Home Forums Welcome Hello! Uncluttering your kids

This topic contains 76 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of lottielot lottielot 3 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #158779
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Following on from lazycow’s comment in the ATAD thread…OK, let’s share our ideas here :)
    My kids are 5 and 8, and I’m trying very hard to instil good habits into them, and I figure they’re old enough to be doing their bit. My 5 year old did a great job recently when he moved into his own bedroom, I was astonished what he was capable of, and without being asked he filled a box with some old toys he didn’t want and asked me to give them away! However, his room is getting to be rather untidy so I need to go through and sort out his storage with him, it’s mainly arts and crafts stuff which doesn’t have an official home so ends up left lying around. However, of my children he’s probably naturally the least cluttered and most likely to use any systems we set up.
    My 8 year old though… He never puts his books away and leaves them lying round the house (even though I cleared loads of space on the shelves so there’s no excuse to just stick them back in). He never bothers putting his dirty socks in his washing bag, and most clothes lie where they drop, dirty or clean (then even the clean ones end up dirty). He will do stuff if nagged for long enough, or bribed with a DVD or something, but it would be nice if he didn’t have to be nagged! Any ideas? His bedroom is probably the worst room in the house, it drives me crazy that he never does anything except make a mess in there and refuse to clean it up. So we end up with mouldy food, lots of empty water glasses, clothes everywhere, and he just doesn’t notice or care. He does do other chores like empty the dishwasher, I get him to put out the washing or bring it in sometimes, sometimes he’ll complain no end and need constant reminders, sometimes he’ll get on and do it. But his room, he refuses point blank to do anything. My friend and I spent an afternoon cleaning it up, I tidied all the bookshelves (he has a lot of books) and I organised it all for him so he had space to put stuff and was able to put things away and it looked lovely. And now a month later, eurgh! It’s also unfair because it’s a big room, much bigger than his brother’s (who has a lot more toys because he’s younger). I definitely don’t expect perfection, but I need to hoover in there occasionally and right now I can’t get in the door! He’s not massively attached to things, even though like most kids he has far too much stuff. We did discuss redecorating his room a while ago, he spent ages picking out paint colours etc, but I pointed out that I couldn’t paint the walls if the room was in a state, not sure that got through to him. Also, I want it to be his room, and his responsibility, I don’t want to get too involved with it, other than to help when needed. I figure the start of the new school year here is a good opportunity to tackle how we do things as a family and get some good habits started, so any ideas would be welcome!
    On the plus side (not exactly uncluttering, but a timesaver so it unclutters my time and my temper), I worked out a way of helping my ds1 remember which shoe to put on which foot. He has real problems with this, and the number of hours of my life I have spent taking his shoes off and putting them on the right way round is ludicrous. So on the weekend I drew some big toes on each shoe in permanent marker and wrote ‘BIG TOE THIS WAY’! It only works for light coloured shoes so I’m going to try to work out another system for dark shoes, but I was pleased with my ingenuity! The idea came from that Alfie book where he puts his boots on the wrong way and his mum paints L and R on his boots for left and right, but my ds1 has no idea which was is left and right, but he can work out where his big toe is!
    OK, anyone else got any good ideas for uncluttering kids they’d care to share? I need ideas for organising school uniforms and shoes, particularly shoes, they drive me crazy the way they get lost! We have a very small hallway so there is no natural home for shoes by the door. We also seem to have wellies, trainers, school shoes, casual shoes etc, trying to keep them organised is a bit of a nightmare for me, particularly when they get grown out of so quickly. Both boys also need different shoes for PE at school, and then they do sport after school so need trainers for that. They need to be easy to access, easy to find and easy to put back where they belong, all with very limited storage space (like behind a door). Any solutions welcome :)

  • #170682
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    ooh, I just found this:
    http://www.labels4kids.com/product.php/43/2/
    The perfect solution for his school shoes! Mind you, my idea was better because it’s free and it’s funny :)

  • #170684
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Hi lottielot. I’ve just finished reading a fabulous book called “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne (http://www.simplicityparenting.com/). Now, I’ve read all the books on uncluttering, parenting, living a simple life, living a frugal life, etc and thought I knew it all. However, this book gave me some great new ideas on how to approach things with the children. Like your son, my 10 yo daughter has hundreds of books in her room, and always goes to bed with at least 6 or 7 ON her bed (she does read them all at once, apparently). Taking advice from SP, I’ve taken half the books in her room and moved them out of sight so there isn’t so much visual or actual clutter. She’s much happier, and there is room for all her favourite books on her shelves, and has been keeping her room much tidier. It’s spring holidays in a couple of weeks, so I’ll pull out some of the books and rotate them (so far, she hasn’t missed ANY of them). She really doesn’t care about her stuff either, so I’ve been tossing heaps of stuff (nothing important like her stuffed animals) when she’s not home! We use the ‘one thing in, one thing out’ rule too.

    Can’t help with the shoe situation. My son only owns 2 pairs, and they are both sneakers (they don’t have to wear school shoes at his school).

  • #170685
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    thanks for the recommendation lazycow, I just had a look at the Amazon preview and it looks really good, I may clutter the house with another book! I really resonate with his idea of ‘soul fever’, it describes my son’s behaviour to a T these last few weeks. Interestingly, my solution to his behaviour was to ban him from screen time (nintendo and computer mainly but also junk telly) and he responded really well to it. In fact, he hasn’t missed it at all! We have been watching lots of DVDs together though, so maybe I took the right approach. I also chucked lots of his stuff out too and he didn’t notice and won’t care. It makes my dh cross that the kids won’t look after their stuff, but I think it’s mostly that they have so much they don’t treasure what they do have, plus people are forever buying them new stuff, it’s not things they’ve saved up for or look forward to.
    I’m not sure on the books, where do you put those ‘out of sight’ books? Maybe I could put them in boxes under the bed and tell him where they are. He does have a tendency to re-read books a lot anyway, I always joke that he gets good value out of the books I buy him! However, I’m always really pleased to see that he has picked up a new book that I’ve bought him and left on his bookshelf in case he might like it. Also, as a kid I used books to help me understand the world and navigate life’s difficulties, I hope that he can do that too, and sometimes you need just the ‘right’ book for that. Like the other day, he was upset about something and couldn’t sleep, so I prescribed him Pippi Longstocking, worked a treat! You can’t be anxious when you read Pippi Longstocking :) But I’ll think about it…Actually, one reason why his books aren’t that organised is because one bookshelf is actually a wide shelving units with no back and no proper sides, I put the books into boxes to stop them from falling off and to keep them organised. But if I used some of those shallow Ikea boxes maybe I could organise the books into there and put lids on, that way he could find something he wanted but not have that visual clutter you mentioned. Hmmm, I’ll do some measuring and see if it might work.

