I don’t know what it is but I can’t handle clutter… it has progressively gotten worse as I have gotten older and the funny thing is Fraser is kinda the opposite. I want everything to have a purpose and a place and if it doesn’t, or we are keeping it for sentimental, or potentially one day we might need to use it reasons, then I want it gone. Fraser on the other hand is king of saving and collecting, he is very sentimental and holds on to anything that could potentially serve a purpose ever! It is a constant battle! And sometimes he is right or things he has insisted we keep come in handy but most times I feel better with less.
Now having kids has brought on a whole new set of challenges in regards to stuff… Kids have stuff and they like stuff and they even make stuff. All their little art projects and tiny McDonalds toys and potty’s, change tables, diaper genies and play kitchens, etc. If you have kids you know what I am talking about, if you don’t have kids you might be like I used to be and think “if I ever” or “when I have kids”, it will be different, we won’t have all that stuff. Maybe you won’t but I bet you will!
I have worked hard at not giving in to too much stuff. We don’t have a dedicated change table but instead a regular dresser that we put the little change pad on top of so when diapers are finally over we can just get rid of the pad and still have a dresser. I opted for no diaper genie, I think its kind strange, not into the special bags you have to buy and really felt like they were ugly and take up unnecessary space so we have normal garbages that get taken out frequently.
I also think one thing that helps is closed storage. We recently inherited a new piece of furniture and one of the things I love about it is you cannot slide open the cupboards at the same time the drawers are open limiting the amount of stuff the kids can have out. Plus I like multi function pieces (like a coffee table that also stores stuff!). Check it out below to see some of our toy storage! The first picture you can hardly tell that the TV Bench is full of toys and diapers and kid stuff and the trunk coffee table has Duplo all in it. Below I posted some pictures of it all open. I also like that it isn’t super difficult to put any of it away so the kids can do it.
However the toys have still been more challenging to simplify. First, I am not always in control of what comes into the house, many people bring gifts or kids get toys at McDonalds, etc. Second kids love toys and get so much enjoyment out of them its hard to deny them. Finally with three kids at three different stages of play and different maturity levels and interests I feel like we need three different sets of toys! So, with all of this in mind I do a few things to try and keep it all in check
- I regularly “clean” out the toys. Meaning I go through and anything broken or missing pieces or sometimes a toy that causes a lot of fighting amongst the kids gets thrown out or donated.
- We rotate. This idea is one I have been wanting to do but just recently started and it has worked so well, we have a few different bins of toys and we put away some toys so it is not as overwhelming then after a couple of weeks or months I switch out the toys that are in the attic in Rubbermaid’s for some of the toys in the play bins. It is fun to see how excited the kids get thinking they have new toys.
- Prior to Birthdays or Christmas I do a huge clean out and either sell, donate or toss toys.
- I try to have toys for all levels but also toys that all ages might enjoy. Some examples of the toys all three kids play with are trains, play food and the kitchen, blocks, magnet tiles, books, and Mr.Potato Head. We do watch to make sure that the pieces are not too small for Eleanor but most of this stuff is great for all three and they each play differently but get enjoyment out of them.
Kids clothes and shoes is a whole other area I have struggled but in my Spring Cleaning Frenzy this past week I made good progress on this. The kids had a lot of clothes and shoes and I finally just went through and purged huge. I struggle holding onto a bunch of stuff to pass down from kid to kid. First, the season aren’t always the same size and time for each kid, then there is the fact that each kid is built differently in terms of long/ short torso, thick or thin legs, booty, etc. I mean they are after all different little people. And finally I found I was keeping a ton of stuff and forgetting or not getting around to pulling it out so we would pass by the time one of them could wear it. Plus closest space is limited and I like having current in them not a huge amount of hand me downs that will eventually fit.
CLOTHES & SHOES
I use the same guidelines when cleaning out the kids clothes as I do my own. I start by having four piles.
- Consign/ Sell
Then I just go through and often I get the kids to try on stuff (does it fit), I also try to keep in mind things they love or hate. Both my older two have opinions about what they like. Some fabrics just don’t work for Rowen and Grace is picky just because. I also like to keep in mind ease of wearing and washing. If something is too hard to get on them or if it has special washing instructions it is no good. Finally, I check for stains or holes or damages.
I recently did this with both my kids closets and my own. The kids I imagine got rid of close to 200 pieces, it was a great purge and made me realize I had been hoarding kids stuff and clothes. Then I did my own closet and it was amazing.
I got rid of old maternity undies (granny panties I had bought for in the hospital), old Hanky Panky that were past their prime (don’t let cost deter you from tossing stuff! Just because you spent a lot of money on something doesn’t mean it lasts forever. Everything has an expiration date), lots of maternity stuff like nursing bras and of course clothes that were so badly stretched from 3 years of 3 pregnancies. It did go to show that if you invest in good clothes they sure do last (some of this stuff was old!). At the end of my closet purge I had 67 pieces out of my closet.
This has taken me over a week to go through three kids clothes and toys, plus my own things and all the linens and bathroom stuff. I have finally loaded the last few bags to drop off at the thrift, listed all my Varage sale items and/or dropped off consignment! Now I am hoping to tackle the kitchen and outside storage stuff!
This little purge was started because a girlfriend asked if any of us wanted to take part in a challenge to purge 40 pieces! I got home from holidays ready to de clutter and inspired by a few friends and now there is no stopping me! LOL! I cant believe how good it feels to de clutter. I really believe having less is better for mental clarity, and helps my kids to not be so anxious or overstimulated!
I encourage you to tackle March and every single day for a month clear something out. It can be tangible or not… see how contagious this good feeling of cleansing can be! And let me know any tips or tricks you have for Spring Cleaning at your house.