BY ANGE MCNAMARA
Do you find your home being taken over by kids’ clothes, toys, collections and, well, clutter? Once you’ve done your initial spring cleaning, you’ll want to keep your house clean – and more importantly, you want your kids to be a part of keeping it clean. Ange McNamara is back from Klear Inc., to share some of her tips to help keep your kids’ items in check, so your home is always in tip-top shape.
How often should you purge your children’s things?
I usually advise my clients to purge every six months – fall and spring are typically suitable time frames for most. Due to seasonal changes, your kids aren’t playing with certain toys anymore, and they may not fit into the same clothes they used to.
In my family, we’ll purge before Christmas because my kids know that they’re going to get new toys and they want to make some room for those things. It’s a little bit tricky to purge with kids because you don’t want to get rid of stuff that’s going to upset them – that’s where junk drawers come in. A lot of kids are collectors and may want to keep every toy that they have. I like to let them have a specific space where they can keep things and then I go through it with them, every six months to decide what’s garbage and what can be donated.
Trying to decide what stays and what goes? Ask yourself (and your kids) these questions:
- Do I use this often?
- Does it still fit?
- Do I see myself wearing this again? (be honest!)
If an item hasn’t been used in 6 months, certain clothing pieces no longer fit, or you don’t see yourself (or your kids) wearing specific clothing items again, that’s a good indication that it’s time to put together a donation pile.
How do you get children to clean up after themselves?
A huge part of getting your kids into a routine of being organized is setting up a system where they know where to put certain items. For example, when my kids come home from school, and they know where their lunch bag goes, boots may go on a dryer, dirty laundry goes into the bin and so on. It’s all about training – if they don’t drop laundry in the basement for instance, I will call them all the way up to the bedrooms and ask them to, “pick this up.” I could have easily picked their item up, but I do this to get my kids into the habit of cleaning up after themselves.
How do you make it easier for children to become organized?
Based on my experiences with my own children, they don’t want to take the steps required to put something away, so you need to make those steps as simple as possible. If a kid needs to open a door, and then pull out a drawer and then open a box, and put that thing away, they’re less likely to use that organizational system. However, if they’re just able to just open a door and the item they want is out in the open, then they’ll use it because it’s an easy system that you’ve put in place. A method we use at our house is that we built a hook for each of our kids. This is a great system to have because it minimizes the steps it takes for my children to put their coats, hats, and mittens away. My kids range from the age of 6-12, and they all use the systems, and they pick up after themselves, so it’s doable.
Don’t worry – spring cleaning can be a daunting task! If you’re still feeling like it’s too much to handle, or you simply want to take the stress away, reach out to a professional organizer like Ange to help you get your home back to looking like new!