  • #170688
    Avatar of Jacquie
    Jacquie
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    As far as the plates/glasses problem, instil a ‘no food anywhere except at the table’ rule. Tell him it’s a health and safety issue as you can’t trust him to return the things to the kitchen the very next time he leaves his room. To make it fair, you all need to follow the same rule.

    (But that means you have to keep the table or wherever you decide is the eating site clear. I know our table is one of what fly lady calls ‘hot spots’. I do give is a complete clear every week or ten days, but it’s so easy to put things down on it and there’s only us two supposed adults here.)

    I think at 8 (although it will be a pain for you and will be using valuable study time) you could start using some of the confiscation techniques from the other post. I suggest that you re-tidy his room, which won’t take anywhere near as long as last time, remove a whole load more stuff (see below for what to do with it) and explain the rules to him that you will be going in there regularly (probably daily to start with so you don’t have a backlog to deal with) and *removing* anything he hasn’t put away.

    Now it’s up to you what you do with what you remove <smile> Some you may decide to get rid of, other things (more valuable, more precious to him?) you can just put away out of sight until the message sinks in. Don’t tell him what you have kept and what has gone. He has seen how much change you have made already and will probably assume it has all gone. When he has kept the room tidy for a while you can return things one at a time.

    As far as clothes are concerned, if he has favourite T-shirts or whatever, and leaves them on the floor, you could disappear them for a while after washing, until his wardrobe is looking a bit bare of what he considers OK clothes, (if he complains just “Oh dear, perhaps you left it on the floor”) and occasionally replace one or two and deny all knowledge of it – “Well I never, they must have been there all the time”. Obviously school clothes etc, you will just have to bite the bullet and pick them up, wash them and replace them.

    If he has his door shut while he’s in there, try a sign above the door handle with something like “Are you SURE you want to leave those things on the floor???” that he will see as he leaves. Have more than one sign and change them at intervals so he goes on ‘seeing’ them. And/or try and make a quick tidy up part of his bedtime routine – that would help a lot with the dirty clothes issue.

    If he really hates helping you, you could try explaining that for the time being the only chores you expect him to do (just during the week, perhaps?) will be to help clear the table at the end of snacks and meals and to keep his room tidy. But if he is unable to do that he will have to go back to doing out-of-his-room chores to free you the time to do his room. You will have to work out if the amount of time he saves you helping unwillingly is worth the hassle of having the mess in his room. If you want him to do a few things for you at the weekend, for the time being try to give him those chores you think he tolerates best.

    BUT, what ever rules you make, think them through carefully, explain them to both boys (you will need to apply most of it to both of them for fairness, with only a small concession for age, but #2 son sounds as if he is already most of the way there,) and then do not budge one inch. Just set the rules and if he doesn’t follow them for you, let him find out the consequences.

    It will almost certainly be the quickest thing for you timewise, and the least stressful, if you go in there frequently, and will eventually get the message across to him without you needing to act the heavy parent. If he complains, just shrug and say “You know the system”. No more nagging, certainly no more bribery, let him work out for himself what he himself is making happen when he does or doesn’t do certain things, so although you may still be doing (some of) the tidying he has the responsibility for the results as they affect him.

  • #170698
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Most of the shoes my kids have also have some kind of picture or cartoon on them, and “the picture goes on the outside”. That helps. However, the toe idea is brilliant. If I were doing that, I would just get a silver Sharpie marker for the dark ones. That would show up easily.

    Your 8 year old sounds like ME (only 30 years younger, ha ha). I am messy and always have been. I really don’t think I see the mess as much as other people do. And when I do see it, it’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t care enough to take care of it NOW. Or I care, but cleaning is so overwhelming. Thinking back to when I was a kid, my room was always a disater. Every once in a while I would get it totally cleaned up, but rarely. But it always took forever, so even now, I don’t clean regularly because to me, cleaning = HOURS AND HOURS (or maybe DAYS) of work. So it could be possible that it’s not as much that your son doesn’t care, but that he doesn’t get HOW to clean or what a difference a little bit here and there makes. Honestly, I have that thought process that says, “it will take less effort to pick up all my dirty laundry at once than to put each piece into the laundry hamper one at a time” — and I think that about everything. I also never had enough space for all my stuff (or rather I had too much stuff). And since I’m still messy, I’m not sure what to suggest. Maybe include a 5 minutes tidy every night? Just so he sees what a difference it makes. Or maybe give really specific instructions of what to do – pick up laundry — then books away, etc etc until he learns to break down the cleaning job? You probably already do that. I wish someone had taught me how to clean when I was little. All I had was every once in a while someone would come in my room and tell me how messy it was. I suppose they thought it would be motivating to embarrass me? All it accomplished was that I rarely went to visit my cousins when they invited me for sleepovers because I CONSTANTLY thought, “I have to clean my room”, but since I didn’t know how, it never got cleaned.

  • #170701
    Avatar of emjayjay
    emjayjay
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    What worked for us is to strip the child’s room back to basics. Remove everything but essentials (for us it was bed, dresser, desk, clothes, and about five toys and twenty books).

    Each night before bed, everything was returned to its place: dirty clothes in the hamper, clean clothes folded and away, toys nicely arranged.

    The surplus toys were put in the garage and used like a toy lending library. The five toys could be swapped for others from storage (under supervision).

    It can take weeks for the new, orderly behaviour to become a (good) habit. In our case, our youngest seemed quite relieved to have less stuff to deal with.

    Also, I have to walk the walk and be very orderly myself, keeping specific activities in their assigned areas. Food is eaten at the table. Period. Art is made at the art table. Period.

    The more organized I am, the more it influences the kids.

    I highly recommend removing as much STUFF as possible to start (from kids rooms and everywhere else for that matter), and focusing on a few key activities that you enjoy doing for a while. If that is manageable and there’s time for more activities, then allow one more back in, under careful management. In our case, simplicity is more realistic.

    I know I sound like a stick in the mud but I promise you I’m fun, and the kids seem to thrive in order rather than chaos. Less is truly more.

  • #170702
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Oh, I like emjayjay’s idea — establish the HABIT, TEACH the skills. Someone needs to do that for me.

  • #170716
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    We have a going-to-bed checklist, to make the next morning easier (my son is 5 and just started kindergarten, a full hour and a half earlier than we had him at daycare just two weeks ago).

    We also keep the big toys – lincoln logs, blocks, matchbox tracks, marble machines, kitchen, play tools, indoor tent – in boxes in the attic. Every week or so he can switch out which toy he has in his room.

    The giant tub of legos is a constant, though; so in his room there’s legos, paper, crayons, books, clothes, his guinea pigs & their supplies, and his bed – that is a pretty full room just as-is.

