Are you tired of asking your kids to clean up the room? Always mad at your kids for not managing their mess? Don’t you wish the kids rooms would magically be clean every day?
Today I’m going to show you how to declutter and organize your kids room.
Growing up I used to be one of those kids that always had a messy room. My parents would frequently threaten to throw everything away!
Now that I’m an adult I’m taking a different approach with my daughter by frequently decluttering and updating the organization in her room.
Break away from the norm
I started out as one of those moms toting a giant diaper bag everywhere that I went. It had at least 2 different outfits, snacks, bottles, wipes you name it! All of this stuff was kept in arms reach just in case.
Pretty quickly I adjusted my thinking and started thinking about what I really NEEDED in that diaper bag. I eventually settled on bringing a few items that fit in my purse. This was the start of minimalism meets parenthood.
I’ve seen a ton of kids bedrooms growing up, because you know…I was a kids once. I had friends that would have large rooms with lots of stuff, and other friends with small rooms with lots of stuff. I had family with cousins, nieces and nephews with all varying quantities of STUFF.
I had this one friend who always had a tidy room. Anytime I went to visit her, the bed was always made and there was never anything on the floor. This was my first hint that us kids didn’t HAVE to have messy rooms.
I knew for my child, that I wanted to keep her room minimal and peaceful. For her, I wanted an experience of calm and not chaos. It didn’t hurt that her first room was pretty small.
Before she was born, we had a crib a chair and a dresser and that was it.
Changing table? What’s that?
Instead of adding extra piece of furniture in the tiny room we put a change changing pad and on top of my daughters dresser and made sure that it was a good height for changing.
The top drawer of the dresser was used for all things diaper related. This is where we kept the clean diapers, diaper cream, wipes, etc.
The second drawer of my daughters dresser held exclusively her clothes. This is something that we still do today.
Limit her clothing to one dresser drawer has been a good habit. This encourages me to go through and donate clothing that no longer fit.
The art of saying “No”
I think one of the best things you can do to help control the clutter that comes in to your kids bedrooms is to not buy them a lot of toys.
Now hear me out because I know this may sound drastic. You may think I’m an evil mother that doesn’t let her chill let her child play.
For the first nine months of my daughters life we did not buy her any toys. This didn’t mean that she didn’t have anything to play with. Before she was born we were gifted toys and trinkets. We didn’t have a baby shower but still received gifts from friends and family and coworkers.
My daughter came into this world with many lovely baby blankets and a stuffed bunny which has become her favorite. She had a rattle, teething toys and of course the colorful light-up-music playing gadget.
This was all courtesy of others.
Now I hate to sound entitled and say that people are just gonna give you everything. That’s not what I mean. What I’m saying is infants don’t need a lot of toys. My daughter had so much fun with my set of measuring cups, and her baby spoons, and her blanket. At that age everything is a toy.
You may be thinking: ‘I don’t want to deprive my child, I don’t want my kid to go without.’
Occasionally she’ll ask for things while were in the store. When I say no it typically does not lead to a tantrum. I know what you are thinking: What is this magic? No tantrum?
And I think that is because I say no consistently. The answer to her is always no. When I do want to buy her a new toy I always make it a point to be a little bit secretive about it. Not only does this surprise her but since I give her the gift not when she asks for it but much later, she doesn’t associate the instant gratification of asking for and then receiving a toy.
Correcting bad behaviors
I noticed that there was a time when my daughter would ask for an iPad game, you know these little games there two or three dollars? We would say sure of course we will buy the game sweetheart.
And of course like any three-year-old she saw this as a boundary that needed to be tested. For a while every time she pick up the iPad she would say “I need a new game. Can we buy a new game?” Eventually we saw these little two and three dollar games adding up to quite a big investment and iPad games.
Why wasn’t she playing the ones that she had, we wondered. And we noticed a little bit of a trend. When she would pick up a game and play it for a little bit, she would get frustrated. She would decide that she couldn’t beat the level, so she didn’t wanna try.
We saw this is a good learning opportunity to encourage her to stick with something. For us it was only partially about investing in something and her not getting much value out of it. It was about teaching her to keep trying, which is a behavior that would benefit her throughout her life.
I know I got a little bit parenting psychological on you there, but I think it’s really important to set expectations, and to reinforce those expectations frequently. I don’t think it’s realistic to say I’m never going to cave and buy my daughter a sweet or a toy when she asks. But at least she doesn’t feel that she is entitled to that thing in the store that she wants.
How to declutter a child’s room
The next thing I want to talk about in my daughters room is how we regularly go through and declutter and donate items.
Currently we keep all of my daughter’s toys in our living room. We limit the amount that she has by the storage that we use. Once the storage starts to become a little bit too full, we go through and remove things that are currently not being played with.
We do a small toy rotation and keep some toys in my daughters closet for a few months until she’s ready to play with them again. Sometime she lets us know when she’s ready, other times she’ll decide to keep something out when we are going through things to donate.
