I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our almost two year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! Her birthday is coming up soon, so I know that will bring even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.
1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. Right now she is too young to understand, so I just pick something for her. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go. As she gets older I plan to let her do the picking.
2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys.
3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with.
4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room, or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.
5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!
QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?