We have too much stuff. I’m not going to sugar coat it.
People come to visit me and I have to excavate a chair for them to sit down in. I wish I was exaggerating.
I don’t have more than 2 people over at a time unless we can be outside. (Okay, I’ve had a few “parties” inside when the weather doesn’t cooperate, but it’s not my favourite thing to do. In fact, you can read about that here.)
So, my new passion is throwing stuff out. Or giving it away to others who will use it. I would say I try to sell my old/no longer relevant to us stuff, but it often seems like no one else is interested in my crap either. I had a yard sale this summer and still had a full truckload of stuff to take the our local donation centre.
The best place, for me, to start culling things from is the girls “stuff” corner.
They have a whole wall unit full of “stuff.” You know, half coloured in colouring books, 1000 crayons, markers, pens, and pencils, and every other craft-type thing they’ve ever been given. Oh, by the way, that’s 1000 EACH of crayons, markers, pens, and pencils. And then there are the few pencil crayons, pastels, paints, paintbrushes, glue sticks, piles of construction paper, scrapbooking stuff (that they’ve never even opened), kids needlepoint sets, clay, other packages of generic “craft supplies” and a big thing of scissors that each cut paper with a different pattern on the blades.
Have they ever used this stuff? A lot of it – NO. So why do we have it? Because my kids don’t understand that space is at a premium. This wall of “stuff” is in my living room/dining room area. (Yes, that is my dining room table in the lower right corner. I only have one living space that isn’t kitchen or bedroom – the joys of a weirdly laid out home.)
I ask them to go through their stuff, so they find one colouring book and 3 broken crayons and tell me it’s okay if I get rid of those. While that’s lovely, that is NOT helping our home be more tidy!
My children are going to visit grandma and grandpa the week before school starts up again. Patrick and I will be working, as usual, but this leaves our evenings free. Guess what I’m going to be doing??
You got it – getting rid of crap!
I told Emma that if I think it’s garbage (and now I’m talking about her bedroom), that’s where it’s going. I’m pretty sure there are items that have been on her floor for months, if not years, that are just waiting to be loving placed in the trash bin. So that’s where I’m starting.
I’ve been thinking about this
purge tidy for a little while now and I have some ideas of how I can keep the kids on my tidy train.
Tips to help get kids organized:
Start with a clean slate. If this means you need to get in there and do a first purge/clean out, do it! I know it’s not ideal – kids need to learn responsibility for their own stuff and all that, but at this point I need to just get in there and sort/toss/put away/realign/alphabetize (okay, now I’m just getting carried away!) everything in the bedrooms. Then we’ll develop a system – hopefully.
Use less organization items. I know that sounds backwards, but it’s what is saving me right now. If there are less bins to just toss things into, you have to work a lot harder at finding a home for whatever it is. If it doesn’t have a home, do you really need it?
Once you get to the level of tidiness you’d like to maintain, create a schedule for everyone. Whether it’s so many minutes a day, or so often in a week, find something that works for your family, and stick with it. The minute you stop working towards the tidy goal is the minute the universe returns to chaos!
And reward the kids. If they’ve gone above and beyond (gotten rid of a ton of toys, sorted through all their shelves of books, or actually spent hours working alongside you in your efforts) reward them for their hard work. I’m not saying pay them – just be sure to praise their effort, make them a dinner they actually like, or just put on a favourite movie when you’re through for the day. But be sure they understand that this reward is because of all their hard work. Maybe they’ll be more likely to help you out again with little to no fuss!
Do you have any tricks you use to get kids organized? Or to keep them organized? I know sometimes we’ll get motivated to tidy up, but then there’s no follow through. Maybe that’s just because I’m lazy. And I am lazy. But now that the girls are older we should be able to keep things more neat (and more minimal) than when the house was full of baby toys!
Share your tips in the comments – I need as much help as I can get!