Kids and Clutter – Does their stuff feel like another member of your family?

Do you ever feel like your kids stuff is taking over your house? Whether your children are living with you now, or have moved on, their belongings have a way of growing exponentially and taking over households, no matter how hard you try to manage it.

Below are 6 tips to help manage your kid’s stuff:

If your kids are living with you now and their stuff feels like another child:

  1. Create systems and routines and that work for you and your kid/s! Define certain space for their activities and place storage options in that space. Do your kids like making crafts in the kitchen while you prep meals? Designate table space (or an actual table) for this and have enough bins (clear bins are your best bet for everything!) very close by to store all necessary items. Colour-coding works great – orange bin for colouring items, yellow for paper, blue for glue and tape, etc. Is your kid’s school stuff all over the place? Create a “school area” with a hook for their backpack, tray or folder for papers, bin for items to return” and a school checklist. Clothes all over the floor in your kid’s rom? Try hooks instead of hangers, shelves instead of drawers – make it easy for them to succeed!
  2. Make good choices about storage containers. As mentioned, clear bins are best – easy to open, close and see into! Resist the urge to fill them so kids can easily sort through them, and let them make fun labels for each. There are so many options to store kids belongings – pick what you, and your child, will respond to best! Use what you already have as well – baskets, boxes, and bins likely exist in your house already.
  3. Make organizing a game, a challenge, and an adventure you and your kids can “conquer” together. If your kids are anything like my son, they love a good challenge. “I bet you can’t put all those cars in that bin AND close the lid – no way. Really?” Or, “All that LEGO will fit in the blue LEGO drawer? No way, show me!” Endless possibilities to make it a game – use your creativity to make organizing fun!

If your kids have moved away but their stuff hasn’t!

  1. Before they leave home, go through your kid’s belongings together and discuss what it means to live more simply and with less stuff. Ultimately, you may be the one to pack and store SOME items, but they should to be part of the decision-making process. Organizing and living more simply are life skills we ought to teach our children, and their migration away from the family home is an amazing opportunity to do just that.
  2. Decide how much you are willing to store and make that clear to your children. “I am willing to store 4 bins of your belongings (have the bins with lids and labels ready to go!) in the basement until we move. When we move, I will ask you to take them so please decide and pack away these 4 bins by xxx.” A bit of tough love in this area means fewer stresses down the road. This is about you setting limits so you can live more simply, with less stress.
  3. If you are keeping many items from their baby/child-hood, choose what is most meaningful and fill ONE clear bin with their memorabilia (ask your kids to do the same). Although everything seems precious, choose only the things that bring back fond memories (and fit into the bin!) and let go of the rest. Chances are your kids won’t want what their baby teeth, first tuft of hair and onesie and someone else can benefit from their LEGO and Pokémon cards.

Kids are amazing. Equally amazing is the amount of stuff they generate! To manage the stress of “too much stuff” while your kids live with you and when they move out, try these tips and see how you can live life more simply!

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