Get that Clutter Out!
Keeping your house clean is one thing, but keeping your house clutter-free is an entirely different beast; this requires dedication and motivation. I will not sit here and tell you to throw it away if you do not need it, but if you do not need it, why do you have it? Keeping clutter down, as a parent, is challenging but also vitally important. Things can very quickly add up if you are not paying attention. Clothes, toys, decorations, and I am not just talking about kids’ stuff. Believe it or not, adults create clutter, too! So, I am just trying to share some of the wisdom I have learned over the last numerous years of adulting and parenting about how to keep your house clutter-free.
Declutter Adult Stuff First
It is important to note that adults make just as much of a mess as kids do. And the nice thing about kids is that if they see you keeping things clean and organized, they will mimic you (to some extent). So we are going to start with decluttering tips for the adults in the household.
As we are (mostly) not growing, our clothes can stay from year to year, but you still need to clean out the closet. Clothes you do not wear anymore, clothes that are just a bit more worn than they should be, these things need to be removed from your house. You can donate them, or toss them, or make them into rags for cleaning the house, or you can use them for crafts. But they are not needed in your closet. I am not a fan of cleaning the closet. Over the years, I have tried different techniques, my husband calls them experiments, to help me keep on top of the closet clutter:
For all the clothes that belong on hangers, put them in backward (you have to put the hanger under the clothes rod to hang it up). Do this for every item on a hanger. Pick a day for this. Then moving forwards, all of your clothes go back onto the hangers with the hangers facing forwards (hanger goes over the clothes rod to hang). After 3-months or 6-months, or a year, whatever time frame you want, come back to the closet and look at all of the items that are still hanging backward. All those items have been unused since you started. Take these clothes out and get rid of them.
Make a habit of putting clean clothes at the bottom of the pile. This way, all of the shirts and pants are making it to the top to be worn. If you select an article of ruined clothing or clothing that you do not like, get rid of it.
Do not hang onto things you plan on donating
If you plan on donating clothes, make sure you are keeping them all in one place. Then, make sure you are taking it to the donation center regularly, as this will also pile up and not help your cause.
Don’t buy random junk
Just because it is on sale does not mean you need to buy it! You are not saving money by buying it on sale if you did not need it! That is not helping with your clutter. If you genuinely need it and it is on sale, go for it, but if you are buying it because it is on sale, chances are you do not need it.
Most people have a storage area in their house; it could be a basement, a spare bedroom, an old closet, or a garage. This area is not a dumping ground for junk. It is where you store things that are needed regularly, for example, seasonal clothes.
Often, we would dump things into our spare room, and it would just pile up there. When the kids came, there was no longer an extra bedroom, and all the junk got shifted to the basement. Again, when the kids got older, we needed the basement for life, all the junk moved to the garage.
Over the years, and every time our storage area moved, we went through all of the stuff and reduced the amount staying. Lots of it was tossed as junk because that is what it was.
So, these storage areas need to have a purpose. If, for example, you are storing seasonal clothes, they need to be labeled and used, and cleaned out every so often. But these areas are not for junk, and they need to stay organized so you can access what you need.
But remember, this is not a catch-all area for you to ignore.
Declutters the Kids Mess
Now that you know how to keep the house clutter-free of your stuff, it is time to pass on this valuable information to your kids. We will focus on some main areas for decluttering with kids:
One in, one out
Toys are the biggest culprit when it comes to clutter and kids. They will get toys like they are going out of style. But seldom do the toys leave the house. So, implement a rule in your home that one-toy-in-one-toy-out. With this rule, toys can maintain a reasonable leave. Once your kids get used to this idea, they are more willing to cooperate with this activity. I will typically do the one-toy-out event before birthdays, holidays, and grandparent visits, as these are high toy intake events. These times are also beneficial to help tip the scales for a few more toys out than in the house.
Seasonal clean outs
Every year has 4-seasons, this does not change. But kids grow out of clothes, so it is good to do seasonal closet cleanouts. If clothes are torn or damaged, toss them. If your planning on more, keep the good stuff and sell or donate what you do not want. Will they fit into it next year? If yes, keep. If not, either sell what is left, donate it, or toss it. (Or you can do some crafts with it)
If it’s broken, toss it
I made this mistake for years! Now my kids think I can fix anything! (And so does my hubby). But some things are not meant to be! That dollar store wand? Nope! That Barbie outfit? Nope! Toss it! Somethings should be fixed. But kids’ toys, and random stuff you can buy for less than what it takes to fix it, do not waste your time. Just toss it!
Every once in a while, if you are paying close attention, you will see unused toys. Either they have outgrown them, or they are not interested in that anymore. These are good opportunities to move the toy out of circulation. It can mean 1 of 2 things:
1) Get rid of it – if you are sure the toy is unwanted, get rid of it. Donate it, sell it or toss it. But get it out of your house.
2) Keep the toy aside for a while and cycle it back into play later. While taking some toys momentarily out of circulation works well to keep toys feeling fresh to kids, it can quickly pile up to toys laying around, probably in your storage room, just accumulating in the junk pile. So be warned.
Where will it all Go?
Once you have decided to remove it from your house and life, you need to do just that. So:
- Throw it out!
- Sell it on a swap page, like Facebook Marketplace, or Kijiji, or in a garage sale.
- Donate it! There are lots of places taking donations. Lots of people are in need. Check out this list of place you can donate to:
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