You probably don’t have much time to read this so here are the basics about decluttering and organising kids’ clothes and toys.
- Involve the children from the very beginning.
- Give everything a home.
- Label that home if necessary.
- Reset (aka tidy up) every evening.
Now read on.
Give those piles of clothes a home
Drawers are a good place for clothes. Different ones for tops, bottoms, underwear, socks. You could label the drawers if that helps. Children like sorting so get them involved them.
Folded clothes take up less space. Take two or three deep breaths – not strictly necessary but it focuses your attention. Shake out each piece and fold it. It doesn’t have to be very very neat.
Outgrown clothes – put them in their new home, whether you’re keeping them for the next child, or passing them on to a friend, or giving them to charity. It’s the same routine. Shake out clean clothes, fold and put them in their new home. It could be:
• A big transparent box in the loft, labelled with something that makes sense to you. Trousers and tops 4-5 yrs. Wet weather + skiing 8-10 yrs. Something like that.
• A black bag for passing on to a friend or charity. Label it! You don’t want it going out with the rubbish.
Talk to your kids from the beginning about passing clothes on to other people. Perhaps clothes are already passed on them. ‘Passing clothes on’ is so much nicer than ‘getting rid of them’! You’ll all have a warm feeling knowing that your clothes are going to a good home and someone else (your cousin, a friend, a child you’ve never met) will enjoy wearing them. And it’s the same with toys.
Categorise and curate toys and books
Broad categories help a lot so you don’t waste time micro-sorting when you’re tidying up. Books, puzzles, building blocks, cuddly toys – that kind of thing.
Get your children (however small) involved in deciding categories that fit in with how they play. They’ll feel a sense of ownership and that will pay off further down the line.
Some kids have so many toys they become overwhelmed. And so does the room or the house. Talk to them about putting some toys away for a while and bringing others out. Rotate them.
Just like clothes, chat about passing outgrown toys on to other children who might like to play with them. Like I said, you all get a warm feeling.
Give toys and books an easy place to call home
Kids get older and their interests change so think about storage that will still work in a few years. And you might like to label where things go.
Bookshelves are brilliant for books (obviously) but are also good for toys, clothes and other things.
Open-topped boxes work well as it’s easy to fling things in when you’re tidying up. They’re not hard to find or you could make your own like this repurposed box below.
Cube storage looks neat.
Wall-hung storage keeps things off the floor.
Dual-purpose furniture, such as beds with drawers, saves space.
Routine is your friend with kids’ clothes and toys
Have a routine where you and your child tidy up regularly at the end of every day. A five minute burst is quite doable for kids and you can get a lot done in that time.
Get a good thing going
A good system will go a long way towards keeping things going through the summer holidays and beyond.
Get a good thing going and you’ll all be singing round the house.