The key to having a clear-out of a child’s room is to get them to help make the decisions about what comes and goes. It’ll help them feel empowered and learn how to make decisions and stick to them. You can get rid of things in a variety of ways including fixing/mending, recycling, charity shop donations and selling on. Are you really going to fix or mend it? If not, throw it out. Remember to clean surfaces and toys as you go around the room.
At the heart of this process is teaching your kids how to care and respect their belongings so that they want to look after them and keep them in good condition.
Start out by throwing out items that are broken or unusable or have pieces missing. I like to start at one side of the room and work my way up from the floor and around the room. This way you get to see progress quite quickly as the floor is cleared and your little ones can experience the clean up quicker too since they are small and spend a lot of time playing on the floor. Then get a bag for toys and books that your children have outgrown that could be sold or sent to the charity shop.
After this clear out you should find that the toys you do have might fit into storage units and boxes in better ways now that there is more space. This is where boxes and drawers come into their own as very versatile storage options. New toys from Santa might fit into existing storage solutions or you may need to giggle things around a bit or go all out and get more storage!Decide what to keep. Include your child in the process but have the power of veto.
Find a space for everything that you are keeping. Put what you have kept away – everything should have it’s place. Be sure to leave or create space for the new arrivals! Remember it is easiest to store like with like.
Try and make everything accessible at child height so that your children can pull things out and, more importantly, put things back themselves.
Give them a space for their “treasures” (or clutter) my son has an old empty printer’s box with all the divisions for the different letter blocks which he uses for displaying and then playing with his treasures, including kinder egg models, things he’s found or made. Each one has a story and is special to him and he can easily get them down to play with them. If it doesn’t fit in the shelf though it has to be put away so that we keep a lid on clutter in his room.
You could also do some toy rotation by putting away some older toys and some new gifts and then bringing them out again in a few months time. This helps keep kids interested and also means they don’t have to have all their stuff in their room at once, helping it stay tidier.
To maintain this neater more clutter-free, tidy room you need to encourage your child to tidy up for themselves. Make it a game.. who can put the most cars into the right box? do a countdown or somehow engage them in the process. Make your children responsible for tidying up after themselves. Start young, say when they are 12 months old and help them with sorting and tidying, then by the age of three they should be independent enough to tidy their room or what they have been playing with by themselves with a bit of guidance from you. Have regular clearing out sessions so that your children get used to letting go of items they no longer need.
By applying these simple methods to your child’s space you should not feel overwhelmed by a sea of toys and kid-clutter after the onslaught of Christmas. Give your child space to thrive.