Q&A: Decluttering + organizing with kids

Whether parents struggle to keep up with weeding their wardrobes (they are growing so fast!) or their toys seem to keep multiplying, keeping a tidy space when you have kids presents extra challenges.

The gift giving part of the holiday season can put even more stress on family homes.

I get a lot of questions from parents who are overwhelmed about their kids’ stuff, so I figured I would take this time to answer them! Are you in this boat? Read on!

How do i figure out which toys they’ve outgrown?

One way to simplify the problem is to set a limit for how many toys your kid will have at one time. A study run by the University of Toledo confirmed the sentiment of many parenting experts who say that kids get more out of playtime when they have a smaller number of toys.

From there, you can adopt a one-in, one-out policy that will encourage them to cultivate the skill of decluttering and enforce the limit you’ve set.

Once you’ve established that limit, and you’re dealing with a smaller number of toys, it’s much easier to keep up with the age-appropriateness of their toys.

what should i do about relatives giving the kids too many toys?

Clearly and compassionately communicate with your family members about your family’s toy policy. They want to be generous and they’re going with what they know, and now you’re the one doing things differently from the rest of society. To help them out, you could suggest gifts to them that are consumable or experience oriented.

How can I help my kid declutter and organize their room?

Often in life, we fixate on trying to help people with issues that we are dealing with ourselves. So first, I would check in with yourself to see if that might be going on.

What’s the situation in your room? If it is less than ideal, I recommend you work in there first. Learning to recognize when you’re done with things and let go of them is a valuable life skill, and yours will become that much stronger by teaching them to your kid after learning them yourself!

In doing so, you’ll gain the clarity and skills that are needed to successfully help your kid in their room and involve them in the process. And, you’ll be able to model the habits that you want them to have, which is powerful.

How do I get my kids to buy into an organizing system?

Most kids demonstrate their ability to follow organizing systems in their classrooms at school, so if you are having trouble enforcing one at home, there is hope! My colleague, parenting consultant Sarah Getoff, gave some great tips in this guest post from earlier this year.

From where I stand, as a professional organizer, you need to set up simple, straight forward organizing systems for them. One of the traps people fall into easily is overcomplicating their organizing systems - and this makes them difficult to follow for adults and kids alike!

You also need to make sure you are consistent in enforcing these systems until they have the habit down. This is much easier said than done, and there’s no shame in seeking support in the form of a parenting consultant if you feel that you are challenged by this.

With Love + Gratitude,