Decluttering can often end up in the too-hard basket as parents. Our time feels non-existent, getting the kids’ agreement to let anything go seems impossible, and then there’s our own sentimentality to contend with. Decluttering doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming – let’s look at some simple tips you can try in your home to kick-start your Spring-cleaning mission, brought to you by Beks Holmes, professional organiser at The Ship Shape Shoppe.
Get the kids involved
It’s important that children see the circular nature of our belongings. Heaps of kids see the stuff enter the home, but never see it leave. This can compound any nature inclination they may have to hold onto things beyond their usefulness. Work one-on-one with your child, keep it light-hearted and BRIEF, working for no longer than 15 minutes each session. It’s important to note here that you need to honour your children’s decisions when they decide to let something go. Asking “are you sure?” and second-guessing their decisions will lower their confidence and you might find it harder to get them on board next time. If they choose to declutter something that you think should be kept, quietly retrieve it from the discard box after you’ve finished together and put it somewhere safe and out of sight.
The ”just choose one” strategy
Often knowing where to start can feel overwhelming, especially when we don’t have much time AND the kids are vying for our attention. This strategy works whether you are decluttering on your own or with the children – simply choose one area to focus on, and then finish up for the day. You can “just choose one” in every room in your home; just choose one drawer in the wardrobe, or one cupboard in the kitchen, one box in the spare room, one container in the bathroom, and so on.
Successful decluttering isn’t a “big bang”, one-and-done affair. The most successful declutterers are those who do it regularly, chipping away at the task and consciously releasing the things they no longer have need for in their homes. For families, regular decluttering to stay on top of the volume of stuff is essential. Think of it as something to work on for a few minutes every week, rather than needing to dedicate a whole weekend when the job feels too big and overwhelming.
Move things along quickly
One final word of advice – once you or your children have made the decision to declutter something, get it out of your home as quickly as possible. Don’t let it languish in a box or bag in the garage or by the front door as this can lead to “recluttering”. This is when someone finds the unwanted things and brings them back into the home … that’s the last thing you want!
| Written by Rebekah Holmes
Rebekah is a Professional Organiser and Efficiency Expert in Auckland. She's a mum. She's a wife. She's an entrepreneur. And she loves organising the areas you hate! You can find Rebekah at The Ship Shape Shoppe - where she creates realistic solutions to everyday clutter and helps women feel less stress at home.