In the last post about clutter we talked about how to take small steps each day to get rid of clutter in the house. Children’s rooms however can be a completely different story.
Try throwing away anything that a child has stored in their room and you could find yourself in a world of pain. Children make emotional attachments to their belongings that might seem strange to us. A child can collect a rock from a beach on the family holiday and it becomes their most treasured possession. When we as parents look at it, all we see is an ugly old rock but our children see things differently. It is not the rock in itself that is important to the child, it will be the reminder for them of the experience they had. It doesn’t matter if the rock is ugly or pretty, it is the memory they attach to it that is important. It can therefore be very difficult to get rid of the things that we see as junk and clutter from our children’s rooms.
There are however a couple of ways to manage at least some of the things cluttering up our children’s bedrooms.
Step 1) Always involve the child in the decluttering. It can be very distressing for a child to come home from school to find their most treasured possessions have been thrown away.
Step 2) Create a one in, one out rule. This works particularly well for birthday and Christmas gifts. As children grow they naturally grow out of the toys they previously played with. Apart from a couple of sentimental items, others can be discarded as they grow too old for them. If the disposal of these things is timed with the acquisition of new toys, the letting go can be a lot easier. Make it a rule that before a new toy can make it into the bedroom, an old toy must go into the charity bin.
Step 3) As much as possible, make cleaning up a game. We can all learn a lesson here from Mary Poppins. Obviously we don’t have any magic to help us but if we try to make necessary chores as fun as possible for our children, it can be so much easier to get the job done.
Step 4). Keep a permanent record of your children’s art projects by taking a photograph of them and keeping an album of their creations. That amazing but enormous cotton ball Santa can now go in the bin.
Step 5) Use 3 boxes this time when you tackle the room.
Step 6) Remember that tackling something in a short energetic burst (15 minutes) will often achieve more than a long tiring clean.