How to declutter your house with children
Have kids? Then you probably have a lot more clutter laying about the house then you'd like. If you're like me, physical clutter feels like mental clutter. And when you have little people contributing to the piles, suddenly it all becomes a bit overwhelming.
Minimalism is all the rage right now thanks to Marie Kondo, and so it should be. We live in a disposable world and give little thought to our impact on the world around us. Think about it: do you really need all the trinkets, jewellery you don't wear or fondue fountain still in the box? Similarly, does your 12-year-old need his drawings from grade one or that moth-eaten macaroni necklace made at after-school care five years ago? Probably not. Marie Kondo focuses on only keeping things that “Spark Joy” and being grateful for the items you have. A great perspective in this day and age.
It might sound like a mammoth task, but think about how much you WON'T have to clean up all the time with fewer things in your house! But how to do that with children about? Well, it might end up being easier than you expected.
We went out to some Mum’s for tips for decluttering, and this is what has worked for them:
Most found it easier to do the rest of the house first, then tackle the kids' rooms last. If you have babies or really little kids, it should be fairly easy to sort out what they do and don't need anymore and bag it up when they're not around. I know it's hard to throw out things of sentimental value, so I think it's OK to keep a couple of things to look back on when they're older. Make a separate pile of items you are unsure of, then go back and "edit" it later, but, as my Mum always says: "If in doubt, chuck it out!"
If you have older children, it is better to do this exercise together. There's nothing worse than coming home from school to find your favourite books and toys have gone to local charities, and you're never going to see them again! The good thing about approaching the task this way is you have some bargaining power in that there is the potential for pocket money to be made. Any valuable items still in good condition can be sold online with the money given back to the "owner." Hopefully not to buy more things that will create clutter though!
The best thing to remember here is you need to be ruthless on a regular basis if you want to make real progress and see real changes in your house. Trying to tackle this with kids around your ankles will not work. Book a sitter, switch on Netflix or get the kids off the property altogether if they're not old enough to help.
Do one room at a time and try not to get distracted. Make sure you arrange everything you keep so it's easy to find, or the operation will be pointless. And don't forget the wardrobe! This is where you will get some satisfaction when your clothes drawers are no longer overflowing.
If you're interested in living a more simple life, check out the website Becoming Minimalist for a plethora of tips and tricks to get you started on the right path. Happy decluttering!