Are you enthralled with Marie Kondo‘s seemingly effortless and joyful take on tidying? I love watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” because it reminds me of how great it feels to declutter and provides organization inspiration. I am one of those people who loves to organize but can also be very messy. Our house is a combo of organization and disorganization depending on the day and how busy we are.
My kids are polar opposites on the neatness spectrum and reflect both sides of me. My older daughter is energetic and creative. Her idea of fun is making up elaborate play scenarios or interesting art projects that always involve many random items. She starts projects and leaves them sprawled across the dining room table. She has many collections of random odds and ends in boxes and bins around her room. I love all of this about her! But when it’s time to clean up, she isn’t always a super happy camper.
My younger daughter was born with the neatness gene. When she was 18 months, she loved her mini cleaning set, and wiping down her table with a cloth was one of her favorite activities. She’s the only person in the house who makes her bed every day. The other day I said to myself out loud, “the pantry is a disaster, I guess I’ll organize it later.” I didn’t think anyone was listening. I started doing the dishes and when I turned around, she had everything out of the pantry and was sorting things by category and putting them back in neatly lined up rows – it was very cute!
In an effort to corral The Entirely Too Much Stuff monster, we’ve always done regular decluttering. I learned these skills from my mom, who is an amazing organizer. Including the kids in organizing their stuff has been an awesome teaching experience (since it was a learned skill for me) and has helped to actually get it done. It would be awesome to give your house the full-on KonMari treatment, but if you’re like me and can’t commit to the whole process, here are some ideas for organizing with your kids:
Choose an area to organize (playroom, one shelf, a closet, etc.). Dump everything out on the floor in a huge pile. This part is scary but also gives you and your kiddos perspective on how much stuff they actually have.
Let the sorting begin. We place items in five piles/bags:
- Re-purpose (things that could be used for art projects)
- Garbage (items that aren’t salvageable or recyclable)
Talk to your kids about how it’s okay to let things go that they no longer play with. This is a great place to add in the concept of does this “spark joy” for you? With kids, many things may spark joy, so I ask them if they can let go of things that they haven’t used in months and can’t imagine using again. You’d be surprised at how many things they are okay with donating. The more we go through this process, the more they start to do this on their own naturally. We also talk about how amazing it is to donate toys that are gently used and that can bring another child joy. They love imagining this! You might also talk about the recycling process and how cool it is that things can be turned into something new again for someone else.
When everything is sorted and garbage, donation and recycling are moved, start sorting the “keep” pile in a way that makes sense. Use bins, boxes and shelves that you already have to place items in. Let your kids help in the process of reorganizing.
Store items by frequency of use. Items that are not currently being used (old clothing, art projects from years past, sentimental items, etc.) can be stored in the garage, shed or higher in the closet, so they don’t take up valuable, easily accessible storage space. Cycling toys in and out of storage is a great way to keep your kids interested in the toys they already have which may even help you save some money and most definitely some space!
Enjoy your newly organized house (or area of the house) for two minutes before it gets crazy again!