By Jo Carmichael
Everybody’s view and perception of tidiness and organisation is unique. Many people – adults and kids are ‘clutter blind’ – they just don’t ‘see’ the piles of toys, games or clothing strewn around the room as clutter. They just see it as ‘things’.
Many children enjoy collecting things – toy cars, packets of trending toys from the supermarket, or sets of cards. We need to strike a happy balance on where and how much they can keep, fairly neatly, in the family home without encroaching too painfully on other family members’ boundaries.
In this article we are not talking about adults or kids who hoard large amounts of often broken or dirty items inside the home in ways that are not conducive to family living. A psychologist who is skilled in dealing with hoarding and the syndrome is the best person to advise us in this instance. Simply throwing hoarders’ things away can be a backward step.
The following suggestions are to help the ‘clutter blind’
or messier child to be tidier and organised.
DECLUTTER & SORT THEIR CLOTHING
Start in their bedroom by showing them the clothes in their cupboard or on the floor. Check to see if the clothes are the right size and if they suit them. Remove any that they have outgrown or dislike and will not wear. If the outgrown clothes are being kept for a younger sibling or relative, or are special occasion clothes, put them up on a higher shelf. Make the lower shelves in their room or area available for their everyday clothing and attire – the less there, the easier it is for them to be put away, and to find.
Putting their out-of-season clothing up higher can also help them to have a less cluttered environment in the bedroom, which can set them up for a good start to the day.
DECLUTTER & SORT THEIR TOYS & BOOKS
Again, start in the bedroom, then move onto the play areas or living areas of the house. Give this child, and any others, their own shelf or basket in the family areas to keep their toys in.
Remove any items from this ‘clutter blind’ child’s shelf or basket that they no longer like or want.
This should leave them only with things that are special to them. Remind them as they are special, they need to be placed back when not in play. Those are the rules.
Work together: instead of being the ‘enemy’ be the helping hand. Rather than getting frustrated with the ‘clutter blind’, work as a team to help sort through their things together and remind them to put them away. Provide encouragement and reassurance; this will make the decluttering process a positive one not only for now, but into the future as well.
Once you have made progress in one room- the bedroom- help them to organise and make a place for their things in other rooms.
I often find children are happy to let go of things like dressy clothing that is uncomfortable, while as a parent we are wanting to hang onto it: it was an expensive purchase, they’ll need it later in the year etc. If you can’t remove this item, put it up on a higher shelf out of the way. Learn to strike a happy medium.
Delegate areas. Help them to keep their things in one specific area delegated to them. Having a space limitation will not only help them understand what they can and cannot fit, it will also help them from over populating ‘off limit’ areas of the home with their stuff. Having delegated areas will also help them and you feel better by knowing they have an area that’s all for them.
CREATE A BAG DROP
Make an area to keep their bag, be it for preschool or school. This is where they can park their bag, hat, and those essential items which are used when exiting the house. Make it a tub or basket so things are contained, with less likelihood of being lost. If they drop their bag elsewhere remind them to move it back to its parking spot. Make a similar parking spot for your own bag, to lead by example.
Think about it. When decluttering and sorting, if your child is undecided about giving away or keeping an item, give them a ‘think about it’ box. Start with baby steps so you don’t overwhelm them. Place items that they are unsure about into this box, and leave it there for a set time –say 10 days. Put the date on the box:
10 May 2019. Revisit the box on that day for a decision, and if the child is no longer fond of it, it can be moved on. If it’s a sentimental item, it could be kept in a ‘keepsakes’ box, but not on the kitchen bench in the way of everyday living.
Decluttering specialist Jo Carmichael takes your home from messy and cluttered, to organised and stylish, whether you’re selling or staying. Jo is a Professional Organiser, who declutters homes in preparation for sale.
All Sorted Out works with Real Estate Agents and property Stylists to ensure vendors achieve the maximum price for the sale of their property.