Decluttering Your Life by Organizing Your Kids Toys
I can personally attest, that being a mom is h-a-r-d work… like, really hard!
But honestly, dad’s these days, don’t have it any easier. At least, not in the Monte household. Which is why I want to pause for a minute to say, “Thanks John, for your part in raising our handsome little man + helping to keep this ship a float! I appreciate all that you do.”
So why as mom’s, are we expected to persevere with grace + a smile on our face through all the puking, snotting, coughing, biting (ouch!) + down right disgusting diaper changes?
While I can’t prevent the next game of hair pulling, I can help ensure you never step on another lego + (hopefully) avoid the next meltdown when trying to load everyone into the car because for whatever reason the Curious George doll has gone rogue.
Let’s face it… The struggle is real. And on top of all this every-day-madness, it’s no wonder your patience are thin when it comes to organizing your overflowing closets, the messy playrooms + figuring out exactly how to best wrangle all of those darn stuffed animals. R-O-A-R!
The overwhelming amount of stuff many new parents receive from their supportive family + friends when they find out that you’re expecting is Down. Right. Daunting.
Take it from me, as a first time-mom… at first you think you need most of it (why else would people who care about you inundate you with all of this crap?)
But eventually you can’t help but to wonder, when it’ll stop? Or wonder if we’ll ever be able to reclaim a home that doesn’t feel dominated by kids + everything else that goes along with being a parent?
If you’re still with me + feeling guilty for thinking or even saying these things out loud, I promise you’re not alone + there’s no reason for you to feel bad.
In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that I get over-the-moon-excited discovering something’s consumable + if you’re anything like me, you feel an even bigger, sluggish, sigh of anxiety when someone buys you… i don’t know… a musical guitar?!
Still SMH in utter embarrassment that before becoming parents, we actually bought my niece this guy which she absolutely loved but from a parents perspective #EpicFail (even though it has 451 five-star reviews + an off button.)
Truth be told, there’s an art to saying NO without hurting feelings or coming off sounding unappreciative… because you can! In our case Brooklyn Carter has:
6 aunts + uncles
some pretty amazing neighbors, basically the extended fam
and ton of life long friends
And after reading the 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman (which is an absolute must read) I learned that most of people in our inner-circle express their love + adoration through gifts.
Though the problem is inevitable.
As your kids get older, the toys, clutter, clothes + all the other stuff accumulates with time. Especially when you don’t have a solution for keeping it all organized… the mess often feels larger than life.
For most moms, this is where anxiety, overwhelm, frustration + discontent set in. You begin to feel as though you’ve lost your identity in life as an individual + despite the fact that your little ones fill your heart with more joy than you could’ve imagined, the place you call home no longer does.
Similar to the steep learning curve that goes hand-in-hand with figuring out what a newborn needs after you bring them home from the hospital… Knowing what to do with all of this stuff is part of your journey!
No matter what, you deserve to have a home that matches the family you’re incredibly proud to call your own. More good news? I’ve compiled my top list of 6 things you can do to help organize all of the kid-stuff while rediscovering yourself after motherhood.
1 | PRIME YOUR ENVIRONMENT
First + foremost, everything successful in life is systematized…
And if things like getting out of the door each morning without any hassle (no matter what age your kids are) are on your to-do list, you’ll want to invest some time into learning how to prime your environment.
Practice forward thinking in terms of visualizing what you’ll need next. Imagine everything your day entails for tomorrow, what your kids day looks like + make a list of anything you’ll need.
Eventually it’ll become a habit + when you get really good at this whole priming your environment thing… you’ll be able to plan-out the entire week *gasp*
By gathering everything you need, packing your bag + loading the car ahead of time, your mornings are officially hassle free.
2 | CREATE ORGANIZING SYSTEMS YOUR KIDS CAN MAINTAIN
You want to be able to find exactly what little Johnny needs… like right now? Fuss no more sista, as finding what you need when you need it all comes down to one thing: identifying zones.
Be it action figures + hot wheels on the shelf or barbie dolls in a basket, we want our kids knowing exactly where to find what they want, when they want it.
For teenagers, after you’ve identified “where” things go, it’s all about setting clear expectations + holding them accountable in a positive way to maintaining things. Reinforcing for them the perks of not having to stress or feel unprepared.
The best part of it all? It makes cleaning + tidying up, super fast. Having a place you + your kids know where to find things allows everyone to maintain a system that is well thought out + well organized.