    The other thing is that he sees me uncluttering all the time, so every few months when I say “OK, time to go through your toy box,” he is really good about it. I think because he knows I’ll never make him get rid of anything he really values, it’s easy for him to let go of stuff. (Plus, every time we go through the toy box we find a bunch of little toys he has been missing – last week we found six bouncy balls that he thought had disappeared.)

  • #170746
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lots of good suggestions, thanks! I have actually uncluttered the room a lot, and he doesn’t really play with toys so much so they’re not a huge problem. I could do with doing some more though. Confiscating won’t work, he doesn’t have things he’s attached to that much that he would care. Ditto clothes, if I took all his clothes out he’d probably just go naked! I think the little and often will work OK though, probably straight after school or something. He’s pretty good if I ask him to do one small thing, so that would be better. Margaret: I know just what you mean about never learning how to keep a room tidy, my mum would come and do everything for me, hence I’m keen that he learn. At least he does do other stuff round the house though!
    emjayjay, you are so right about walking the walk! They have certainly been more receptive to being asked to put things away when they see me do the same. I need to tidy up the lounge right now though, all my study stuff is strewn everywhere and it doesn’t set a good example AT ALL! I have been keeping the kitchen, bathroom and landing pristine, and that is a bit of a first for me for more than a few days, so I’m hoping once I have those good habits established in those rooms it’ll rub off elsewhere in the house… I suppose we’re all learning together.
    I do have a funny story though, last night I got out some art stuff thinking we could do some stuff together while I cooked dinner. That didn’t work as ds2 wanted to cook his own dinner while I helped and ds1 read his book. Then I suggested we do it afterwards, but one tiny thing I said about an 8 year old inventor being interviewed on the radio sparked their interest in inventing. So they rushed off upstairs ‘to the lab’ and proceeded to dismantle the table in ds2’s room (something to do with ‘dangerous experiments’) and when I asked them why ds1 said ‘it’s cluttering up the room so we’re going to freecycle it’! Anyway, they half dismantled it so it’s wobbly, I don’t know how the bolts go back in, god knows if a freecycler would even want it… Then ds1 dismantled his brother’s new bin and I had to spend half an hour fixing it, the contents of the toolbox were strewn over the middle floor of the house in an effort to find stuff to make a ‘cool machine’. Ye gods. Needless to say, a big mess and no invention resulted :)

  • #170759
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I also love emjayjays suggestion about implementing the habit. I also think that if you have been the one cleaning your son’s room all the time, he has no real sense of knowing what goes where — maybe he really needs to be taught step-by-step “Is there something on the floor?” – “Is it a book?” – “Where do books go?” and so on.

    One thing I remember from reading the FLYlady emails was that one woman had implemented a new system for allowance/spending money for her kids. They each got a basic amount of weekly allowance (depending on age) and could upgrade that amount if they did certain chores around the house. The chores were also ‘worth’ different amounts, e.g. emptying dishwasher .25 $ and mowing the lawn 5.00 $. (Or whatever — I don’t have children, I don’t know what’s appropriate there.) You could assign an amount of allowance to the daily picking up before bed, too, so maybe that would be an incentive for your son to do things.

  • #170837
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    trillie, are you saying my ds1 is too stupid to know a book goes on a bookshelf?! (only joshing :)) You’re right though, kids do need taking by the hand and breaking it into chunks sometimes. I do too actually, hence ATAD works for me!
    The allowance thing wouldn’t work, he gets given money by other people for birthdays etc, so pocket money isn’t really that big a deal to him, though maybe in a few years he might respond to that. Anyway, I’d rather he does chores to be part of the family rather than for money TBH.
    Lots of good ideas everyone though, as always :)

  • #170843
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Trillie’s right, my daughter is a very smart girl but too stupid (or downright lazy) to put her books on her bookshelf PROPERLY. She just throws them willy-nilly!

  • #170849
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I taught eight olds most of my adult life and I love them. Third grade is my favorite. Your little guy just needs to know you mean business. You are the boss.

    “Who’s the boos?”

    “You are Mommy”.

    It could be an inside joke.

    And you just stand there until he does whatever he is supposed to do. Be consistent, predictable.

    I use to stand right next to a kids desk and tap on the desk with a ruler, joking around. I’d tap on the desk “Get back to work”, they’d giggle and get back to work. They forget! LOL. After a while, I’d just have to shoot them a look. It is kind of fun. They thought I was the funniest teacher. Basically I never grew up.

    Humor works wonders, especially when you are exasperated.

    If you do that now, and it may be a bit of a battle, you will save yourself a lot of aggravation in the long run. Once he gets the hang of it, you can kick back.

    In fact, he can be trained to help you. 8 year olds make terrific helpers. They love to help. Find something he likes to help out with, that will make him feel important.

    Kids that age want to know what the rules are. They want some guidelines. Sit down and explain why. Make sure he is listening. Let him in on the decision making. He’ll fall in line.

    Kids are not by nature neat but they certainly can be trained to pick up.

    I could write a book about it! I have that many ideas.

    Oh Lee Canter (Cantor) has a terrific book about assertive discipline for parents. It is several years old and assertive discipline does not demean a parent, (or a teacher) or a child.

    As Astro Jetson says”Rots of ruck!”

  • #170850
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Who’s the Boos! LOL. I can’t type! I never learned as you cannot sleep in a typing class. ;o)

  • #170874
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    terriok, you sound like you should write a book :) My 8 year old is 8 going on 2 going on 48 though, he’s a bag of complexity and although I am definitely the boss, sometimes that doesn’t help! Also, you should know that your beautifully-behaved 8 year old school pupils are just plain fed up of being beautifully-behaved after 6 hours of school, and are in the mood for some challenging behaviour sometimes at home :) However, he has been lovely the past week or so, so I won’t diss him too much. I’ve started saying ‘I will do x for you if you do y’, like if he goes and gets changed and puts his school uniform away I’ll make him a snack. Hopefully once he’s used to that he can do his own snack! You’re right though that he will respond if things are explained to him. Most of the time… Doesn’t mean he doesn’t need nagging though!

  • #170883
    Avatar of STLMom
    STLMom
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I feel for you, because I have similar problems with my 10-year-old. She’s a smart girl, but ask her to clean her room and she looks around helplessly, because she has trouble seeing both the problem and the solution. Of course she doesn’t say, “please help me, Mom!” instead she ignores the room and slips into another activity when I’m not looking.
    I know I need to consistently and gently train her in how to pick up her room on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I tend to get impatient and frustrated, and I give up or just do things myself. My mother just yelled and threatened and left me to it, and that certainly didn’t help me learn good habits. I’m trying to do better with my kids, but I’m still working on myself!
    I also have a younger child whose brain is wired differently. His room has few things in it, it is usually neat, and he loves to donate his old things. Go figure.

