They say nothing is certain in this life but death and taxes. As the mother of three boys, Id like to add clutter to that list. Defeating this pest, Ive learned, is never really done. Controlling clutter is an ongoing process, and children need to help because the home belongs to the whole family. Even the smallest child can begin to learn to pick up his or her own toys and put them away.
Any of the following suggestions will help you initiate a clutter-control mindset in your kids and make home a better place to be for everyone.
- When your children get a new game or toy, help them decide where to store it. Involving them in such decisions also helps remind them to put it away when theyre not using it.
- Limit the number of toys that can be out at one time.
- Designate toy pickup and put-away times.
- Put a laundry basket in each childs closet.
- Buy assorted sizes of clear plastic boxes for kids to categorize and store their belongings and use rolling plastic containers to store toys under the bed or in a closet.
- Mount hooks at child level, so they can hang hats, jackets, pajamas, etc.
- Use self-sealing plastic bags to store marbles, action figures, small video game cartridges, doll clothes, and much more.
- Avoid toy boxes and trunks. Small items sift to the bottom, and you have to empty the whole box or trunk to find them.
- Tape pictures on a preschoolers dresser drawers of whatever is in itunderwear, shorts, socks, jeans, and shirtsso your child wont have to go through drawers, throwing clothes on the floor, in search of something to wear.
- Designate one place in your house where your child can keep a creative (and oftentimes messy) project going.
- Keep a clean, plastic dustpan handy to scoop up multipiece toys.
- Specify where in the house its okay to eat.
- Keep an attractive basket with a lid to hold a few favorite toys in the family room area.
- Create an after-school unloading routine. Designate where coats, mittens, hats, and backpacks should be put.
- Encourage children to get rid of toys they have outgrown or no longer want. Let your kids go with you to take them to a mission or shelter so they can see how their contributions help other people.