Reader’s Digest tips to tame kids’ clutter

Reader’s Digest is a fun periodical. Recently, I was happy to come across this article as I was checking out their site. The “6 Ways to Tame Kids’ Clutter” isn’t groundbreaking content, much of it is common sense, but it is still helpful advice. I’ve always found reading common sense solutions in writing makes them click.

6 Comments for “Reader’s Digest tips to tame kids’ clutter”

  1. posted by One Bag Nation on

    A basket in every room makes sense. As much as we want to limit where our kids play, they always seem to move around the house with their things, don’t they?

    Regularly sorting through toys and books for things that are broken, or no longer age-appropriate is a good way to keep overflow at bay. I use a Transition Box to hold things until I’m sure my daughter hasn’t missed them – it’s a lifesaver!

  2. posted by Anne on

    Something we just stumbled upon and it WORKED!!
    We just moved across the country, so everything was in boxes for each room.
    My kids..boys 11 and 9 and twin girls 8 wanted to unpack.
    What we did is gave them the parameters..
    for example;
    Girls had one small dresser, a large shelving unit and a small unit. We hung 2- 3 hook thingees(lack of better word). They had to put things in their place. We gave them another box for what didn’t fit, or they no longer felt was important to keep.
    Sadly we moved a very large and full box of “stuff” to get rid of, but happily the girls who are not the neatest put their stuff away where they felt was good places for them, and it has been almost 3 months and a friendly reminder to put things in place works. Their rooms are staying clean…and they put their things away USUALLY! :)
    They initiated where the stuff should go, and it worked for them versus mom making it a show place and then growling when it didn’t go back.
    I was impressed with their strategies and placements, and told them so. The compliments were accepted with great squealing and glee!
    The boys did the same, but they are both neat freaks, (and don’t squeal with glee) so didn’t want to use them as examples…cause they can make me feel guilty for leaving my stuff in wrong place…lol

  3. posted by Mary on

    A strategy I learned from teaching Montessori at home many years ago is to put the containers holding toys that contain many pieces (Lego, Lincoln Logs, etc.) on shelf and roll up a small area rug underneath. Teach your kids how to dump all the pieces on the small rug and to keep them there as they play. I explain this rule keeps them from losing some of the pieces but the real benefit is that cleanup is so much faster.

  4. posted by Sandy on

    As a completely separate strategy — a friend of mine’s kids’ school has “Consignment Day” every quarter. Kids get to bring in stuff to sell. Then anything that does NOT sell is given away to a local charity that the kids have learned about (and the “adult” from that charity comes and thanks them, etc. etc.) My friend has particularly learned from this when things she has purchased and they really haven’t used are in the “pile” to go to Consignment Day — the “deal” she has with her kids (one lower grammar school, one upper) is that she won’t question what is going, but they can’t regret it, either.

    They learn how to “price things to sell” (again, she’s seen stuff she purchased for $$ and the kids are ecstatic to get like a buck for it — yowzah), they learn about a charity, and they get to use the money for whatever they want. Sometimes, this winds up with “swaps” and the like — but again, that’s fine as well.

    I love this idea. It’s definitely de-cluttered her kids’ rooms, because they get either $, or a “gratitude” benefit, for being rid of it.

  5. posted by bms2000 on

    I already do a lot of the things that this article mentions, but one thing I did do is buy plastic bins with snap lids that the kids generally *can’t* open without assistance. The reason is that when they ask me to open, say, the lincoln log bin, I will refuse to do so until they pick up the tinkertoys. This prevents the wholesale dumping of 20 different building toys into one unmanageable mess.

    I also have rules for different ‘zones’. Toys in common ‘show’ areas – living room, dining room, kitchen, upstairs hallway must be removed before bedtime every night, no exceptions. Each child has his own desk in our home office. This must be cleared every couple of days. Their bedroom/playroom must be cleared once a week minimum, and the doors must always be closeable. Mom and Dad’s room is off limits to toys. The basement is available for long term messy projects (like a paper mache’ volcano, say) but even those have life spans after which Mom will toss them if they don’t have a home. This system allows them to have extended creative play going on (so when they build their block city they can play with it a couple of days), but keeps the bulk of the house uncluttered.

  6. posted by lionel on

    @Anne:
    I love your comment. It’s nice to know that parenting today still involves neatness. Or maybe I should stop watching Super Nanny.

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