I recently walked into one of our kid’s bedrooms and was overcome by the clutter that littered every corner of the room.
“I don’t even enjoy walking in here.” I mused, as I picked up several items in an attempt to make the room look better. Seeing my efforts made little difference, I realized I had found my next project.
A clean and orderly room is usually not a high priority on a kid’s list. However, once given a clean and clutter-free space, I have found my kids gravitate toward that room.
Kids are still in the learning process. Not many are born natural organizers. So as their parent, it is our job to teach them this invaluable skill. It might not be your natural inclination, either. That’s okay. Simply learn the skill together.
Unfortunately, this purging usually needs to be done more than once. So here is the list that I have come up with that helps me with this project.
Throw out all broken and missing toys
Let’s start with the basics. If it’s broken, throw it away. If it’s missing pieces, throw it away. Do you really need to keep that board game that is missing half its contents? Chances are you will never miss it when it is gone. If you do, ask for it for a birthday.
I used to think my kids would be deprived and not have anything to play with if I didn’t keep every toy they had ever received. But then I had to keep up with it all.
In an overwhelmed rage one afternoon I cleaned out and gave half the kid’s toys to Goodwill. Guess what happened? That following week the kids played with the remaining toys more than they had played with anything the past two months!
Less is more. Let it go (I guess Elsa got it right;).
Just a small note, if you have an extra room, why not make that a playroom and get the bulk of the toys out of the bedroom? We enclosed a sunroom a few years back and made it our school/playroom.
It took me a few months to realize that moving the majority of the toys to this room meant I only had to pick up one room, instead of three (two bedrooms and the playroom).
Clean out books
This one is hard. While I can justify getting rid of that annoying battery operated cow that always goes off at naptime, getting rid of a book seems like an educational sin. My child will never go to college because I threw away his Toy Story book that was missing 9 pages!
Then I read this wonderful article (I wish I could find it now) that said a few good quality books were immensely better than a ton of mediocre books. Books that fall into this category could include those based on movie or tv shows, dollar tree finds, or simply the book you HATE to read at story time. It’s okay to give them a new home at goodwill. Your reading time will be much improved.
I think it would be prudent to add that I have not totally gotten rid of every book that fits the above description. Lightning McQueen still holds a special place in my two year old’s heart. And though I have high hopes that one day McQueen will be replaced by Hamlet, I don’t think that is a battle worth fighting at this time;).
Clean out clothes drawer
It is amazing how quickly extra clothes can clutter up a room. This is one area I admittingly hate to deal with. However, to truly get the clutter under control, I had to tackle this area.
After you take out all of the clothes that are either too small or are not seasonally appropriate, take a good look at what is left. Does your child really need twenty play t-shirts? How many holey jeans are necessary?
Bite the bullet and throw out all of the unmatched socks. A new pack at Wal-mart is eight bucks. Allow yourself a little sanity and let it go (thanks again, Elsa;).
Plan for hobby storage.
Do you have a budding artist? Is your child going to be the next lego genius? Hobbies are great, and should be encouraged. But not planning an organized way to deal with the parts needed is a recipe for disaster.
Assess the best way to deal with the storage of the particular hobby materials and make it where your child can access it. Also, if the hobby produces an end product that needs to be admired, take that into account, also.
Here are some common kid hobbies and some storage ideas some creative moms have employed:
My little girl has recently found her inner Michelangelo. While I have a place for paper and crayons, I realized I had no place to store her masterpieces. They were simply piling up in every corner of the house. This led to a pinterest search. Now I have a whole board dedicated to it!
Take out unnecessary furniture
I realized recently how open and bigger a room looks if you can see wall space. Do you cram furniture into every available inch of sheetrock? I used to. But when I got serious about clutter, I was astonished at all I kept around just because I had it, furniture included.
Currently in our boys room we have a bed and one tall dresser. Last week I added a bookshelf. When we redo the closet I want to get rid of the dresser.
Use what you need then get rid of the rest.
How’s the room looking?
If you are like me, your child will again want to spend time in their own little space. Did you include them in the process? My kids are young (5 years and younger), so on certain projects they are included, and others they get to watch a movie. And I’m okay with that.
How about you? How do you simplify your child’s room?