Decluttering with kids

Is it possible to declutter with kids?

Absolutely!

When you’re decluttering with kids the same principles apply but it is important to tackle your own categories before you take on your family member’s. Confront your own stuff first!

The following are some tips that might help you to work together with your child to declutter;

  1. Commit yourself and your child by scheduling specific tidying times for when you anticipate limited distractions. Discuss with them that it’s starting to feel like they have too much clothing or perhaps too many toys. Based on your child’s age and their attention span, pick a length of time that you think might work for them. We recommend starting out with 15 minutes to see how your child responds.

  2. Help your child to imagine their ideal bedroom. Some engaging questions to ask might include: what does that look like for them? What would they like to be able to do in their room? Would they like to have friends over? Would they like to have a lego or craft table? And Would they like to display their stuffed animals? This step will be a motivator for your child as they imagine their ideal spaces while tidying.

  3. Practice the spark joy feeling with your child. For example, in the toy category, have your child gather all of their toys together. After looking at the mountain of them, have them choose their two favourite and encourage them to talk about why they picked them. Marie Kondo believes that children as young as three can understand the spark joy feeling. Talking to your child about the things that they are choosing to keep will help them feel involved in the process.

  4. Similarly to tidying your own things, you should tackle your child’s items by category and in the recommended order rather than by location. Start with your child’s clothes, then their books, papers, and komono. The komono category for children might include their toys, puzzles, crafts or sporting equipment. Within a category you may even choose to narrow it down to sub-categories. Breaking down these categories to subcategories may help the process feel less overwhelming for both you and your child. For example, in the clothing category you may choose to only tackle tops during one tidying session.

  5. After each category you will need to find a home for each item. Like items should be stored together eg. T-shirts with t-shirts, lego with lego. By clearly designating a space for each item and category, you are helping them to set parameters for how much they stuff they accumulate.

( How To Fold Children’s Clothes, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo , Netflix, YouTube Jan 20, 2019.)

Finally… remember to keep it fun and not to worry about achieving perfection! After this process you’ll have the language to continue to work on the method. The following are some ways that this language can help you communicate with your child and keep your house clutter-free.

  • When you’re out shopping, ask your child if they have space in their room for the items that they pick out.
  • When doing daily clean ups ask your child to put items back in the home that they chose for them.
  • When your child repetitively wears clothing items, ask them how it makes them feel to wear it and use the item as a reference point for future purchases.

We’re all looking forward to Marie Kondo’s new book for children coming out soon : Kiki and Jax: The Life Changing Magic of Friendship:

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