Don't want to wait until its to late...
Did your Kid receive a good amount of new toys and cloths for Christmas? This is a time where children rooms easily turn into very cluttered spaces.
One morning my son asked me, if he could play with his new toys. I asked if I could help him first, to find a home for all his new things. Looking around his room, he quickly realized this would not be easy. There wasn't much free space for his new toys or clothes to have a home.
We talked about the possibilities, what we could do about it. My daughter which is three suggested to buy a bigger home with bigger rooms. If nothing else works, that might always be an option right? Just kidding! My son who just turned eight, said he wants to give the toys he doesn't play with anymore, to his sister. How sweet of him. She got very excited about that Idea. Me, not so much! We will see about that.
We decided to start with his clothes. I grabbed the first new shirt. and asked him to find one shirt in his closet, that he would be willing to trade in for the new one. He quickly found one. He had five new shirts, it wasn't too hard for him to let one go for each new one. I then asked him to count all the shirts he owned. He owned twenty one shirts. "Wow!!! that's a lot" he admitted. He is a cub scout and for almost every big event, there is a new shirt you can get. He does other sports like jujitsu and baseball, if you add Christmas, birthday and all the compulsive purchases during the year. Then 21 seems rather a small number.
We checked all the sizes and found some that where to small, we checked for tears and spills too. He was willing to let go of most of these shirts. I let him keep his batman shirt even though it has seen better days.
Keep it fun, to get the result you want. For some children with short attention span, break it up in shorter sessions.
If organizing a dids room with kids it is important to keep this process fun to get to the result you want. I like to include my son in the process of de cluttering. He cares very much about his belongings. I don't want to go behind his back and then later deal with the frustration, if he finds out I purged one of his favorite shirts. Been there done that! Depend on the kid, they wont forget and keep reminding you of the "horrible" thing you did. Little tyrants they!!
Kids can learn the process of keeping an organized life in early age, which will be helpful for them in the future. I don't say it's easy. Because it's not. But it is our responsibility as parents to teach them.
Next I asked him to make three piles out of his shirts “I love it so much”, “I like it” and “I don't like it very much”. He decided then that the “I don't like it very much” he could donate. I agreed that his little sister could have two of them. Even though the shirts are still way to big for her. But she adores her brother so much, how could I say no.
We reduced his shirts to a number of thirteen. This are plenty of shirts, I do laundry two times a week and even if I don't. He wont run out of clean shirts to fast. When I discovered Marie Kondo two years ago, I started folding clothes again. Marie Kondo has a unique way, to make folding a pleasant experience. She makes every closet look neat and tidy. I call it meditation in motion. Who doesn't need a little of that? No judgment if you prefer to just hang it, everyone should do what works best for them. The downside on having kids clothes folded, is that it is harder for them to put it back on their own, unless you teach them how to fold it. Which a lot of children enjoy to learn.
We did the same process with all his clothes pants, sweaters, hoodies, pj's, underwear and socks. Socks wear the easiest to part with. "They don't even have fun pictures on them and they have wholes" he said.
Then we started with the toys. Take all the toys out and put them on the floor. This might be more challenging with little kids, as they get excited and want to play with all of them right then. Still worth to teach them to sort their toys. Sort them in categories, put sets together, find the missing parts and complete toys. Create a broken pile.
We then added all the new toys and games he received for Christmas, some still in the original box. He first picked his favorite toys and found a home for them. That was easy and done quickly. He enjoyed to help with the decision making, to where toys should go. It empowers him to think for himself and realize that he is in control of where his things go.
Kids enjoy making decisions on where their things should go.
We then focused on all the toys, he thinks he has grown out and doesn't want to play with anymore. He decided he wanted to donate it to With Love Oregon we put them in a donation box and put the box in the back of my car.
Next we looked for all the broken toys and games with missing pieces. If your kid can’t let go of a broken toy. I suggest that you keep it in a "Deal with it later Box". He agreed to do that and we moved on, we will get back to that box in a few weeks. This box gets a home somewhere not very visual in his room. Out of sight out of mind. But it is still hear, for him to play with if he really would want to.
Now it was time to find a new home for each toy left on the floor. Of course I had to give him my professional Organizer advice, but I encouraged him to make the decisions on his own.
There were still some Toys left which he couldn't find a home. There wasn't really any storage space left. He agreed to put those toys also into a "Deal with it later Box". He always has the permission to take a toy out there to play with. But like I said it's out of sight out of mind.
One way to motivate your kid to let go of toys is to encourage them to sell it. Even if that means they just sell it to you.
In the process we found, that he got two new remote control cars. He now owned three cars total. He was very excited to have three and I wasn't going to tell him, he should not keep them all. But when we sorted his books he said "I wish I had more Mine Craft comics to read. Hmm?! Maybe he could sell something he owns and buy one or two new comic books instead. We looked around and discussed about the values of certain toys he owns and if it would be worth selling. I explained that the unused new toys are easier to sell and he could get more money out of it. I might have helped him a little to come to the conclusion. But he soon decided he wanted to sell one of his remote control cars and get the books instead. He was lucky as his grandparents got him the truck and they were able to exchange it.
If that, would not have been the case. I would have bought the toy from him and sell or donate it. Or often I would just store it in my re gift pile. There are a lot of kids birthdays coming up during the year. One less thing I have to go out for and buy.
Now we get to my little girl. Her age and her character make this become a whole different ball game. While still keeping the same process in mind I have to be more flexible with her. She is very specific in what clothes she likes and easily gets rid of everything else. She could live on one pair of shorts, and a couple of shirts. Most of her other clothes are pure torture for her, if I make her wear it. In fact, if there is a piece she really likes I try to get at least one or two more of it. Part of me appreciates her minimalism. But it can turn into challenging mornings, if her favorite shirt is in the laundry. Is your kid like that? What do you do to overcome that struggle? Please leave you suggestion in the comments.
As for her toys, she doesn't want to let go of anything, she is very attached to all of them. While we put all her toys on the floor and put it in categories and in broken toys. She starts playing right away. If I ask her what her favorite toys are she'll say all of them. So I try a different approach. We do it backwards, I ask if there is a toy which she thinks is for little kids and if she thinks she might be to old for it. She finds a few toys not to many but better than nothing. I tell her that she is a good kid, that she gives it to an other little kid. She immediately appreciate my compliment and finds a few more toys. We take the toys out of her room right away out of her sight.
Now we find a home for all the toys which are left. Keep in mind that it has to be easy to take out and put away for her. I encourage her to put the toys she likes the best away first. All what's left goes in one bin with a lid in her closet. Again, in her mind it is still hers but it's out of sight and out of mind.
All toys are put in a place easy to grab and easy to put away. I find shelf's and bins with no lid work best for kids.
Putting a picture of the toy outside of the bin also helps the kid to remember where the toys go. For my daughter we have a Lego, kitchen toys, cars, barbie, doll and random bin. I love IKEA for toys storage solutions.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this little kids toy organizing session. Let me know in the comment section how you do it with your kids. What are your success stories and what are your challenges? Kids are all so unique and it takes time to figure out what works best for you.