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7 Responses to Seven Tips for Decluttering with Your Clutterbug

  1. Life Breath Present  

    What a great post of ideas on de-cluttering. I think I might need to keep some of these in mind for Hun. Baby Boy does good (for now) to help in cleaning up his few toys around the house….and those blocks he received fro Christmas 🙂

  2. Dionna  

    Great list! My main complaint about my kids’ toys is that they are all so . . . full of little parts. The legos, duplos, train tracks, hot wheels tracks, blocks, little people, play food, little ponies, etc. etc. etc. We have bins/boxes for everything, and we generally keep everything clean. Heck, they even play with most everything. But it’s so many small things all the time!!

    Big sets like those also make it hard to part with anything. Is that me? Or am I projecting that on the kids? How do you get rid of a few trains or train tracks, or alternatively, get rid of the whole darn box? I actually tried to do that the other day, because of all of our sets of toys, the trains see the least amount of play. But after the kids had agreed to at least put them out in the garage (in case we ever have a #3), all of a sudden they both wanted to PLAY with the trains. So there they sit in the toy room. Until the next time I get a hair to put them up.

  3. Holly S

    Honestly, these are great ideas for EVERYONE. Clutter is a constant problem around my place, and I love a lot of these ideas. And maybe if I can implement them for myself and my husband, it will trickle down to my toddler? It’s worth a shot! 🙂

  4. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

    This is such a big problem for us! Our son is 10 and just loves to have STUFF–the collection of burned-out lightbulbs does not sound at all bizarre. We let it get out of control for too long, so that the living and dining rooms were overrun with his stuff; now it’s mostly just his room, but we have to be constantly vigilant over the downstairs!

    I think your advice is great, but for the hardcore clutterbug it does seem to be necessary to take things away from time to time. When my son was 4, he wanted to save every interesting scrap of craft materials from preschool, IN HIS SHOES. He never complained about walking on the stuff, but obviously there is a limit on what can fit into shoes, and he wasn’t willing to accept that or to part with anything. So I began emptying his shoes into the trash every night after he was asleep. He never seemed to notice! It was like he needed to “save” the stuff but didn’t actually have a plan for it. I was concerned about his mental health, but the phase passed after a few months.

    More recently, we told him that because he was not using the table in the living room to do crafts as intended, but was piling randomness on it two feet deep and doing crafts on the floor, we cannot have a craft table anymore; we needed to use that table for eating with our holiday guests, and then we would fold it up. We set a deadline for clearing the table and putting away all the things. He did quite a bit of it but then said he was done. We stated clearly that we would deal with the remaining stuff as we saw fit and NOT keep all of it. He agreed and went to bed. One of the things I found when I finished clearing the table was a toy laptop computer he received as a gift when he turned 3, so that’s 7 years during which we told him probably 70 times to put that away, stop leaving it on the floor, etc. He’s had ample opportunity to use it responsibly and never did (and it makes annoying noises!!!) so I finally took it to Goodwill. So far he hasn’t noticed, but when he someday does, we will explain that he chose to give up control of that pile of stuff, and he had plenty of opportunities to take care of his laptop that he chose to ignore. Sometimes, consequences catch up with you.

  5. Lauren Wayne  

    See, this is the post I needed today! We have a hoarder-in-training here, so it’s a challenge.

    My seven-year-old LOVES stuff. We have honest-to-goodness hoarders in our family, and when we visit their house, his reaction is “This is AWESOME!” His favorite SpongeBob episode is the one where SpongeBob saves every piece of trash until his entire house is filled, and our son wishes we could do the same. Way to be aspirational!

    We do some decluttering with him and some behind his back. For instance, he wants to save every piece of junk mail that I want to recycle. I let him have it until he puts it down and forgets it, and then it continues on its way to the bin. I like the idea of saying, “You have so much space, and then it’s full, and you have to do something about it.” I worry, though, that he’ll choose overflow. We’ll have to give it another go. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  6. Stephanie  

    Great points! I am super duper organized, and even a little OCD if I am being really honest, and my 5 year old is the exactly the same as me. She can not stand messes. I remember when she was like 18 months old, she would go over and fix the door mat if it was crooked! My point being, this is an easy part of life/parenting for me, so it’s hard for me sometimes to articulate exactly what it is I do naturally without thinking about it when other mamas ask how I stay so organized. This is will be helpful reference for me to share, thanks!

  7. Marcy Axness  

    These are wonderful practical ideas! I think this is one of those (many) times when you have to know your particular child. My daughter (now 23) always *really* appreciated it when I would spend an entire school-day (i.e., with her away at school) razing a layer or two from her room and beautifying it in the process.

    With stuff that was “iffy” (as in, she might miss and want it back) I kept it in an interim staging area in the garage for a few months before tossing it. I don’t think she ever missed a thing! I would do this once or twice a year for her, and she was always SO grateful and delighted. And relieved! And of course in between she would clean & organize her room herself.

    I think it made a strong impression on her, and to this day she remembers it very fondly. I also believe it helped shape her adult anti-clutter aesthetic.