These toys that are out of rotation or just stored in the closet in a cloth grocery bag.
I know that there is a divide in the parenting community about books. Books are fantastic to have! I love them and we read to my daughter every day. We also don’t own a lot of books.
We go to the library every few weeks and get about 8 books to read. Our local library has a ton of children’s book.
Did you know that libraries will buy a copy of a book that is frequently requested? If you know there is a book that you are dying to read, let your librarian know!
For her clothing it’s pretty easy to decide: I do the ‘does it fit’ test or ‘is it ruined or ripped’ test and if it fails and it gets either donate or recycle.
I try to buy a lot of my daughters clothes secondhand. I think there’s a ton of textile waste that us humans produce, so I try to do at least one small thing to help the environment.
Of course once were done with the clothing it’ll get donated, so that another little girl can enjoy the fun dress or the warm winter coat.
Choose or something that I am constantly keep an eye out for since they are the most expensive pieces to buy for our kids my daughter mainly wear sneakers. She wears her sneakers with her play clothes with her dresses with everything I think sometimes we forget that our kids need comfort to and if my kid starts talking about how her feet hurt we are trying to find something more comfortable
I have a confession to make:
I have been holding onto a lot of baby clothes and shoes in the hopes that we have another child. I know this isn’t really minimal, but the value of holding onto these things could potential save me future time and future money. For this I am breaking with my minimalist values and holding onto them for just a few years.
Just because I’m storing clothes doesn’t mean I keep everything I mainly only keep the outfits I love and the rest get donated.
I do have one box of all of my daughters shoes from infancy through now and I know that these items will leave my life soon but I’m not ready to let them go yet.
I’m normally not a very sentimental person. I don’t tend to keep souvenirs or physical manifestations of experiences that we’ve had.
I think I first realized that I wasn’t wired this way when I was going through my things at my parents house for the hundredth time. My mother was trying to get me to take some childhood items home with me.
She had saved some of my favorite toys from childhood. There weren’t a lot of them and they didn’t take up a ton of space. But I know that if I had taken those items they would’ve forever remain in storage. Maybe they would be brought out every 5 or 10 years to spark memories and be talk about with my family.
I remember how my dad would talk about his mom giving away his old toys or getting rid of them and how much that upset him of course he was an adult when he found out. On the sentimental items me and my dad are different. He had a strong connection and love for his toy train set and his baseball cards from childhood.
If given the choice he would’ve taken those things and held onto them forever. I thought about this as I was going through my own childhood memories. Would I forget the memory if I didn’t have the physical items I didn’t think so.
Buying toys for her (but really for me)
When I was 10 years old I got to go on a Girl Scout trip to the zoo it was a really exciting time and one of my favorite memories. I was given some spending money and decided to buy an orange stuffed tiger. That tiger was my favorite toy and I clung to it until I was much too old for stuffed animals in my bed.
I love that tiger so much that when I was shopping for Christmas presents a couple years ago I saw a similar stuff tiger at a store and bought it for my daughter. She opened this gift on Christmas day and much to my surprise she didn’t fall in love with it.
And like any good mom I gently encouraged her to play with this one toy because I loved it and thought that she would love it too.
My child is not me and my experiences do not live on in her. That wonderful memory that I had created through my own experiences was not something that I could really share or impose on my daughter.
It’s been a couple years now since I got her the stuffed tiger. The stuffed tiger has still made it through several rounds of decluttering prior to birthdays and Christmas. The tiger most recently was pulled out while we were watching secret life of pets 2 and there was a tiger that needed to be rescued. So the tiger was brought out to play the damsel in distress.
It made me really happy that she had chosen the story. I don’t know why I have so much emotion invested into that toy. It does help me understand why my parents hold on to my things even when I would’ve probably gotten rid of it years and years ago
So this makes me wonder are we holding onto our kids stuff for our own sake?
The wall art that we keep in my daughters room are pieces that she either really enjoys or that have a good memory attached. We have two pieces of art and a calendar on her walls. The calendar is something fun that we started when she was 2 years old and we’ve used it to review the days of the week and look forward to events like vacations or birthday parties.
At her cousins birthday party one year my daughter was able to ride a horse! I’m not talking about a little pony, this was a full-size horse! When she was three years old she was the youngest of the kids that wanted to do it.
The week after that experience she couldn’t stop talking about it. I happened to see this wall art while I was shopping and thought it would be a fun reminder of riding the horse.
The monogram canvas was a gift from her cousins. They gave us a taped off canvas with a container of paint. We then did paint hand prints. It turned out great! I love it!
We do our best to keep things simple in my daughters bedroom. This room can be a place for calm and rest.
Here is what you need for a minimal children’s bedroom:
- Toys out of sight
- Uncluttered surfaces
- Small amounts of thoughtful wall decor
What can be improve:
- Library books need a designated spot
- Noise machine should be off the floor