Kids and Organizing

Have you been taught by your parents to hang on to every little thing because you may need it someday? If you have begun accumulating more and more and more to the point of chaos, and now have children learning that this kind of living is normal, you may be thinking it’s time for a change.

If you’ve inherited what could be described as “hoarding tendencies” and are ready to teach your kids how to be organized, you may be wondering how to begin. First, let me say congratulations on this bold decision! You’re drawing “a line in the sand” that will positively effect your future generations. You’re deciding to become free from clutter and chaos and are ready to teach your kids how to organize. But how?

Establish new habits and routines. Teach by example.

Give yourself permission to let things go. Get a box or bag and begin gathering items that are no longer useful to you. Your kids will learn that it’s okay for them to do the same. Start small in the area of greatest need. Clear a surface. Try to keep it clear. Reward yourself.

Get help. Making decisions is hard. You’ve had your stuff for awhile and you’ve formed an emotional attachment to some of it. The person you choose to bring in to help shouldn’t have any attachment to your stuff and should be able to objectively assist in the decision-making process. If your friend, spouse or neighbor in not a good fit for this job, hire a professional.

Quick steps to get you moving in the right direction:

1. Gather all items together according to kind (i.e.: paper, shoes, clothes, trucks, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.)

2. Make decisions. Beginning with one category at a time, sort all items in that category.

3. Clearly define a space for each category of the items you decide to keep.

4. Establish new habits. To maintain the progress you’ve made it is important for you to teach your children to return items where they belong. Create regular “tidy-up” sessions.

If you wish your children were more organized and kept their room clean, they may have too many clothes, toys, shoes, accessories, books and miscellaneous items. Help alleviate overwhelm and overstimulation by reducing the volume of items in their rooms and playrooms. Find a local charity to donate the surplus.

Tips to reduce clutter:

  1. Place a box labeled “donate” box in a common area of your home.
  2. Schedule monthly charity donation pick-up service.
  3. Recycle unwanted mail before bringing it into the house.
  4. Follow the “one-in-one-out” rule when acquiring new items.
  5. Say “no” to freebies.
  6. Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale.

I sincerely desire to encourage and support you on your organizing journey as you teach and train your children these valuable life skills. Want to talk more about this subject? Have specific challenges? Please reach out!

Amanda Bernal, Professional Organizer