  • #171089
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    re: books not standing up on a shelf:

    I just picked up some Ikea bookends which work a treat. Our bookcases are full as all of our work papers and projects have to live there too. But I cannot stand it when books are falling over and looking untidy. The Ikea ones clip over shelves and are nearly invisible. Several of those separating areas on a bookshelf can be helpful too.

    I also found at a local store (Trillie will know Tchibo!) two tall racks which hold on the same way to the top shelf of a bookshelf, thereby extending it by one shelf. If I can figure out how to post a pic I will.

  • #171091
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    i keep looking at this topic title and thinking, man how difficult is it to unclutter kids?
    do you throw them in the recycler? put them on craigslist? take them to the op shop? garage sale?

  • #171139
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    bandicoot: there was a bit of a hoo-hah a while ago when some put their kid on ebay :) They were joking, obviously, but caused no end of a fuss!
    Still working on ds1, the bedroom is still a state but better, and he has been ever so good at doing the other chores the last few days. I will train him slowly but surely…it definitely requires a strong will and a bit of creativity though. Plus remembering to barter with him, that probably works the best by giving him an incentive to do stuff!

  • #171174
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lmao Bandicoot–I wonder if you would get a charity receipt?

    saw a guy on the train the other day with a tshirt that read:
    Parent sale! 2-for-1 special!

  • #171177
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    well, I have negotiated with ds1 that he will hoover the house this weekend if I tidy up his room for him (after a real row when I tried to help him and he sat on his behind humming and counting some money and generally being infuriating). At least he may see then that if a floor is covered in crap it’s harder to hoover :) The boys enthusiastically hammered out a chore chart for the week completely unprompted (I get the dishwasher, dh feeds the cats, ds1 hoovers and ds2 sweeps and mops the kitchen floor, ds1 also did a bit of a time estimate on all these to make sure they’re fair!). They also liked the idea which I spotted somewhere of having a random chore being drawn out of a hat so we’ll try that if enthusiasm flags. Then ds1 wanted to mop the bathroom floor after ds2 did the kitchen. It’s like a lake out there but hey, slightly cleaner!!

  • #171181
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Great going Lottie! And yes, with kids you do have to set your standards a little lower. :) But, they’re learning and they’ll improve. It took me moving from home to my own place with roommates to appreciate all that my parents made me do around the house growing up.

  • #171212
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    @Lottielot, going back to the question of how to store books ‘out of sight’. I just took a heap and crammed them at the back of my daughter’s wardrobe shelf. Since I’ve done that – a couple of weeks ago now – she hasn’t asked for any of them, as all her favourites are on a Ikea Billy bookshelf (jam packed full). I hear you on the re-reading, as both she and I regularly re-read our favourites! (I’m currently reading my old copy of “Little Women” to her, and it feels so special to be sharing one of my most-loved books!)

    Most of the ones I’ve hidden are books I bought for when she is slightly older, or more babyish ones she never reads any more. Went through the hidden ones yesterday and donated about 20 of them, confident that if she hasn’t missed them by now they don’t need to stay. And there’s always the library, if she wants to revisit them.

    And wasn’t today’s Unclutterer post by Erin so topical?! I really need to get my act together in the morning, and not be reading blogs when I should be getting the kids ready for school :-)

  • #171252
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    rofl lazycow on the blog-reading instead of school-readying! I can so relate to that :) However, the kids have only been back 7 days here, so I’m not so bad as that yet. Very topical though, and a lot of good ideas. This morning I had to dress my 5 year old as otherwise it wasn’t going to happen, but at least I planned in enough time to do that and only had to shout once at ds1 (how hard is it to understand ‘PUT YOUR SHOES ON’ when bellowed from 1 foot away?). Mind you, dh was around and distracting the kids without chivvying them along, so that didn’t help.
    I bought that book you recommended and really like it. My oldest is super-sensitive so I think some of the things in there will work for him. He’s actually pretty much stopped watching telly or playing the ds since I banned him about a month ago, he’s reading instead and doesn’t miss that screen time right now even though he’s no longer banned. I like a lot of the ideas in that book, like the rituals. When I was struggling to get the kids to school a while ago I introduced a really nice ritual of reading them a chapter of a book while they ate their breakfast. Since they both love books it was a lovely, peaceful thing for us to enjoy instead of the usual breakfast/school chaos. I had a book about science which was our favourite, it was questions like: why is a raindrop shaped like it is? and how do snowflakes form and how does a ball bounce. Great book with excellent photos and quite short pages so you could adjust how many you could do to the time. I should re-introduce that ritual again!
    Little Women! Now that’s a reason to have a girl! I love that book :)
    Ds1’s books could always be stashed under the bed… Then again, I think I’ll work on the rest of the room first. I’m still not sure I agree with the stashing books thing :)

  • #171299
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    This is a priceless thread to read! I’m glad things have improved and was already going to suggest the trade-off situation but then it was brought up.

    DH isn’t always the best to stay on track with his tasks at home, so when I’m desperate enough I just threaten him with dirty laundry (I’m the one to take care of laundry in our household). He hates dirty underwear and wouldn’t dream of wearing the same pair twice, so I thanked the heavens when I discovered this little quirk, the perfect bribe really…

  • #171326
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I mentioned on another thread (ATAD I think) that I was going to police the children more regularly with regard to keeping their rooms clean and tidy. It’s been almost a week, and I’m pleased to report that I have only confiscated 1/2 a dozen items off the floors. I’ve been reminding them before school, and before they go to bed, that they need to check their floor and they have done a GREAT job.

    However, spring school holidays start tomorrow – 2 weeks of spending lots of time at home and general slackness with regard to cooking and housekeeping – so I’m going to have to change my holiday habits and set a good example. Sigh. On the bright side, we’ve decluttered so much stuff this year that everything is so much easier to keep clean.

  • #171336
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    yay for holidays! And yay for you keeping your kids on track! I’ve been terrible: the youngest has a disgusting streaming cold and is tired and whingey and cries all the time this week, I’ve been out all the time and busy when at home doing study and neglecting the house, so not a good example. But this afternoon I’m getting the hoover out and setting ds1 to it. I think he needs an extra chore as well though, once a week is a bit pathetic, even if it is a 3 storey house :)
    We just bought a huge tray of peaches for almost nothing yesterday, so I’m going to get the kids to trawl through recipes and see how many different peach recipes we can make, and then get them to do all the chopping :)

  • #171408
    Avatar of jbeany
    jbeany
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    LOL @ bandicoot – I had a similar thought – but more along the lines that you uncluttered kids by throwing them (and all their stuff)out at 18!

  • #171413
    Avatar of streamliner
    streamliner
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I’m puzzling over this too. Kid is about four; sometimes she’s really helpful, sometimes not. Varies by mood.

    Complicating this for me is that I grew up in a cluttered house; so at the same time I’m trying to create my own systems for keeping things neat all the time (and thus not having to panic when the doorbell rings), I’m trying to teach her to have them. Hard to teach what you don’t already know!

