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7 Tips for living clutter-free with children

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Learn how to live with less and teach your kids how to do the same


It’s no surprise that kids need a lot of things during their younger years. But as they grow older they are masters at collecting and hoarding all types of things.

Using these 7 tips will help minimize kid clutter in your home. Allowing you to keep the essentials, maintain a tidier home, and teach kids how to be more organized.

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How to have a clutter-free home when you have kids

As a mom of 3 my kids love to keep the most random things. My two year old for example loves collecting rocks and wants to bring them in the house.

I encourage my kids to live freely. But also want them to understand the value of things and that less is more in many areas in your life.

I do this by creating gentle reminders. And setting neutral guidelines in our home to help reduce clutter as a family.

By stating those clear guidelines and creating space for learning opportunities we are able to minimize our kid’s clutter.

Which means less time spent cleaning and a more relaxed mom. Amen to that right moms?

Read on mama for my best tips on getting organized with kids.

Easy way to live clutter free when you have kids

The Swap Rule

We use the swap rule in our house. It doesn't happen with every item. But with many larger items or items that take up a lot of space. I use it to get rid of items I know the kids no longer use.

How the swap rule works:

It's actually a simple on-going decluttering method.

When our kids get a new item. We look for an older item that they no longer use, have outgrown, or have loss interest in.

Together with the kid's I will ask hey do you think you are ready to get rid of this?" or something to the effect "What do you think are we ready to give this toy to another boy or girl?"

Involving them gives them a sense of control and understanding when it is ok to let items go. They make the choice and develop a habit.

Trade the fast-food toys

If you haven't heard of this tip before then let me be the first one to tell you. Cause it is pretty awesome!

It all started when Chick-Fil-A started offering the option to swap the kid's meal toy for an ice cream cone.

I love this idea! All those useless toys that come in kids' meals end up lost in the house, the car, or my purse.

Mcdonald's and Burger King have begun to offer this as well in their U.K locations. Hopefully, soon they will be like Chick-Fil-A.

In the meantime what I do with my kids and no longer buy kids meals. That way we avoid the toys. For example, my two littles split a 10 piece nugget meal instead.

keep a minimalist wardrobe

It always boggles me the number of clothes some kids have. When a mom friend tells me they have like overstuffed closets. I am like "girl that's why you got so much laundry!"

If this is you I am gonna recommend that you reevaluate your kids' clothes. And take a huge consideration into limiting the number of clothes your kids have. Especially when they are super young and grow out of everything so fast.

For example, you can choose a number of like 40 pieces. You should be able to mix and match between those pieces to create even more outfits.

To make your life easier get more solid-colored clothing or items that mix and match well.

Also when your kids start elementary school and they want to start to pick out their clothes. Having fewer options will make the process a whole lot easier.

You will reduce the amount of laundry, increase your closet space, and mess.

Decluttering the toy box

Toys seem to be one of the biggest struggles people have with keeping them from taking over their house.

When limited in space and you want to reduce the number of toys that are in your home.

Trying narrowing down to a few bins or one large bin. If it fits it stays if it doesn't it goes.

Choosing the method of reducing toy clutter by containing. It can be beneficial for the whole family.

Children can become overwhelmed by having too many choices to play with. When you ask them to clean up another sense of feeling overwhelmed arises.

Imagine if you are overwhelmed by your papers or certain areas in your home. Little ones can easily feel the same when a room full of toys is in front of them.

Exchange Gifts/Toys for experiences

This may not be a new concept for you as a parent. But there are some people in your life that aren't living in the chaos of young kids at home.

Relatives often give children gifts as a sign of love and affection. But when your child already has tons of items this can create a huge problem.

You end up being the bad guy because you are trying to keep kid clutter to a minimum. So when you try to get rid of things kids might get upset or end up emotionally attached to the item given to them.

A simple solution is to ask for experiences. Think places like movies, shows, events, museums, the zoo, amusement parks, etc.

Your child still gets an awesome gift and the giver still gets the joy of giving. In fact, the giver might even be able to join which can make it extra special.

Limit kid books

I love kids' books! In fact, I love them so much that besides blogging here on this mom blog I sell Usborne books on the side.

You can check them out here!!!

But....even I can get carried away with books. Books are amazing and have so many benefits. But if you want to avoid having them take over your home.

Consider going through your books once a year. Are there baby books your 6 years old will no longer use? These are the kind of simple ways to be clutter-free with kid books.

You can re-sell them and buy new books for your kids. Keeping the bookshelf up to date with your child's reading needs.

Organize kid craft clutter

There is an emotional attachment when your kids make something special for you. But when you have 18 years worth of stuff it can be a huge mess.

Yup, that was me!!

My oldest is 18 and I did a huge decluttering of her crafts and art projects.

So let me save you from having to do this.

  • take pictures of items you want to throw out
  • keep items with there hands on it
  • don't keep broken crafts - again take a picture
  • don't keep scribbles unless it was like a few of their very first drawings
  • have your kids help you pick out their favorites and take pics of the rest then toss out others

Crafts are fun to display and some are worth keeping for years to come but not every paper project is a keeper.

If you are looking for some organizational tools or things to help I recommend checking out Zulily they have tons of stuff at discounted prices.

Having a more simple home with kids

It is possible to reduce the kid clutter in your home. Just following a few of the tips I mentioned. Once you have it under control you then just need to find the right way to organize.

It is important though to empower your children so they are a part of the process. Remember children mirror what they see.

So as a parent you are the guide. It all starts with you. Reduce your clutter first and then teach them along the way.

I hope you find this helpful for your minimalist journey in your home.

If you use any of these tips be sure to tag me in instagram #yourmomvillage

Looking for more decluttering ideas? These posts can help:

35 Things that are making your home look cluttered

How to decide what school papers to keep and how to create a keepsake system

Smart ideas to keep toys organized and to a minimal

Decluttering tips for moms who are feeling overwhelmed