“Mummy, I need your help.”
As parents, these words are a daily constant we hear from our kids. From getting their water bottle stuck in the mid-level drawer to answering their math homework activities.
But, hearing these words to the next level…
“Mummy, I need your help…
I am not happy with my room, I feel like it’s a trash island! I need help to make it tidy, please.”
I had to process it not just once but twice as I wasn’t sure if I heard her right the first time.
Then, the words slowly sank in.
It was music to my ears when my daughter initiated sorting and organizing her stuff.
And even soothing music when my son joined in doing the same exercise in tidying and organizing his room.
If you are struggling to get your little people to do their share in maintaining the calm and order of your home or at least their own spaces, please hang around as I will share with you my learned tips and tricks on how to get your kids to declorganize for good without you losing your sanity and voice.
Yes, you read it right… D-E-C-L-O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-I-N-G!
Ok, let me set this straight! You will only find this in my dictionary. It’s a playful mix of key essential words at Hometiculous.
Remember how we came up with our Hometiculous name?
But, let me explain more.
What is Declorganizing©?
Declorganizing is a contracted word for decluttering and organizing.
Declorganizing©, according to the Hometiculous dictionary, is…
- The act of decluttering first by removing all the unnecessary things in your space that don’t serve you anymore; and followed through by
- The act of organizing all the items that make you feel at home (a.k.a. spark joy) by systematically arranging them to where they functionally belong.
Hope you got the essence of it.
Ok, are you ready for the tips?
My Top 10 Tricks to Declorganize© with Kids:
- Make it simple
- Learn with them
- Get them involved
- Resist the urge
- Rotate their toys
- Schedule their tasks
- Reward good behavior
- Start early
- Be consistent but kind
- Let them be kids
1. Make it simple
It’s tempting to organize any space according to our tastes and preferences. Do you know that organizing style with multiple little tubs beautifully labeled in different colors and sizes? Yeah, I can imagine the pretty visuals.
But, before you hop to your favorite shops, please think twice or even thrice.
What I’ve learned over the years working with the homeys in training (little homemakers in training) is to…
Make things simple for kids to follow and repeat the routine.
A classic example is organizing lego blocks of different shapes and sizes which I’ve seen from different kids’ room organizations (like the Home Edit style) where they are sorted according to types, colors, and sizes.
I love the idea of sorting them by type, color, or size because it is quite pleasing to the eyes. BUT, in reality, that may not (always) be practical for our little homemakers in training.
If you want your kids to learn the tidying habit themselves without you doing or completing the tasks, make use of simple storage solutions that will make more sense for them to take charge.
Label the containers if your kids can read or visual labels for younger ones who can’t read yet.
2. Learn with them
Like any solution, the first one you creatively thought of may not be the best one for your little armies. Test what suits their pesky moods in terms of putting things in order and keeping it that way.
If you have multiple little armies to deal with, you may consider it’s not one size fits all so learn what works for each one of them.
Continuously edit the system and see what best suits them in every stage and season of their lives.
3. Get them involved
When my daughter asked for help, I know she was ready.
In the earliest days of my parenting journey, as expected, I did all the cleaning and putting away stuff as they were still young.
Now that they are older, I mindfully involved them in decluttering and organizing their spaces. Giving them the opportunity to decide “what sparks joy” in decluttering their toys and other possessions, allows them to be in control of what stays and leaves in their own space.
I allow them to do their room cleaning and tidying. I just scheduled a general check or a once or twice spring cleaning spree to guide them on how to store their belongings and see if they can still function with the way they put things in their way of order.
You will be surprised to get to know them better on how they make decisions on what to keep, toss, and donate.
You may need to convince them to let go of things that don’t serve them anymore especially when they have outgrown them.
Alongside decluttering, make sure to give them a specific space in their rooms that will showcase their favorite masterpieces (like artworks, letters, etc.) and favorite books or toys. This will give them a sense of pride, accomplishment, and comfort. A great trade-off of what’s being detached from their spaces.
4. Resist the urge
Let us face it.
It’s quicker and easier to rely on our bodies to keep our homes clean and tidy than relying on other human beings, especially younger human beings!
I get you, the urge to re-do the work is very high.
But, please do me a favor, if it is not critical to everyone’s safety (or you don’t have visitors that day?) …
Resist redoing the work as much as you can.
If you keep redoing the work that has been done, you are not doing yourself and your kids a favor.
Aside from duplicating the efforts and times to perform the same task, you are unknowingly showing your household that you don’t trust them.
Why would they even bother?!
Making bed by mummy
Repeatedly doing so would give them a signal that you don’t appreciate their help and there’s no point in them performing the task again.
Over time, you will feel resentful because no one will bother helping you.
Think again and resist that urge.
Just a friendly tip to reserve those urged energies on your scheduled general cleaning spree.
