As part of the Life Well Lived Getting Organized panel, I was asked What are your best tips for keeping the clutter at bay with kids in the house? How do you help your kids develop good organizing skills?
I have a pretty big, old house that spans three floors. And though I have space, I do not have much storage. Closets weren’t really a big thing back in 1892, when my house was built.
I have two boys, ages 6 and 3, that have lots of toys. To keep the clutter down and to teach them to keep (and stay) organized, I have three rules I adhere to:
1. Everything must have a place. Pretty simple. If it doesn’t have a place to live, then you might not get to keep it. And in the middle of the floor or on Mom’s table is not an option. Just because I live with two kids doesn’t mean that my house has to look like a playground. This rule usually motivates the kids (and husband) to find a place (or places) to store things.
2. Toys must be put into said place once playing is done. Want to watch some television before dinner or go outside to play? Sure. Just make sure you clean up before doing so. While I’m the neatest in the house, I have no desire to clean up after everyone’s messes. The kids know that it is expected of them to clean up their toys before they can go on to the next activity. It might take the 3 year old a while to put things away, but he’ll get there if he’s motivated enough.
3. Purging is necessary every few months. At some point, those “places” for storage become overloaded, and toys end up without a home. Typically, this means that it’s time to go through toys and start donating. We go through toys every few months with the kids and note which ones they have outgrown or just don’t use. It’s a great exercise to go through. They might not agree right away, but when they realize they can’t keep everything, they start to make some good decisions. Plus, they like that their old toys will be used by another little boy or girl who might enjoy them even more.
How do you manage kid clutter in your home? How do you teach kids the art of organizing?
Go on over to BlogHer and read Simple Ways to Get Your Kids Organized for even more tips and join the conversation. And be sure to enter the Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes for a chance to win an iPod Touch a $50 iTunes gift certificate to go with it. (Please note – this sweepstakes ends May 16th so enter now!) All you have to do is comment about your favorite example of a Life Well Lived Moment when you were alone.