I recently did a Facebook Live with the talented Amanda DeGrace, mom of three, from Little Lotus Yoga.
Little Lotus Yoga specializes in bringing yoga to all ages and stages of life: from pre-conception (Fertility Yoga), conception (Prenatal), through infancy (Mom & Baby, Parent & Tot, Preschooler), childhood (School Age, Family), and all the way up to adulthood.
We discussed family life, organization tips, and the value of experiences over material items. Parent's shared how overwhelmed they are by the clutter and how they feel lost on where to begin with clearing the clutter and managing this with kids - I decided to include common concerns parent's posed and my simple solutions that you can implement in your daily lives!
Does your child constantly bring toys and games all over the house? Does it feel unmanageable?
I'm not judging you - having kids, household responsibilities, career aspirations, while squeezing in time for your own self-care...homes will become messy and that is not abnormal. What isn't right is that you feel stressed and overwhelmed - we don't want that! Let's make the unmanageable become manageable. Don't feel guilty about parting with toys or games - it's only a physical item. It's served it's purpose with your family, and now it's time to move on. Your kids certainly do not need everything. It we keep everything, then it can lose its value or appreciation. Begin by discarding any toys that are missing parts or broken. I also recommend taking the time to clean and disinfect the toys before putting them away while you're sorting.
In terms of toys scattered around the home, I recommend implementing a super simple basket system. Keep a basket or box that is easily accessible to the child, and have them place their toys in the basket immediately after use in that space. Then, have them put the toys back in their proper place after they have finished using them.
Make designated homes for their toys and games. Working with kids and often cleaning and tidying up with them I witnessed their enthusiasm to help me tidy up. I made an effort to make the experience positive and the structure and team-work proved to be effective. Include images of the category of toys or games onto the bin or basket and place at the appropriate height of the child so that they can access for playing and tidying up.
According to KidSpot, routines are beneficial to toddlers development:
Make organizing fun! Provide positive reinforcements when your kids put away their toys or make the effort to fold their clothing with you.
When kids witness you (their favorite person!!) take pride in the shared space will be infectious and encouraging for them to participate. Like children learning to read or learning about personal hygiene - we can also model basic organizing habits. It is a life skill that we all benefit from and the earlier they learn, the easier it will be to maintain as they become young adults!
If you're at the point where you feel like you can't deal with the clutter - consider hiring a professional organizer. Many organizers, like myself, will help you organize any of the physical and digital spaces in your life — a closet, a kitchen or the aforementioned home office.
Kelsey Marion is a Professional Organizing expert in the Toronto area. She has a bachelor's degree in Social Work and 10 years of experience working with children and youth. You can follow along her business Get Sorted on her social media!