to accidentally give away the treasure she intended to use in her wedding 20 years from now. ;)
8. Return toys to their designated places.
Often our Clutter Container will collect other toys from around the house. To give you an idea, below is a very small sample of what typically collects. Notice the chopsticks (chopsticks???), sometimes I wonder if we have a kleptomaniac in our household.
I understand this randomness because playtime isn’t segregated into subjects. Playing is free flowing and integrative, so naturally things don’t always get put away as intended.
However, it’s a simple problem she can fix since most of our other toy spaces are designed for a young child to manage (see Rotating Small Toys, Library Books, Stuffed Animals, or Garage Toys and MORE to come in future posts).
I hope that brings you a little inspiration. Now I’m off to clean my own clutter that accumulated on the kitchen table while I was writing this! :)
In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughter. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at UsefulBeautifulHome.com.