Yes, it can be done. Having kids around makes cleaning and decluttering a bit more of a challenge than a chore. With a toddler, I know that there a lot of factors involved in getting things done while she is awake and at home.
This is a post for those of you who want to involve your kids in decluttering, or if you think you can’t declutter because of the kids. I’m sharing my best tips and tricks to get you started.
Why Even Bother Decluttering?
I find clutter very overwhelming. Studies show that clutter can actually lead to depression. And, according to Empire Pest Control, household health problems can be pretty serious because pests are attracted to clutter around the home.
The last thing I need is a toddler and a health and safety situation because her enormous, sticky-fingered toy pile has all kinds of “wildlife” living in or on it. Clutter has a negative effect on my mood, and I don’t like the feeling of my home when I feel like I’m surrounded by ‘stuff’.
I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination. I use every surface, and most things aren’t put away in any sort of order. But having less clutter around means it’s easier to clean up the house and keeps my other half’s hoarding tendencies to a minimum.
It also saves me a lot of time in the long term as well. Finding a pair of 3-year-olds socks in a pile of clothes the size of Everest is not the most effective use of my time. I know where everything is and can find it quickly.
It’s completely understandable to feel that decluttering is impossible with the kids around. Throwing out a toy that has seen better days with my daughter around often turns into a practice in torture, usually ending in a trip to the shops to replace said toy (even though she ends up keeping the broken one anyway). Plus kids constantly want your undivided attention. You end up feeling utterly exhausted before you’ve even started!
But it really is worth the effort.
Every minute spent decluttering is worth it. You’ll feel better, and be able to find stuff more quickly.
Tips For Decluttering With Babies
Nap time is the golden hour to get things done for mums. Remember though, that when they’re resting, you need some rest too. Focus on the smaller decluttering projects at this time, when a little one is happy in their swing, baby carrier or jumper.
Decluttering a few drawers or cabinets is a good place to start. Trying to tackle an entire room in one day will be daunting, and it will be inevitable that you’ll be interrupted mid-project and lose all motivation.
Tips For Decluttering With Toddlers
A chapter I am very well versed in! I often use my daughter’s nap time, or early bedtime to get some decluttering done. If you want to tackle some of it while they’re up, occupy them! Something that holds their attention will help you massively but work in 15-minute increments to avoid the tantrums.
I actually play a game with my daughter where we work together to tidy up. Before dinner, I put on one of her favorite Disney songs, and we have a race to see who can tidy up more toys. This really helps us keep the house clutter-free, and has gotten her into the habit of putting things away when she’s done with them.
Tips For Decluttering With Older Kids
Getting your kids involved in decluttering is not only helpful for you but good for them too. If you can get them involved, they’ll be less likely to dump all of their Lego’s out in one go because they will inevitably have to clean it up.
If you truly can’t get the decluttering done with the kids around, there are still options for you. Because that’s what grandparents are for, right? Send the kids off for a day and get what you want to get done, and when they return you will be feeling much better about your clutter-free home.
Every single day I do a quick declutter, just for 5 minutes. Getting into this routine helps maintain a clutter-free home. Cleaning up the surfaces, picking up toys and going through the post- it all adds up to a clean and clutter-free home.