All parents know about the mess that kids can make. They can attract clutter like no one’s business and it can drive even the most laid back parent up the wall.
If toys are taking over your home, then you need to take action. Here are some tips for reclaiming your home from the amorphous mass of toys:
Purge, and Purge Regularly
If you have a lot of clutter, then the first step is to purge, but purge with the help of your kids. The sooner you get them into the habit of getting rid (this means chucking or donating), then the sooner it will stick and you’ll have little purgers of your own.
Help them to identify the toys that are important to them. What do they play with regularly? What do they love? Is it broken? When was the last time they played with it? Get rid of as much of the rest as possible. For more tips for decluttering with kids, take a look at Becoming Minimalist.
You should also purge after Christmas and birthdays when they’re likely to have been given more toys. Have a one in, one out system. This way the mess will never over run.
Contain the Toys
If there are toys that live in places other than your kid’s rooms, then it’s time to reclaim that space. Toys are stored in the kid’s bedrooms and playrooms and nowhere else. This helps to limit the amount of toys that your kids can physically have, which helps with the purging process.
You should also have a few areas of your home that are completely off limits altogether to toys, too. Your bedroom and the kitchen might be a good example – these are spaces that are your own and might be dangerous to have toys lying on the floor.
This is a really important part of reclaiming your home – have a home for every toy. It might mean using bins or baskets to shove a type of toy in (this makes tidying up easy for them and for you) or having drawer organisers for each child. This means that when it comes to tidying up time, your child knows exactly where things go.
Teach Good Habits
A child will only know to clean up after themselves if you, first, lead by example, and second, train them to. So with patience, you can make sure that your kids cultivate habits that will stay with them, such as cleaning up after themselves after they are done playing with their toys.
Allow the Mess
Playing with toys is a good thing. They learn, they explore and they imagine when they play, so if they create mess from time to time, then it isn’t the end of the world.