6 Ways to Minimize Kid Clutter
It seems like just yesterday you were bringing your little ones home from the hospital, and now, the in-house toy inventory is so extensive that you can’t really remember whether your living room even had furniture. Whether you have one child or four, the clutter can quickly seem insurmountable. Stimulation is important for children to learn and develop, but so is accessibility and order. Minimize the kid clutter in your home with these handy tips.
1. Seasonal Rotations
If you took a detailed inventory of the clutter in your home, you’d probably realize that a good percentage is made up of items you’re currently not using. During the summer you’ll want bikes, trikes, and wiffle bats readily accessible. During the winter you’ll want shovels and sleds at the ready. When items are out of season store them out of the way in attics, basements, storage units or garages.
Resist the temptation to just thr
ow stuff in a box and put it away; if you won’t use it within a year the chances are you don’t need to keep it at all. Being thoughtful as you pack will save you a lot of time and aggravation in the long run. As you make this a regular practice in your home, your children should naturally start to learn how to edit their possessions on their own. This is a great time to work with your kids on making choices between what to keep and what to get rid of. Especially in their first few years, kids outgrow toys almost as quickly as they acquire them, so find a way to define how much is too much.
2. Open Cubbies
Once you’ve pared down the quantity of stuff (yours and theirs) you can start finding homes for everything. The toy basket quickly becomes the catchall for everything on the floor. Not only does it overfill, but your kids can’t actually find anything inside without dumping it all out. When the kids dump out the entire basket, you eventually step on a block or a toy car. When you step on a tiny toy (barefoot, of course) you will get grumpy.
The solution? Replace your toy bin with one or two long, short shelves with individual cubbies along the walls. Make sure they’re short enough for your kids to ea
sily access the top cubbies.
3. Pull-Out Shelves
Stacking toys is like a weak bandage for solving clutter. Pull-out shelves are open drawers, and they make perfect storage spaces for things like puzzles, board games and other relatively flat toys. Limit one type of game, puzzle etc. to each drawer and show your child how to slide the drawers out and back. Not only will this create space, it also allows your child to access her favorite items without toppling over a small tower.
4. Mounted Book Rack
A mounted or free standing book rack, like those used in the kids’ section of the library, lets you store books with the entire front cover facing out. The flat structure of the rack lets it f
5. Kid Friendly Clothing Storageit neatly against the wall and the front-cover display position lets your child to choose and replace books, without pulling out have the contents of the bookshelf.
It’s hard to keep mittens, flip-flops and outerwear together between the seasons. Storing these items in bins, and on child-height clothing pegs, makes it easier for everyone to get out the door. Sort the items among several small storage units, with one for mittens, one for socks, one for hats etc. Ask your child to help you make pictures for each container and tape the picture on the front. Install several clothing pegs, or an entire rack, at your child’s height. This keeps the coats and sweaters from piling up on the floor, or on a single peg that only an adult can reach.
6. Art Gallery
Find a designated, limited space to display artwork and other achievements your k
ids create or bring home. It could be a French memo board style, magnet bulletin board, cork board or some other solution. Whatever you choose, be sure you clean it out frequently and carefully save a few precious pieces for posterity.