  • #171430
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Streamliner, I think kids really appreciate it if you share that you’re learning/experimenting too.

    It’s not just a parenting thing, but my mom taught lit and language arts for more than 20 years. When I was a teen she got switched one year over to science. The kids were just delighted to ask her questions and get the answer “I don’t know, let’s look that up” and to do experiments where the outcome was actually in doubt, not something the teacher had done every quarter for decades.

    I can see that with my 5 year old, too – “hey, this isn’t working, how could we arrange this so you have room in here for X,” and then a few months later re-evaluate (and purge) and move furniture around. I think it gives him a real sense of power.

    Here’s what I actually came in here to share, though: kid’s grandparents were here this weekend, so to counterbalance my decluttering efforts, we now have some sparkly plastic jewelry, and two new board games. So this week we’re going to have to do the “what are we getting rid of to make room on the shelf…” game. Grrr.

  • #171432
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    mmmm, grandparents are the worst, well in-laws anyway…Despite their own nice tidy homes they seem to think it appropriate to give your kids tat to fill up your house, which they delight in pointing out is cluttered :)

  • #171446
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    My kids are getting 30 minutes of computer time Mon-Fri during the holidays (yes, I’m very strict about computer time!), with the proviso that their rooms are tidy before they go on.

    We had friends over on Saturday night (they have 3 boys and a girl) and even though all the kids pulled out everything to play with, it was all packed away by the end of the evening. Was very impressed with them all!

    Much to my daughter’s horror, we are going to sort through her stationary supplies today. I’m aiming to pack away all the duplicates and stuff she rarely uses, as the kids’ desk is usually a mess and she finds it difficult to find room for everything.

  • #171526
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lazycow, my ds2 uncluttered his desk as he wants to paint it, he put all his pens in a little bucket and tidied everything off it into his cupboards. He needs to give me lessons!! Still leaves his shoes in the middle of the hallway though :) I’m actually finding it so helpful to automatically answer ‘yes, if you do x, y or z’ when the kids ask me to do something for them. ‘You want me to sign your homework book for you? Yep, soon as you’ve put this laundry away’ :) ‘you want me to buy this for you? I’ll put in my credit card details as soon as you’ve emptied the dishwasher’. Now the second they ask for help with something or want to watch telly or a DVD or go on the computer, I look round to see which chore I can delegate to them first :) I even found ds2 folded all the tea towels and put them in the drawer yesterday without me asking, so I went and found him and thanked him, what a sweetheart! My ds1 has lots of afterschool activities on this term, so when I ask him to do something round the house and he queries why, I list out all the hours I spend doing stuff for him and driving him places, this makes him appreciate that I expect help round the house in return for this effort. He does seem to respond better to this and to the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ tactic. Bedroom still a state but at least other stuff is done. Now, if only my dh could be similarly trained…….

  • #171643
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    @lottielot,good on your son! I made my kids clean up their desk (they share). They were very good about it, and I said they could keep a small box on the desk with their stationery supplies. The rest can be stored elsewhere. If one day is anything to go by, it’s so much easier for them to tidy up now.

    I LOVE your idea about trading chores for favours; that seems to be the best way to get my daughter to do anything too. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! The computer is her ‘currency’ so I’m going to use that as a bargaining tool more often.

  • #171662
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lol, it works a treat! I think as mums we sometimes get into the habit of doing stuff for our kids just because they ask, but a bit of give and take never hurt anyone :) It also seems to appeal to kids’ innate sense of fairness, instead of saying ‘why should I do this?’, you point out what they’re getting out of it. If they set the table, you can sit down and read a story to them because you’ll have the time to do it. That sort of thing, although it doesn’t work if they’re really not cooperative :)
    I have a friend who has another approach: instead of saying ‘can you do x’, she says ‘I have three things for you to accomplish’ and something about that number makes them desperate to know what the next one is! I have tried it a few times, but I keep forgetting to stick with it. I do try and list out stuff for them though, as kids are so forgetful sometimes. So if I send them upstairs to fetch or do something, I tell them the list, then remind them there are 3 things or whatever on that list. Ds1 was really fuzzy this morning, so I reminded him they both began with S! I do this myself actually, I tell myself how many things I need to do in town so I know if something’s been forgotten, even with a written list it’s easy to lose track :)
    Good luck with the bargaining tool :) Yesterday I challenged ds1 to empty the dishwasher before the internet connected, our laptop is slow so he managed it easily!

  • #171677
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Kid-free here, but I really like the “things for you to ACCOMPLISH” prompt. All kids like to have that feeling of achievement and almost all like to feel they are contributing in a positive way. As soon as they’re old enough to comprehend give and take, I say put ‘em to work. It sure helped me and my sister get a clue about running a household.

  • #171753
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I just posted on ATAD that my daughter and I had been looking at Minimalist websites and this weekend she decided to weed her book collection. We have donated 50 books to the op shop! It is a major step for her, as she’s never liked getting rid of anything. We used the space on her bookshelf to put all her other favourite books which had been stored out of sight, so she’s very happy.

    As a ‘reward’ I used a free voucher to buy her “Mockingjay” the last book in The Hunger Games trilogy, which comes with a Mockingjay pin. She was very pleased (and so was I as I’m hanging out to read it too!) We’ve been talking about how possessions can really weigh you down, and you only need enough to be comfortable with and not oppress you. People, and experiences are much more important. I wish someone had told me that when I was 10 years old!

    We also went through her clothes, as it’s spring here, and got rid of some winter stuff she no longer fits in to. She cried over a lovely red duffle coat, but it really is too small, and we have lots of photos of her in it, so it is time for it to leave and go to some other little girl.

  • #171762
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    wow lazycow, your daughter sounds well uncluttered now :) After my exams I’m going to spend a day per child going through their stuff in preparation for ‘Farmer Christmas’… I did mention the possibility of a car boot sale which ds1 will be well up for, I may let him organise everything for it!

  • #172532
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I’ve been implementing a ‘room check’ each morning after the kids go to school for a couple of weeks now. My daughter STILL leaves books and other stuff all over her bed, so I’ve been confiscating it all. Library books go straight back to the library. Some days she notices, other days she doesn’t. Sigh. She is just naturally messy and genuinely doesn’t care about 90% of her stuff, so not sure where to go from here.

  • #172540
    Avatar of STLMom
    STLMom
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I found a blog (sorry, can’t give credit because I didn’t bookmark it) which suggested a different take on the chore chart. I’m thinking of giving it a try.
    The idea is that you pay your child for completing each chore on their chart. If your child doesn’t do the chore, then they have to pay YOU, because presumably you did it for them.

    The only trouble I see is that my kids might be willing to pay me to do some of their chores! Maybe they would have to pay me double what I pay them?

