Kids mean a lot of clutter! It is one of those facts you have to put up with when you become a parent. Firstly there is all the equipment that you need, never mind the stuff it is handy or just plain fun to have. Then there are the rapidly outgrown clothes and all those toys.
So how can you get your house back and get your kids into the idea of decluttering from a young age? It is much tougher to have to learn as an adult, believe you me.
The first thing to do is to start by setting them a good example. Start by decluttering your own junk; when the kids ask what you are doing focus on the positives. ‘I’m clearing out this cupboard to make space for new things’. For half-hearted declutterers this will also help you focus on the positives too!
Start on the unused baby equipment. If this has been sitting in a loft, garage or basement for any length of time you neither you or the kids will be feeling sentimental about any of it. If it is in good condition advertise it in your local newspaper or classifieds paper. Most let you place your advertisement for free and often it can be done online in only a few minutes. Price it low to sell it quick or even say ‘free to a good home’.
Also consider donating it to your local charity shop or a jumble sale. However if it is in poor condition throw it out – in the bin, at the local tip or if necessary hire a skip!
If you have a lot to declutter you could also take it to a Car Boot Sale or have your own Yard Sale. Remember if you live in a quiet street you have to advertise a Yard Sale really well for it to be successful.
Baby Clothes tend to get us mums a bit more sentimental! If you catch yourself saying ‘but he looked so sweet in that…’ remember that it doesn’t fit any more and you probably have a photo of your baby looking sweet in it. Save one or two really sentimental items and bundle up the rest. If you have children you always know someone who is expecting, maybe a mum in your child’s class at school. Otherwise charity shops can always sell baby clothes. However if they are very badly worn or stained from weaning, gather all your courage and put them in the bin. Hard, but it isn’t fair to make the people in the charity shop do it.
You will now have much more space, and hopefully a much tidier house.
In Decluttering the Kids – 2.Kids Toys and Games of this article we tackle the problem of the kids toys and games, how to persuade them to part with their outgrown toys and games, and a few strategies that can help.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.