Kids Room Organizing and Editing

Since writing thIs POST over a year ago I’ve made an effort to get back on track with keeping the kids room more edited and tidy (with their help). And it’s been working! So I thought I would share what’s been working for us. Even though their room is not as minimal as I would like, as I want to honour their choices and creativity.

Talk about it

I talked about their room more often. Every time the kids complained about cleaning their room I mentioned that if they had less toys it would be easier to clean. I also pointed out when I noticed they hadn’t played with something for a while and asked if maybe it was time to move it along to someone who would enjoy it more. This took time and conversation. And I found when it was time to do a room purge, they had already made peace with letting some things go. Timing also helps. Right before and after Christmas are good times as they want to make room for new things and a few weeks after Christmas they realize what they actually like/play with.

Also we have a couple of friends with larger, minimal beautifully designed homes and Theo would often say he loved their houses so we talked about why he loved their homes and I explained that if we had fewer things and their room was clean we could have a beautiful home like that too. Size doesn’t matter. This seemed to have an impact on him and I noticed him attempting to tidy more.

Set aside dedicated time

I set aside a Sunday or Saturday afternoon and put on good music and say we are doing a room clean together. I don’t usually plan ahead but choose a day when everyone seems to be in a good mood. Then we tackle it together. Because I don’t clean their room for them too often anymore I think it helps that I am helping also.

Donate, Recycle, Sell, Garbage

When cleaning the room, make piles or have boxes or bags for each of the following; Donations, Recycling, Sell and Garbage. If something doesn’t have a spot in the room then it has to go in one of the piles. Then deal with these piles as soon as possible!! I mean it, you have to recycle that day, you go to the garbage that day. Drop at donation centre asap. I almost never sell anything because I find the effort is not something I want to spend time on but applaud those that do. Instead I ask friends, family or neighbours if they want the items we are parting with and get it in their hands, you guessed it, asap!

Art Book

Don’t forget the art book. When I am already in editing, purging mode I often take 30 mins to take photos of the best artworks so I can recycle the rest. If you don’t have the energy that same day, put all the art in one safe place so you can address it another day. After their room purge the other day I have 24 photos of artwork in a folder ready to add to. I think it accounts for artwork for the last 6 months. Art Book DIY post HERE.

Boundaries (A Place For Everything)

I find for myself and the kids having a set area for storage helps keep things in check. For example right now they each have two narrow Ivar cabinets. So all of their things should fit in those cabinets. It’s clear quickly if there are no spots for new items. Also when they ask for new toys we mention that there isn’t room for that toy, something has to go to make room for it. I feel like these sizing boundaries make sense to kids and adults alike. Doesn’t mean we all don’t bend the rules sometimes but we usually come to regret it.

Useful and Beautiful

I adjust my language around “things” with the kids. Knowing whether something is useful and beautiful and something I need is still hard for me to determine as an adult so I don’t expect the same insight from a kid. But some questions that work with the kids have been….

“do you play with this often?”

“if we went to the store today would you choose this again?”

“do you have multiples of these?” Could we have less?”

“is this something you think _____ would enjoy more than you?”

“do you think you’ve outgrown this?”

Mae surprised me the other day by donating all her barbies. She hadn’t played with them in months and she decided she wouldn’t anymore. I guess we will see if she regrets the decision but I questioned her on it and she was confident in her choice.

Now this is a technique I use as the kids are 6 and 9 now. When they were much younger I talked through these types of things but I also hid toys away, did toy rotations and waited a month or two to see if they asked for them before donating. When they were younger I also had more control over what entered our house. There wasn’t influence from school and friends.