  • #172626
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    cheer up lazycow :) I know we both have issues but actually, if it’s their space, you have limited control, and if they just don’t care you can’t make them. I just want to be able to go into my ds1’s room without hurting my feet on lots of bits of random crap! Right now the whole house is a bombsite as I have my final exams next week and any sort of tidying is out the window till then. Still, it’s not quite as bad as it would have been had I not started down the path a month or so again, and it’ll be easier to pick up the pieces come next week when I’m finished. We have school hols in about a week, so I will be designating one day ‘TIDY UP DAY’ to have a huge catchup session and then I will throw a party for the 3 of us to celebrate and we will have a feast :)
    Anyway, back to the books… :(

  • #173379
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Thanks lottielot! I’m back decluttering their stuff (well, with a good bit of organising thrown in). Finally succumbed and bought 2 shallow underbed plastic storage bins for my son’s Lego. It’s cockroach (shudder) season here, and I refuse to store anything in cardboard boxes anymore, as the buggers LOVE cardboard. It’s really streamlined his room!! They are not going to live under the bed – I won’t allow anything under the beds, as it spoils the look of a room. I need to find a really big container to put all the sports stuff like cricket bats, stumps, pads, rollerblades, etc. So they can all live outside instead of taking up valuable wardrobe/floor space.

  • #173380
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    ewww, I hate cockies! I used to live in central Sydney and it was permanent cockroach season there, they completely infested the whole area! Thank you for reminding me that even though it’s November here in the UK and is the gloomiest, dankest month and the clocks just went back, at least we don’t have cockroaches to contend with!
    Lego is a horrible, horrible storage problem. I spent literally years of my life trying and failing to organise Lego! And then my kids didn’t play with it for about 6 months but last week we had a bit of a Lego fest and trying to find just the right little piece was a right pain. Right now we have 2 big Ikea plastic boxes as they fit on ds2’s shelves, but they are not ideal as 1) they have holes in the sides and the little bits fall through and 2) they’re cubes so too deep to be able to root around properly for the little bits which fall to the bottom. However, there are some good ideas on here, enjoy:

    http://jdorganizer.blogspot.com/2007/09/15-lego-storage-options.html

  • #173393
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Lazycow, we store all that stuff (hockey sticks, umbrellas, baseball bats, badminton net poles) in a garbage can on the porch – anything vertical. Rolled up kites, too.

    Then I have what I think was meant as a laundry basket – it’s a big plastic tub w/rope handles, about twice the size of a bushel basket – for balls, frisbees, gloves, etc. We have an enclosed porch so neither has a lid, but either one could have a lid or a tarp on it.

    Lego is always a problem. Right now we have one big tub o’ everything, and a smaller box inside it for small & special bits, and a designated little shelf for the current work in progress. And I just took all the other building toys and put them in the attic – it’s Lego every day for weeks around here.

  • #174126
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lazycow? hello lazycow? Have you got wedged under the bed or been eaten by cockroaches?

  • #174138
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lottielot: maybe lazycow’s DK’s Legos became giant monsters and devoured the whole lot of the family.

  • #174145
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    LOL! Well. If THAT’s not a good reason for everyone to declutter their Legos now, I don’t know what is :o)

    Btw, does anyone know the blog ikeahacker.blogspot.com? I just remembered they had a few cool ideas for Lego storage: Lack Lego table, Dual personalities and Hack a Lego table.

  • #174158
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    the lego will win…every time! Maybe she impaled her foot on a particularly sharp one and is in A and E?
    love that Trofast one trillie, nice find! I like the way you can use it as a lego table or an art table. I would have loved something like that when ds1 was in his lego phase, sadly ds2 never seemed to be bitten by the lego bug so I’ll keep the stuff away until the mood strikes for a joint lego session. I love lego myself, I made an excellent Winnebago a while back, and a great castle with a drawbridge mechanism. Whereas ds2 is much more into making things with wood and raiding my toolbox and leaving screwdrivers in odd places. I keep telling him that real workmen keep their things tidy and organised :)
    ds1 is keen on having his room redecorated now other bits of the house have been done, and I told him that that won’t happen till it’s reasonably uncluttered. I did point out that if there are 20 things on the floor and he puts away 5 of them a day it’ll only take a few minutes for 4 days, but so far not much joy. He wants a desk and a lava lamp (?) and I told him that’s not happening either till he can get and keep his room in a reasonable state. I expect I’ll have to have a bit of a session with him with some boxes for keeping/chucking/recycling/giving away, maybe he can learn the skills eventually…

  • #174218
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Back again (no, I wasn’t buried under Lego :-))It’s nice to be missed! Just felt very flat and unmotivated for the past few weeks. Love the Trofast storage too, but that would required a trip to Ikea (the horror!) I’ll consider it if my son continues to obsessively buy Lego. The bedrooms are staying pretty organised at the moment, and there isn’t much to declutter. My daughter did get rid of 2/3 of her costume jewellery, as she’s received some ‘real’ stuff from her grandparents, so I’m happy about that. They have their school fete this coming weekend and I’ve warned them that if they plan to buy tat, they must get rid of the equivalent tat they already own.

  • #174234
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Do they spontaneously regenerate?

  • #174238
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lottielot: about ds1 wanting to redecorate his room, could you chat with him and make up a written poster showing what his goals are, and how he can earn those goals by uncluttering, donating, etc. I think (imho) that it’s like a genetic trait of some guys to be messy and cluttered. A written poster would be a visual reminder that might encourage him more than the memory of a conversation.

  • #174250
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    glad to hear you’re not buried in lego lazycow :) We have a school fair this weekend as well, good reminder about the tat in tat out rule! Maybe a strict limit of only 1 tombola ticket each too, I helped collect in the tombola carp and it is complete and utter crap too (apart from the monster Jaffa cake tube, yum!)
    SunshineR, I am temporarily giving up on ds1, I’ll try and remind him about 5 things a day, but right now the rest of the house is calling for my attention and I can shut the door on his room. And my masters course is hotting up, roll on Christmas when I can tackle the house a bit more, right now I’m just trying to stay on top of the dust everywhere, the tins of paint and the piles of tiles and my to-do list for the house which is into the teens for this week, arrgh! But maybe I can find him some photos for inspiration, that’s an idea :) After all, it needs to come from him ultimately…

  • #174262
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lottielot: will you have much of a Christmas break (holiday) from your masters course? Sounds like you have a great deal of things going on at once.

