6 Tidy Steps to Regain Control of the Playroom
We’ve heard it many times before:
My kids have so many toys, they’re taking over the house!
I waste hours in the day looking for things I can’t find.
I clean the same area over and over again and it gets messy again in no time.
I don’t get help tidying around the house, I’m the only one who cares.
If your life isn’t in alignment with how you want to live, it’s time to gain control by reducing the amount of stuff you live with. It’s the only way.
You’re too busy to declutter?
According to Derek Sivers, “‘busy’ implies that the person is out of control of their life.” The implication is that the busier we get, the less we are in control.
To gain control, we need to move from a busy life, toward a prioritized life of more focus.
Reducing the amount of your stuff is the most effective step you can take right now to live a more streamlined and manageable life.
Bonus: tidying is effective in teaching your children lessons of gratitude, respect, and joy!
Sound good? Great – here we go!
Reduce, reduce, reduce! There is no other way to say it – in order to clear your mind; you must first declutter your space.
Changing your mindset that toys are not merely play things, rather, items that teach our children skills and values can help you understand that fewer toys will actually teach your kids life skills. Less toys = more imagination and more creativity. Plus, fewer toys result in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home!
Action: Go to the playroom with a donation bag and a trash bag. Pull out all the toys, books (yes, even those you’ve long forgotten about) – hold each item and start analyzing. Does this get used? Do it serve a purpose? If not, remove it from the playroom, and place it in it’s appropriate home (an outbox for hand me downs, a donation box, or stored away until they will be used).
With all of your keepers laid out, you can see what you’re working with. Sort by category: plush toys, trains, trucks, books, oh my!
Action: Sit down with your kids, ask them what their favorite toys are, and why. How they feel when they play with that toy? This helps them understand what possessions bring them joy. Create toy categories together, reinforcing the behavior of using something out and putting it back away.
3. DIVIDE THE SPACE + STORE
Give each category a clear, divided space in the room. Soft toys go in one corner, books/library in another. This teaches the ‘everything has a home’ rule.
Also, try creating a storage area for the kids’ artwork. Why? It’s hard to limit the amount coming in. With a dedicated storage container, you allow yourself to set a quantity limit. Once the storage is full, go through it and decide what stays and what goes. Don’t let the volume of art exceed storage capacity.
Action: Gather some empty, clear bins (or any bin without a lid), and start respectfully placing toys in their homes.
PS: We’re seeing a lot of Mom’s who use and love the Artkive App to store kids’ art digitally, and even make books from the best pieces. Take a look at their site and decide if digital art storage is a workable solution for your family.
4. 90/90 RULE
Rules are handy tools to help us stay on track when faced with tough decisions. Kids grow out of clothing and toys so quickly. We love the The Minimalists 90/90 rule to help us analyze what’s actually being used and loved!
Action: Start with one item – anything. Has your child used it in the last 90 days? If they haven’t, will they use it in the next 90? If not, then it’s okay to let it go. Give yourself permission. It’s okay.
5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Your kids are always watching you, they mirror you! If they see you donating and the way it makes you happy – they’re going to want to do it, too (you might not even have to talk about it!). Thank each item for it’s service and enjoy the happiness and lightness you feel from letting go!
Action: Start a donation box & set up a family competition to see who can donate the most, making the biggest impact to families in need!
6. SLOW THE VOLUME DOWN
It’s normal to struggle with the amount of gifts your kids receive these days. To gain control, you need to focus on giving yourself permission to let go of ‘third party clutter’ (the items you never asked to receive), slowing down what comes into the house (this is a great teachable moment about respecting possessions and shaping decision making skills).
Action: Of course you want the best for your kids – but you want the best experiences, moments, and memories – not the most amount of stuff. Honor this feeling and during the holidays, give experiences instead of so many things.
There you have it – if you master these 6 steps, we believe you will change your mindset and outlook on kids’ toys and the amount of stuff you’re bringing into your house. Once everything has a home, it should take no longer than 15 minutes to put everything away. If you continue to teach your children these habits, you’ll have tidy tots in no time.
Your end result: your family will have more of the important stuff. More relationships, experiences, travel, and special moments.
I challenge you to stick with it and share your successes in the comments below!