5. Rotate their toys
If you are drowned by a gazillion of toys in every nook and corner of your home and yet nothing seems to excite your kids to play…why not try toy rotation.
Toy rotation is a simple yet powerful toy management solution that provides an opportunity for every toy to be displayed and played with by your kids.
Alternating access to their toys will limit potential clutter and will give them a sense of excitement.
Pick the frequency that makes sense for you and your kids. This could be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. Then, make sure to have a simple system that will allow you to have a swift swap with the schedule you choose.
Containing the toys in bins is an easy way to do the swap. But, remember not to overcomplicate or hide toys that you (yourself) will forget where you placed them away.
Out of sight, out of mind.
6. Schedule their tasks
For your kids to build a habit of cleaning and tidying their spaces, scheduling these tasks is your ultimate hack.
Let’s face it, we all are busy human beings. Even our little ones are very much preoccupied with their worlds. Having a specific time of the day or the week will help us focus on reminding them and them doing just these tasks.
Kids have short attention spans and will require visual cues for their frequent to-do tasks.
Make a visual reminder…
Like a command center or just a board situated on their bedroom walls with their key responsibilities on each day.
With this scheduled routine, they will slowly build the habit without your prompts.
I also scheduled a general spring cleaning of their rooms once or twice a year to get rid of the clothes and toys they have outgrown.
7. Reward the good behavior
Let me reiterate this from my other blog post about the reward system.
Larry Winget said,
Reward the behavior you want to be repeated.
Our kids also crave assurance and validation. If they know that you approve of those cleaning and tidying-up actions, regardless of how it looks, I will assure you, you will see those actions again!
8. Start early
Do yourself a favor.
Invest as early as possible.
We’ve heard this so many times from top economic and financial gurus out there.
But you know what, this also applies to teaching our kids young about their shared responsibilities at home.
Tidying can be taught as early as 2-3 years old. At the earliest age when they can pick up and recognize things on their own and put them away in their designated places.
They may not appreciate it at the early stage of learning but in due course, they will thank you for it, especially when they have to move out and manage their own spaces away from home.
I’ll be honest with you, it’s not going to be easy as it takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to instill the habits in our kids, but it’s going to be worth it!
So to achieve that, the next trick is going to be crucial.
9. Be consistent but kind
Let me say this again, it’s not going to be a walk in the park every day.
There are days I feel like I just had enough of my broken record chants.
Yes, I am getting annoyed too at myself for reminding them again and again.
But, I just have to keep reminding myself too of the very reason why I am doing it in the first place – it is not for me, but more importantly it’s for them.
To prepare them for the bigger things in life.
They will not like it at times as they will resist as much as they can.
Be consistent and don’t forget to take a deep breath and be kind not just to your kids but to yourself.
Besides, the final truth of the matter is my final tip.
10. Let them be kids
I always tell this to my kids.
It’s OK to mess up. But, please make sure to unmess after.
Maintaining a clean and tidy space isn’t a breeze when you have kids who will make sure your next task is just a minute away.
We can’t also expect them to have the same outlook, approach, and standard as ours.
When things are not working the way you envisioned them, remind yourself this:
They are still kids.
Our priorities are not the same as theirs. Remember, we were once young like them and I bet our parents will have a fair share of stories about us in how we cluttered and treated our spaces back in the days when the only thing we worried about was playing.
Let them be kids.
Growing the family over the years, I have come to accept that I won’t be able to keep my house immaculate 100% of the time. This is contrary to what people thought about our home.
I have certainly gone past the idealistic stage of my homemaking journey, but ensuring our home is happy and tidy enough.
Ultimately, organizing and training my household to do the same to the best of their abilities brought harmony and order to our home. The system allows us to put everything in tip-top shape (even how messy the mess was) in no time.
Going back to that day my daughter asked for help to save her from her drowning clutter is a clear message that decluttering and organizing (a.k.a. declorganizing©) can change a life of a 7-year-old kid.
Have fun organizing with your little homeys!
Tell me which is your favorite trick?
Please let me know in the comment section below if you have other tips that worked for you and your little homemakers in training.
2 thoughts on “How To Declorganize© With Kids For Good”
These tips are spot on! They’re practical, realistic and actionable. Positive reinforcement is so important to the development of good habits. Toy rotation was a game changer that I’ve gotten away from recently, but need to reimplement! And the hardest thing for me – resisting the urge to redo things. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, but I found that redoing things diminished the effort and sense of accomplishment for my girls. At the end of the day, their happiness and personal growth is more important than the way a towel is folded. Great article, and thank you for sharing!
Hi Heather, I hope you are keeping safe and doing well. Wow, I appreciate your time dropping by our cyber home “Hometiculous”. Thank you for your kind words! It really means a LOT to me!
Same here Heather, it took me some time to resist that urge to redo my household work. Haha, it was a good lesson learned from my side hence I have this as one of the effective tips in teaching
kids to take their part in decluttering and organizing at home and beyond.