  • #174300
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    sunshineR, thanks for asking, I get a month off, hooray! I have assignments due in I need to work on over that month, and Christmas intervening, but it’ll just be nice to have a little break. My degree exams were only 5 weeks ago and I started my masters 7 weeks ago, so life has been a bit hectic lately! Never mind, my house will look lovely in a few weeks time, and because I got a chap who has lots of different tradesmen I didn’t have to chase 5 different people, now that was definitely an uncluttered decision :) The things being done on the house have been on my to-do list for literally years and years and years, so actually once it’s done that will be a lot of mental clutter gone too.
    On the plus side, getting the kids out of the door this last half term has been a million times easier than ever before, both boys have been much more helpful round the house than ever before, and even though the house is a bit chaotic with only one bathroom 2 flights up and dust and tiles etc everywhere, it’s not a patch on the chaos which would have been reigning had I not started uncluttering a few months ago.

  • #174309
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    You’ve come such a long way lottielot, as have we all! I just can’t imagine how you’ve done it all with studying, renovating and children in the mix.

    I’ve promised my kids a mega game of Monopoly after school today as we don’t have any commitments and the house will be PERFECTLY tidy as the in-laws are coming tomorrow. It’s great to be able to give the children my undivided attention and just enjoy their company without letting stuff get in the way. They really are happier just hanging out and doing old-school stuff like playing games, with lego or going to the park.

  • #174311
    Avatar of Jillian
    Jillian
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I was such a HORRIBLE child when it came to keeping my room clean! I’m still only eighteen, so it wasn’t that long ago, either. My poor parents just gave up on me eventually because they didn’t know what to do with my rambunctious little tushie. If they employed some of these methods you all have shared, I’m sure my parents would have been more successful. They never enforced their own decluttering, and never really set an example or showed me how to be clean and organized so every time they told me to clean my room, I would get lost and give up. Really explaining how to be neat and organized would have helped me a ton, and I’m sure it’ll help all of your children too. It was only until I found this website that I finally snapped out of being messy and cluttered, and I can proudly say I have never looked back since! I’m happy to read about all of your progress everyone.

  • #174327
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Jillian, I was exactly the same as a kid, my room was always pretty messy. My mum is fanatically tidy so she would just get fed up, come in and tidy up or we’d have these horrible marathon sessions where she’d hold things up and I’d have to say keep or chuck. Dreadful, and I’m sure half the reason I’m so messy now is because I hated that sort of thing, she wasn’t really showing me what to do, just bossing me about! So I’m not going to go that way with my kids… Also, she was always manically busy doing housework in spite of being a SAHM, so I think I associate a clean tidy house with all this unneccesary energy expenditure, but it’s actually just that my mum is incapable of ever sitting still or reading a book or relaxing. So, uncluttering often seems to involve uncluttering childhood demons :)Preferably without giving your kids their very own demons…
    lazycow, the monopoly sounds like a great idea :) Uncluttering your time for your kids is a good goal, I hardly ever do it at home so it usually happens by booking something to attend, on Saturday we are doing pottery together so we can hang out and make stuff, that’s usually quite fun!

  • #177676
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Just checking in to report how things are going on the kids and clutter front, and wanting to see if anyone else had any new ideas:-)

    It’s the end of week 5 of the summer holidays here and I’m pleased to say, the children haven’t suffered from all the decluttering of their stuff I did last year. I must admit, I was feeling a bit of a bad mother when I donated a heap of their stuff that I’d planned to sell and give them the $ for, but they DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE IT WAS GONE! Apart from my daughter asking where the Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets game was the other day (I got rid of it months ago). I don’t think I actually gave her an answer ;-)

    I don’t know where I got the idea that I needed to provide my children with everything I think they need to be happy. In fact, the only things we’ve brought into the house these holidays have been 2 mini venus flytraps and a Lego set. We’ve donated a heap of books they’ve outgrown, and used the library a lot. If they’re restless or annoying we go to the park to play cricket or ride our bikes. It can be so simple, but I’ve made it so complicated over the years. I don’t know what will happen when they reach high school though…

  • #177689
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    sounds like you’re enjoying your summer hols lazycow :) We’re in full back to school mode here, though we did do a big clearout of both boys’ rooms over Christmas. Problem is I sort of stalled at the final stage (story of my life) so we haven’t implemented any sort of ongoing maintenance strategy, which is what we really need for their bedrooms. Both boys have been pretty good lately elsewhere in the house though, if I ask them to put something away or do a chore like empty the dishwasher then they do it straight away most of the time. They don’t like sleeping by themselves, they are like little puppies who like to sleep in a heap, so that probably doesn’t help them keep their rooms presentable. Currently ds2’s room is a bit of a mess but he just sleeps in ds1’s room instead, both of them snuggled on the bottom bunk.
    The only Christmas present either of them has spotted as missing is a horrible Toy Story 3 bubble bath which I donated. Ds2 made a real fuss when I fessed up, but when I pointed out that they rarely use bubble bath and that the current one we have is several years old and nowhere near finished, plus there wasn’t room in the new bathroom for spares, he accepted it quite happily. I actually think children are MUCH happier with less rather than more. Yes, it’s nice having presents, but when they have too much stuff they really don’t appreciate it. And then when it’s a rarity to receive new things then they enjoy it more. The boys both have birthdays in a few months, and I have told them they can get the 2 expensive things each which they want, but nothing else. And no party, mean mummy :) They can have one or two friends each and go to the cinema or something, I hate children’s birthday parties and that way they will avoid all the CRAP which inevitably comes with 20 presents…
    lazycow: when they reach high school hopefully they will have good habits already. They’ll probably be too busy topping up their mobiles or something to have any money left over for other things! My best friend at high school was given a clothing allowance for the year, it was quite generous but had to include uniform and had to last for the whole year. She was very good at budgeting and good at finding unusual clothes for not much money!

  • #177720
    Avatar of Charity
    Charity
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    I’m too depressed to think about the playroom and their bedrooms. I do love the thread title though, so tempting sometimes!

  • #177729
    Avatar of Kaz in Oz
    Kaz in Oz
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    We took all our kids toys out of the playroom and turned it into a TV room again (partly for selling, partly because I was sick of stepping over all their crap on the way to my room). They have an Expedit each (1 has a 4×4 the other a 4×2) in their rooms and a Tub Trug. All their toys books and bits and pieces have to fit into them at the end of the day. If one looks like its overflowing something has to leave. They are allowed to bring toys into the TV room to play but know to put it away at the end of the night. It takes all of 5 minutes and we make it a race – 2 boys, 7 and 5, very competitive!
    They have a couple of containerised toys, train set, slotcar set, that live in their wardrobes.
    At the end of the day we have a pick up before bedtime and then, if they are bathed and in pyjamas (I have one that likes to sleep naked in summer, the other was in winter pyjamas last night) with teeth cleaned, they get money for their moneybox.
    We have only been doing this for the last eight weeks, but it is working well. This week they had enough money to get a Lego police car each (currently in pieces on the familyroom floor being rebuilt) and a Nintendo DS game for eight weeks work. The 5 year old has worked out though if I ask him to do anything, to ask for 5 cents.
    Wish I had started it ages ago!!!!

