Before I start acting all smart about decluttering a kid’s room, let me just state that kids’ rooms are a HUGE struggle in our home. Bedrooms in general are my nemesis.
But . . . even though I’ve yet to find a system that keeps me from sweating when an unexpected visitor skips into one of the kids’ rooms for a quick Barbie scenario or wrestling match, we have made progress.
Enough progress that a quick pick-up makes the room at least play-in-able, if not unembarrassing to mama.
Ultimately, any progress we have made has been due to decluttering. Decluttering a child’s room presents the unique challenge of dealing with someone else’s emotional attachment to things you don’t care about. And that someone isn’t exactly emotionally mature.
Y’know, because he/she is . . . a child.
This is one of the reasons why I like to use these decluttering sessions as an opportunity to teach my kids decluttering strategies. (Strategies I’ve learned the hard way.) For example, I ask them my two decluttering questions.
Letting the strategies be the guide instead of mommy being the guide helps us work through the emotional issues. It doesn’t solve every problem, but it helps.
(Lots of links coming up, just click on the underlined word!)
Decluttering Strategies That Work Well with Kids
Do the easy stuff first. This means you begin with trashing the trash. Remove the broken toys and outgrown dress-up clothes and the room will look less overwhelming.
Basically, you start with the non-emotional tasks. This is always my advice when people ask about helping someone else declutter. In decluttering, I do NOT believe it is best to tackle the difficult stuff first. Big, emotional decisions don’t need to be made when you’re fresh, they need to be made after you’ve gained momentum. Start with the stuff that needs to be done but causes no angst.
Make the bed. Purge the sock drawer so it will actually close. These simple things will make a visible difference that will get your child excited about a prettier room. Really.
Less is more.
I know. So obvious, right? But when you simply declutter a space, that space is instantly more usable and inviting. Almost as if it’s organized.
Organizing is problem-solving. Decluttering is not. Without the pressure of trying to create a perfect system, you’ll make ever-so-much more progress!
I’ve written a lot about this life-changing concept because it has changed my life. It took me a LONG time to grasp, though, so I don’t bother waxing eloquent with the kids about how the root word of Container is Contain.
I just put it into practice.
This helps the child prioritize his/her favorites. If an additional book is unearthed after the bookshelf is full, a less favorite book must go to the Donate Box in order to make room.
Kids’ Room Decluttering Projects
Decluttering the Boys’ Room (with video)
Decluttering the Boys’ Bookshelf (This includes a video of me working WITH my boys to declutter their bookshelf, a natural container)
Drastic Measures (This guest post involved a mother removing EVERYthing from her kids’ rooms.)
See all posts in my Kids’ Rooms Category
And if you’re looking for a real-life kid’s room nightmare story . . . here it is: Sometimes Survival Techniques Just Don’t Cut It (Heebie-jeebie alert on that one!)
If this makes sense to you, and you want more home management strategies that actually make sense (to us not-naturally-organized types), check out my new book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. The book will be released wherever books are sold on November 8th, so pre-order now.
New here? Well Howdy-do?! (That’s Texan for “How do you do?”) Be sure to check out my decluttering page, my free printable checklists, my e-books, my podcasts my explanation of why I don’t worry about being normal, and more about what you’ll find here at A Slob Comes Clean!
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