3 | SETUP A HOMEWORK STATION
Take a step back + think about what your kids need to be inspired, encouraged + motivated to accomplish school work. If you’re like most, you want to know what to expect + in this sense, our kids aren’t any different. Having a place that has homework supplies like pencils, paper + pens makes an event out of accomplishing their homework assignment.
Don’t have room for a homework station? Absolutely, no problem. The good news is, kids can do their homework practically anywhere.
We all use our homes differently + that’s what is so great about creating a home you never want to leave. Whether it’s a desk, the dining table, or the kitchen counter… keep it consistent + create a place for their school supplies to live when they’re all finished.
4 | BANISH paperwork PILES
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what age your kids are. There’s a-l-w-a-y-s a ton of paperwork. Whether it’s information sheets from their pediatrician, a syllabus that needs signed or paperwork for another school fundraising event; knowing how to organize important documents at home is incredibly important. So, how do we keep papers from covering your beautiful kitchen island that once upon a time, you loved so much?
Easy, if you don’t need the hard copy any longer, scanning + filing the document digitally is the best solution to never having paperwork build-up in your home.
For action items that can’t be scanned, the best solution is the easiest one for your family. Whether that’s creating a linear filing system, using a decorative wall or tray organizer that’s labeled with in + out slots or even a car organizer…. the key is identifying what works best for you + your family.
Ultimately, keeping paper clutter at bay comes down to two things:
Weekly paperwork session
The last thing we want is for it to become out of sight out of mind because it piles up fast + if we don’t make paperwork management a priority, it’s a guaranteed recipe for disaster.
5 | Purging your kids things without guilt
Let’s first debunk that getting rid of or purging your kids things doesn’t mean throwing them in the trash. Because that’s reserved for the well used items that have seen better days, are broken, have missing pieces or simply put, that can’t be passed down…right?!
Instead, charitable donations are a fantastic way for us to give our belongings new home while getting rid of any guilt you might have about purging kids toys.
Some of the most obvious are charities, such as the Salvation Army + Goodwill. These are easy defaults because they’re everywhere; but other less obvious places you could check with are your local hospitals (they often accept toys for patients to play with), doctors offices, local daycares, women’s shelters + children’s homes. When you look at that list, suddenly it’s a whole lot easier to remove the guilt of decluttering your kids toys. Am I right?
If your kiddos are struggling to let go, it often helps by explaining to them why you’re getting rid of things. Emphasize to them that there will still be plenty for them to play with but that the things you choose to donate because they don’t use them any longer are going to bring a lot of joy to other children. You could even have them take part in dropping them off.
You go momma bear… just look at the lessons you’re instilling in your kids!
Still, grandpa’s going to want to buy that Costco sized stuffed animal, (you know the one that takes up an entire 10x10 room… oh-my-gosh!) But in all seriousness, simply sharing the process of decluttering your life + physical belongings can enlighten others.
Another elegant way of addressing the influx of new toys when you’re running out of room at home is to politely say in private, “we don’t have room for that because our kids are really loving what you bought them for (insert special occasion), might there be space to keep this at your house?” An often overlooked tip to maintaining an organized home that is free of clutter is simply informing others about your effort.
6 | ORGANIZING big + small toys
Realizing not everybody has wall-to-wall built-ins in their playrooms or extremely large houses, an excellent way to save space is to remove small toys from their boxes + store them in clear zip-loc baggies. This keeps all the smaller, easy to loose (+ step on) toys together in one place.
For big toys like blocks, balls, trucks, stuffed animals, dolls + anything else that won’t fit inside a zippered bag, use large baskets that can be tucked away in a bookcase or stored on closet shelves. For things that are larger than a basket for a shelf, one really simple solution is to use tote’s.
Once you purge + organize your all of your kids belongings,
you'll feel an immediate sigh of relief
you’ll notice that you carry less stress
you’ll develop a positive self-image
you’ll not only feel but you’ll become more productive
you’ll have an easier time cleaning up + finding what you need
you’ll save loads of money
Another bonus: you’ll discover more time to pamper yourself!
You’re deserving of a home that feels like the ultimate guilty pleasure + one you never want to leave.
And getting rid of your kids extras, no longer played with, past its due date s-t-u-f-f shouldn’t make you feel guilt.
When you make it a priority to declutter your life (or your home) you’re not only finding yourself again (a.k.a. maintaining your sanity as a woman!) but you’re taking action to create habits + values that you hope to one day be instilled in your family.
So, go on + declutter your life by organizing those kid toys.