  • #177730
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Kaz, great tip re: the bribing! I also like having a rule for containing everything in a certain amount of space. I’ve just finished doing it myself with MY books (everything has to fit on the shelves, no double shelving or stacking on top of each other), and it’s filtering down to the kids’ rooms. Now, if they get a new book, they have to get rid of one if they want it on their shelves, same with toys. I bribed my daughter to do a big unclutter at the start of the holidays by promising to buy her Kool-aid (hard to find, had to go to the USA foodstore!) so she can dye her hair tomorrow. Gulp! I can’t do the $$ thing, I find it hard enough to remember to give them their weekly pocket money :-)

  • #177732
    Avatar of Kaz in Oz
    Kaz in Oz
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    The boys don’t get weekly pocket money, this will probably be the way it continues to be paid now. I’m hoping once we move and I have a more normal routine (ie no shiftwork) that we will all get into the habit of our daily chores and nightly cleanup.

  • #177948
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    any ideas for nightly cleanup with a family of nightowls? We are awful at bedtime routines as it is, adding a tidying up phase to the mix would tip me over the edge I reckon!

  • #177949
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    oh, and my kids unfortunately don’t respond to monetary bribes :(

  • #177952
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    lottielot: maybe a reward for kids tidying up at night/setting out things for morning could be extra time spent with you, reading a story, or extra artwork time. I remember how much I looked forward to reading a bedtime story with my mom. It also helped me to settle down a bit. But I’m still a nightowl. Mom tried her best, though. It would be rough, avoiding food or money rewards, I bet.

  • #178086
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    my ds1 reads to himself nowadays, my ds2 loves stories, but not enough to be bribed by them! They do arty stuff at random times when the whim takes them. And unfortunately time spent with me isn’t a bribe! Their dad doesn’t help either, he’ll whisk them off for a fight or to watch telly with him even if it’s getting late, and then shout at them for not going to bed when he has massively overstimulated them… But he works long hours, is out a lot and doesn’t see a huge amount of them, so it’s kind of tricky. They did go to bed on time last night, they had 4 hours spent on a bouncy castle at a party yesterday so they were EXHAUSTED!
    On the plus side, this morning I managed to get them up 15 minutes early, and ds1 had time to do his homework and I read 2 chapters of On the Banks of Plum Creek to ds2, and we still got to school early on a Monday, bit of a first. I’m rubbish at setting up and sticking to routines with my kids, it doesn’t help that every half term or so everything changes at uni and sometimes their afterschool activities change, so we don’t really have a very fixed schedule. Perhaps one thing I could start is a weekly cleanup with the reward of a meal out, they really love eating out. Hm, will think about it and discuss it with the kids. Thanks sunshineR!

  • #178120
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    hi, lottielot. I think that a weekly meal out with the kids is a great idea. Whatever works for you and them, without breaking your budget. As far as schedules go, I think it’s very ok to have a bit of flexibility and change with kids; a middle ground between total chaos and anarchy, or being fossilized into stuckness (by the parent?). Such as chances to try a new activity, or eliminate one that really isn’t going well for someone. You’re already doing this, I can see.

  • #178187
    Avatar of ldanker
    ldanker
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Lottielot: I know what you mean about picking up at bedtimes. We’re really bad at it too. At that point, I’m just too tired to even try and tackle it, usually. So, we have moved our “clean-up” time to right before dinner. This works really well if I’m making something that can cook unattended for a few minutes. Then, we take a little bit of time and tidy everything up. Then after dinner, we try and play something that isn’t too messy, such as a family board game, etc. I find that we are more likely to stick to this schedule.

  • #178208
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    good ideas people :) I take them out to eat occasionally anyway, usually to somewhere pretty cheap but nice. I took them to Yo Sushi a few months ago, they LOVED it, even though neither of them likes fish or sushi! They loved that conveyer belt going round and I spent very little. There’s something very filling about watching all that food go past! We also go to a carvery for a yummy roast dinner every so often too, they love to go there and it’s easier than cooking when we have activities in the evening. I floated the idea to my kids and they’re all enthusiastic about it, we’ve nominated 8pm as our tidy up time and I set an alarm clock, will see how it goes! In fact, my 5 year old kind of came up with the idea himself…Perhaps we’ll have a goal of at least 5 short sessions every week, set a timer and do a quick sweep. It’s frustrating when we spend ages sorting out their rooms and they end up chaotic only a very short time later due to lack of maintenance motivation. We’ll see how it goes.

  • #178454
    Avatar of Charity
    Charity
    Member
  • #178491
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Wow, interesting is right.

  • #178493
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    Interesting and sad.

  • #178511
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    oh yeah, I saw this in a magazine recently, interesting how the topic is so seemingly mundane yet shows such a massive disparity in the world. Very humbling.

  • #181228
    Avatar of lazycow
    lazycow
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    How is everyone going with their kids and their clutter?

    I posted today on ATAD that I’ve done yet ANOTHER massive declutter of my 10 yo daughter’s room (mainly her wardrobe). She made the choice to have a clear floor space inside her brand new wardrobe (for a reading nook), so her shoes live in a basket by the front door, and the 3 baskets and bins full of stuff that were in her old wardrobe had to be redistributed.

    The way we did it was to take the containers OUT of her room and put them in another room. Then we went through every item, and she had to decide 1) keep/chuck/donate and 2) WHERE the item was going to live. She had 3 spare drawers to store things like diaries/plastic tat/yoyos, etc. She decided to let go around 90% of the stuff, most of it because she couldn’t decide where to store it! I was amazed at some of the stuff she relinquished, but didn’t argue with her, as it obviously wasn’t important to her. Hopefully this is the last of the big declutters for her room, as now everything has a place. I’m determined that no more books, items of clothing, toys enter her room without the equivalent leaving it.

  • #181230
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Uncluttering your kids

    yay for you and your dd lazycow :) I helped my ds1 have a good shift around of his bedroom over the half term holidays last week. I took all his books off a big shelving unit, moved the chest of drawers into the corner and put the big bookshelf from my bedroom on top. Most of his books fit on the shelves with his sewing gear on top. There is now a small perspex bookshelf for me to rehome which is unused, a small 2 drawer unit which I need to get rid of or rehome and space in one corner for a desk if he keeps his room tidy for long enough. He has another bookshelf which is half empty for books which come in, neither of us want him to get rid of any books right now as his brother is only just starting to read so will be reading the books he has for years to come hopefully. He has very little other than books and clothes in his bedroom now though, we chucked away a couple of binbags of stuff from his room and he has plenty of room in his drawers for clothes now. His brother: I did a quick swoop round his bedroom last week and straightened things up but I need to wait for him to grow out of some of his toys before I can get rid of more. Both boys are being really good about doing a daily 2 minute tidy of their rooms which keeps them from going too badly wrong…

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