21 Tips on Keeping a Simple Home with Kids
Any parent knows that kids create clutter like nobody’s business. It’s enough to drive a simplifier such as myself crazy. Still, with a little diligence, and a littl...
To use this functions you must log in. If you have not account yet, use Create account button.
Place this code, and your visitors will be able to read this article directly from your site.
Any parent knows that kids create clutter like nobody’s business.
It’s enough to drive a simplifier such as myself crazy. Still, with a little diligence, and a little bit of Zen detachment, it’s possible to have a simple, (relatively) uncluttered home as well as peace of mind.
Reader Christa recently asked:
As a mother of 4, I have to ask how you manage to
simpify, declutter and live a minimalist lifestyle with 6 children. It
seems we have toys everywhere, and the kids stuff accumulates into
every room of the house. What is your system for their stuff?
Let me first state the obvious: any life that includes children is
going to be complicated, at least to some degree. You’ll never get an
absolute minimalist lifestyle with kids, and I’ve learned to accept
that. While my minimalist inner self would like to live without a car,
a cell phone, or a large house, my kids preclude those things from
However, I have found ways to simplify my house, including the kids’ rooms. Sure, the house still gets messy — especially their rooms. But it’s not as bad as it once was, and it’s at a manageable level.
Here are my tips for simplifying your home with kids:
- Identify the important. The first step in
decluttering is identifying which toys and other possessions are truly
important to the kids. What do they play with, what do they love? Then
get rid of as much of the rest as possible, keeping only those they use
- Massively purge. In the beginning, if you have a
lot of kid clutter, you’ll want to go through a massive purge. The way
to do this is to block off a day to go through their rooms. Do one area
at a time: a drawer, a section of the closet, a shelf. Take everything
out of that area, put it in a pile. From that pile, take only the
really important stuff (See Tip 1). Get rid of the rest. Donate it to
charity if it’s still good. Get some boxes and put all the stuff to
donate in there, and when they’re full, load them up in your car to
donate on your next trip. Then put back the important stuff, and tackle
the next area. If you do this quickly, you can do a room in a couple of
- Leave space. When you put the important stuff
back, don’t try to fill up each drawer, shelf or closet area. Allow
there to be some space around the objects. It’s much nicer looking, and
it leaves room for a couple of extra items later if necessary.
- Contain. The key for us has been to contain the
kid clutter. We only let them keep their stuff in their rooms. The
living room, kitchen and dining room are for household stuff only. We
do have a play area for the two toddlers, and their stuff gets spread
throughout the house, but still, we try to contain the kid stuff to
certain areas only. This leaves our living area very simple and minimal.
- Bins. These are the best type of containers for
kids stuff, in general. Bins or baskets. The key is to make it easy for
the kids (or you) to toss their stuff into the bins, making cleanup
simple. Label each bin, if possible, with the type of stuff that goes
there (blocks, stuffed animals, Legos, instruments of destruction). If
your child can’t read, use picture labels.
- Cubbies. We have a small plastic 3-drawer
organizer (we call them “cubbies”) for each child. They don’t take up
much room in the closets, and it allows them to have a place to put
their little odds and ends that would otherwise be all over the place.
- A home for everything. We haven’t actually
completely succeeded at this, but we try to teach the kids that
everything they own has a “home”. This means that if they’re going to
put away a toy, they should know where its home is, and put it there.
If they don’t know where the home is, they need to find a home for it,
and put it there from now on. Actually, this is a useful concept for
adults, too, and it’s one that I’ve mastered and found very useful. Our
kids understand this idea (at least, the four older ones do), but
sometimes they forget. Still, it helps keep things organized.
- Organize like with like. Try to keep similar
things organized together. So, one bin for stuffed animals, another for
sports stuff. This makes it easier to remember. Same thing with
clothes: underwear and socks together, shirts, shorts, pants, etc. All
video game stuff in one place.
- One place for school papers. Similarly, you should
have one place to keep all incoming school papers. We have an inbox for
all incoming papers in our house, but we also keep a folder to store
school papers, so we never have to search for them. Also, when we get a
school calendar or a notification of some school event, we enter it in
our Google Calendar, so we never forget when stuff is.
- Teach them to clean. Our 1-year-old daughter,
Noelle, doesn’t know how to clean up after herself. But all of the
other 5 kids do, including our 3-year-old. So, instead of us
continually stressing out about the messes, we just ask them to clean
up now and then. Sure, things will get messy again soon. But at least
the kids are doing the work cleaning up, not us. :)
- Allow them to mess. Kids are not perfect. They
will inevitably make a mess. You have to allow them to do this. Then,
when they’re done, ask them to clean it up. No harm, no foul.
- Purge at Christmas, birthdays. On these two
occasions, new stuff comes into their lives en masse. If you just add
this new stuff to their old stuff, you will have a huge mess. Instead,
we ask them to put all their gifts in one place. Then, a day or two
after Christmas or their birthday, we go through their closets and bins
and ask them what they want to get rid of so they can make room for the
- Do regular decluttering. Every month or two,
you’ll need to declutter their stuff. See Tip 1. Do it at least
quarterly. You could put a reminder in your calendar, or just look at
their rooms every now and then, and if it looks way too cluttered,
schedule some time to do some purging.
- Less is more. Teach the kids that they don’t need
to have huge piles of stuff to be happy. They can’t possibly play with
everything anyway — there aren’t enough hours in the day. With less
stuff, they can find things more easily, they can see what there is to
play with, and they can own better quality stuff (see next tip).
- Go for quality. Instead of getting them a huge
pile of cheap junk, go for quality toys or possessions that will last
long. Wood is better than plastic, for example. The classic toys are
often the best. It’s best to spend your money on a couple of great
things than a whole bunch of cheap things that will break and be
relegated to the junk pile in no time.
- Learn to accept. You’ll never have a minimal life
with kids. You have to accept that. It can be difficult for a
minimalist like me, but you can learn that being a harpie parent isn’t
as fun as being one that just enjoys their child’s company.
- Buy less. Drastically reduce the amount of stuff
you buy for your kids. It’s difficult to resist them when they really
want something at a store, I know, but you aren’t doing them any favors
by caving in. Don’t deprive them completely, but also don’t spoil them
with stuff. On Christmas, for example, just get them a few great things
rather than a whole bunch of stuff.
- Clean as you go. I’ve learned to clean up messes as I go (or ask the kids to clean up their mess), so that the house is never a wreck.
- Clean before bed. I also do a quick clean-up right
before I go to bed, getting any little things the little ones forgot to
put away. It makes my mornings much more pleasant.
- 30-minute cleanups. On Saturdays, do a “30-minute
cleanup”. This means that every child (over 5 years old probably) has a
chore, and the whole family (including parents) pitch in to clean up
the house. Set a timer, and see if you can do it all in 30 minutes.
That’s much easier for our family to accomplish, as we have six people
(including two adults and a teenager) pitching in to finish quickly.
This gives us a clean house and the rest of the day to have fun.
- Prep time. This isn’t so much to do with clutter
as with general simplifying your life with kids. It helps to have prep
time each evening and morning to prepare the kids’ lunches, clothes, or
whatever is needed for whatever we’re doing that day. This means we get
the soccer gear and drinks and snacks ready on soccer days, or whatever
gear is necessary for the activities of the day. It saves a rush when
you are trying to get out the door, and saves you from forgetting stuff
Rekomendowany: 0 razy
Visitors on-line: 1
All rights reserved
We've got 1 400 000 visits by month!