How to keep an organized home with kids!
Hey guys! So this is something I actually feel pretty passionate about and that is this- keeping your home organized with kiddos. A while back I read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", and it honestly was pretty much life-changing! I think a lot of things change my life haha, but this is definitely one of them! Honestly I am not even 100% through reading this book yet (I cannot remember the last book I read cover to cover, hopefully someday soon I'll change that!), and our home is still a major work in progress. But I made it through most of it and I have worked on our home with this mindset in place for over a year now. This book made a huge difference in our lives at home but I thought there was one major thing missing from it, and that is- how to keep kids toys/stuff organized!!! A lot of us parents might say that is one of the hardest things to keep tidy in a home. So I have focused on this area for the past few months and am here to report what helps us keep things tidy around here (and to be clear, by "tidy" I mean that things have a place and we try our best to clean up at night but a lot of times that doesn't happen and we live in a tornado for like 3-4 days out of the week!!!)
1. GET RID OF THINGS!!!!! This is the most imperative thing to do of all. Kids in our society today get SO MANY THINGS, and between clothes, toys, books and all the other stuff, the kids belongings can seem endless. So, obviously you have to clear the clutter. I go through our stuff roughly every two weeks. Not the entire house but whatever I can find that we do not currently use or does not have a place, I put in a pile to get rid of. I keep that pile in the basement and once every other week I take a load to goodwill. I basically always have the mindset of simplifying our space so this is something I practice daily. One thing that is really hard to give away or get rid of is gifts from someone else for the kids. I am here to tell you now - do NOT feel bad about it! At least try not to. If it is not being put to good use in your home and extra clutter is causing you stress (which it most definitely can do), then I don't think your family member or friend would mind if you got rid of the item that you no longer use. There is nothing wrong with enjoying something for a short time and then donating it to goodwill for another child and family to enjoy.
2. Ask/shop for more meaningful/heirloom type items for the kids. Find small shops/companies you love and want to support, and ask for items from these places instead. You may receive less items, but less to go through in the long run. Also start shopping these places more yourself if you can. Kids really don't need as much stuff as you think they need, and only a few outfits from Target, as much as I love to shop there, can be the cost of one or two items from a small or local shop. Then it is a more special item and you'll want to keep it forever. Receiving a few handmade or small shop items is much better than getting a ton of stuff you don't really want.
3. Keep ONE toy basket in every room... at least the rooms that your kids play in. So, get yourself a few pretty baskets and put those in each room, and limit the toys to that room to staying in that ONE basket! The exception can be a playroom if your house has the space for that, but even a playroom can be tidy. The rooms we have baskets in are: the living room, one in each of the kids rooms, and one upstairs in our room. That's it! So every night after the kids are in bed it only takes a few minutes to clean up toys.
4. At a certain age you can start having your kids being a part of the cleaning routine. Ollie just turned two in May, and he already loves cleaning up! He also loves making a HUGEEEE (he loves that word right now haha so that's a tribute to him) mess, but when it comes time to clean up, we sing the "clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere" song... (what is that even from again? Barney? Haha!). And he loves the song! He sings it to himself periodically throughout the day and picks up tiny messes and it makes my mama/OCD heart oh so happy.
So, I think the main thing is...say it with me friends...GETTING RID OF STUFF! It feels so good and you won't offend anyone. Oh and when you get rid of toys, do it when your kids aren't watching. You obviously aren't going to get rid of their favorite ones so chances are they won't even notice! In the book I mentioned, the author talks about keeping only the things that "spark joy". She has you go through and look at each and every item in your home and as yourself, "Does this spark joy?" Using that method for cleaning out our lives has worked wonders. I hope this helps you keep your home a little more tidy and frees up space in your mind for something else you love! Love you guys!