I'm not going to lie, this is the bane of my existence. It's my never-ending battle. The thorn in my side... keeping the kids stuff at a manageable level of tidy.
I see pictures on the internet like this one by Paulina Acklin...
which, is, just.... beautiful... but I get all agitated about the state of my own house. I don't know if it's because I AM a stylist, and I feel bad that my house is messy a lot of the time, or it's just that I forget that these images are constructed, and I should know that better than most. No one is immune to the lure of a magazine-style home image, not even the stylist. So back to reality, because reality doesn't usually look like the above... what ARE my strategies for dealing with kids stuff? I have 3 major ones to share with you that help my sanity, bring order to the madness, and move us towards a more fulfilled home life.
This helps immensely with the tidy up process. If you have a special place for everything, the kids can be more proactive in picking up after themselves, because each item has a home. To give you an idea, I have two girls aged 4 and 6. I have some tubs, shelves or a space in the cupboard for the following:
- Little People + figurines
- games + puzzles
- drawing books
- pens/pencils etc
- dolls/doll clothes
- kitchen play
- dress ups
- only 1 miscellaneous box
I also try to keep all our swimming and beach stuff together in one bag, so it's easy to find. And look, you just need to sit down, examine whats there, really think about what the kids use! Come up with some groupings, and make them a home. DON'T have loads of random boxes where anything and everything gets thrown in. Just one of these is my recommendations.
2. REGULAR CULLING
There really is a lot of stuff at your house that is unnecessary. Mine too! Decluttering is major in the management of kids stuff.
I can only handle the million pieces of floating paper and pencils all over the floor for so long. I tend to spazz out and go on a cleaning frenzy, about every month. (So maybe it coincides with a particular mood) I have a pretty good idea of what is really important, like special awards from school, or works in progress, but I'm pretty ruthless. You will often hear me say "If you don't clean this up, I will put it in the bin, or give it to someone who does want it." And consequently, we have reduced our kid's belongings drastically.
The other day, I tried an experiment. I went into their drawers, took the bottom half out of the layer of clothing in the drawer, and put it in the op shop bag. This made space, and there has not been anyone searching for missing items. We don't even know what they were!
It's the 80/20 rule. You know.. we all just wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. So that means there's a large portion of clothing in cupboards that the kids just don't wear.
The declutter thing isn't just a task, it's really a mindset and change of lifestyle, which I've written a bit more about here, in a little ebook you can get for FREE!
This is HARD. Especially when they're young like mine are right now, but I have a few underlying values that I try to communicate and teach them.
If you make a mess, you clean it up.
If you are bored, then you might not be appreciating your belongings, and maybe we should give some away.
We don't need to own everything we like.
I believe that kids really do love to be in charge of something. So making them feel like they are in charge of their own stuff puts the onus back on them to keep things looked after. So if things get left lying around and not looked after, then they get gone. (See, ruthless.)
Also, figure out your own stance on belongings, consumerism, and the purchases you make, and stand on that. You might need to request specific gifts from friends and family so they don't get as much. We decided that we'd rather buy a more expensive thing, and get everyone to pitch in for it. Like a scooter, or bike, or an experience. We realised over time that the kids really don't need so much, and they mostly enjoy spending time with us, so things that we've kept are things we can do together like read or play games and do puzzles. Plus movies. Because we all need fun movies.
Those are my main strategies for dealing with the stuff at our house that is kid related. It's not perfectly under control at my place, but we are more on our way to having a deliberate and stylish space, WITH the kids!
We would love to hear from you, do you have any great tips about dealing with kids stuff? Please share below. xx Jade