Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life Well Lived Question of the Week: Kids & Clutter

This week, BlogHer's Life Well Lived program is tackling two questions. The topics are near and dear to my heart. They are things I deal with every day. If you've got kids, you probably do, too.

What are your best tips for keeping the clutter at bay with kids in the house?

We all know that kids in the house means clutter in the form of toys, craft supplies, school papers, sports equipment, clothes and many other odds and ends that seem to appear out of nowhere. These things can take over your life if you aren't proactive about keeping them in some kind of order.

My best tips for keeping all the kid-related clutter at bay is to sort through everything on a regular basis. About twice a year, I go through all the boys' clothing and sort out what's been outgrown. Clothes I'm saving for my little guy get put away in his closet. Clothes he's outgrown get donated or sold in a consignment sale. Toys and sports equipment get sorted a month or two before the holidays with the same method. I clean out our craft cupboard about once a year to get rid of the all the dried up markers, broken crayons and used up coloring books.

Keeping the amount of clutter a kid has in his room under control goes along way toward whether or not he can keep that room tidy. Too much stuff and he'll be overwhelmed.

How do you help your kids develop good organizing skills?

Teaching kids to develop good organizing skills is a bit more challenging. I tend to believe we're either born with a desire to be organized or not. My kids were not. Despite this, I think organization can be taught and I'm working on this with my oldest. By middle school age, kids really need a basic set of organizational skills. Things get really confusing and hard to manage if they don't.

Helping your child create a system he can manage with his school work and schedule is important. Remember, it's got to be something he can maintain, not you, so his input should hold more weight than yours.

An all-inclusive binder with a folder for each class seems to be my son's preferred method. Every week, we go through things together to remind him that he needs to periodically sort and organize to stay on top of due dates for assignments. I'm hoping the routine will eventually turn into a habit for him.

How do you teach kids to organize? Please join in the discussion on the main BlogHer Life Well Lived page.

Don't forget to enter the current Life Well Lived sweepstakes! Please note the sweepstakes ends tomorrow, May 16th, 2012, so you won't want to procrastinate!


  1. Think you make a good point here when you mention how developing cleaning/clutter removal as a habit helps children. Anything done in a repetitive manner will become "second nature".

  2. Kids are messy. My wife and I left the kids messy toy room for a few days thinking it couldn't get worse then it already was. We were wrong. We joked that we should use a commercial cleaning service to clean up their mess, but instead we had our kids clean up their own mess!