Kids, their Stuff, and How to Handle all of that Clutter

Kids, their Stuff, and How to Handle all of that Clutter

One of the most frequent questions we get at Clutter Free Academy is “What about my kids’ clutter?”

Conflict over clutter can damage any relationship over time, but it’s especially crucial to navigate this issue carefully with your kids, because what you teach them right now will impact their lifestyles as adults.

As parents, we want to empower our children to have the life skills they need to succeed. Here are four ways we can help our children learn how to live a clutter-free life.

Schedule short decluttering times.

Time-boxing makes decluttering bearable for anyone, young or old. As adults, we’re more likely to focus better if we only have to do it for 15 minutes. Depending on your kids’ age, set a timer and make a game of it. For example, challenge your 5-year-old to clean out one drawer in 5 minutes.

Here at Clutter Free Academy, we don’t expect anyone to spend hours at a time decluttering, much less a child. Decluttering works best in small, manageable sessions.

By the way, we need to differentiate between cleaning and decluttering. Cleaning means putting things away, mopping, vacuuming, and dusting. Decluttering means getting rid of stuff you don’t use, love, or would buy again. Both are important, but in this post, we’re focusing on decluttering.

Teach by example.

It’s been said that in raising kids, more is caught than taught. They tend to learn more from what we do than what we say.

They aren’t born knowing how to declutter. The best way to teach them is to work side-by-side with them to show them the same decluttering systems we’ve learned as adults. Make sure they have the tools they need—3 boxes, 2 bags—so that they have a system in place to declutter. Go through the steps one by one: what to give away, what to throw away, and what to put away. Any trash or recycle goes into the bags.

Have a fun celebration when you empty the contents of the boxes and bags into their rightful places. (It doesn’t have to be a big deal—a sticker, a high five, or a “Yay! You did it!” works great.

Focus on one tiny space at a time.

Trying to declutter a large space is even more overwhelming for kids than it is for adults. Choose the smallest area possible and set the timer. Even better, let them choose which area is the most problematic for them. If they already see the value of decluttering, then you’ve won half the battle.

Divide up the closet into small sections, sort one drawer at a time, go through one toy box at a time. Decluttering is a gradual process. Their space didn’t get cluttery in a day, but a consistent habit of setting a timer to declutter a small space will result in big changes.

Help them maintain their space.

To help keep things organized and tidy, teach your child routines; set times during the day when they put away toys, backpacks, clothes, and anything else out of place. Even five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening will work wonders.

To help with motivation, make a timed game out of it, for fun. They’ll be motivated even more by getting consistent rewards each week for working through their routines. Before they know it, picking up their things becomes a habit.

Lifelong Connections

When it comes to clutter, our relationship with our kids is so important. When we come alongside them and give them the tools and skills they need to create a clutter-free home, we free them up to be who God made them to be.

Parent-child dynamics are already challenging enough, especially between mothers and daughters. Reducing clutter conflict can go a long way to improve the relationship.

In their book, Mended, Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh talk about how to rebuild, restore, and reconcile the connections between mothers and daughters. One of their chapters deals with generational patterns and how hard they are to break. It takes intentionality and determination to change long-term habits and break learned clutter cycles.



The generous people over at Harvest House want to give some of our readers Daniel’s and McIntosh’s Mended. 5 people will win a copy and 1 grand prize winner will receive:

-1 Copy of Mended

-Assorted Note Cards

-Distressed Wood Frame

-Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Enter to win by commenting below. What sorts of rewards motivate your kids the most? Which of these tips do you plan on implementing first?

Tips to make sure the kids get out of the door too!

Tips to make sure the kids get out of the door too!

You have breakfast, lunch, you are dressed and ready to walk out of the door but what about the children? Are they ready? Are they even awake yet?

I have heard funny stories so many times about a mom dropping their child off at school only to realize they are still in their pajama’s, or the child does not have their backpack, lunch or homework. Or the kids are in order but mom is wearing slippers with her business suit.

A goal for many wives and moms is to make mornings smooth and get everyone where they need to be on time…even dad! How does that get accomplished? Many of the tips that I have shared all week can be used on the kids as well. For those whose children are out of the toddler stage in elementary school, you can begin to incorporate them into the nightly preparation times and teach them how to get their things ready.

  1. Get yourself ready first. This way you can focus on the children!
  2. Pack back packs before bed: Do they have their homework, library book, show and tell item; all papers are signed and checked?
  3. Fill their water bottles and pack lunch items before bed as well.
  4. Have the children set out their clothes and shoes the night before on their dresser. This will lessen morning temper tantrums and in decisions.
  5. Do all baths and showers the night before.
  6. Make sure they have decided what they want for breakfast.
  7. Tuck the children in bed at a decent hour. Children usually need 10-12 hours of sleep so plan accordingly. This will help ensure they get up easily too.
  8. If you have several children or several family members but 1 bathroom delegate bathroom time. If more than ones are brushing their teeth at the same time it will more likely turn into play and a mess.

Here are some other thoughts on getting kids ready on the morning.

Top 10 Morning Madness Tips for Getting Kids up and Ready

What have I missed? My kids are older now and can take care of getting out the door on their own. As the saying goes it takes a village, so tell me what works in your house for making sure the family is up and ready to go on time. I am sure all my readers can benefit from all of the great input.

Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a $25 Starbucks gift card.

One winner will be chosen from all comments posted for the entire week.

Please, be sure to link to your blog or provide an email address so we can get in touch with you!