When you have kids, your home is going to have what we like to call a “lived-in” look. And the younger your kids are (and the more kids you have), the more this statement is going to be true. A home with kids can still be a comfortable, welcoming, and cozy place for everyone to enjoy.
Organizing isn’t just good for you and your home. It’s also good for your kids! When you give children the opportunity to appreciate or make do with what they have, you teach them contentment. When you encourage them to sort through their items and choose things to give away, you encourage them to develop a spirit of sharing. When you offer fewer options for clothing and toys, you offer greater freedom to make quick decisions and move on to the things that truly matter.
From a very young age, kids can learn orderly habits and develop lifelong skills in keeping their things clean and organized. As they grow, so do their responsibilities. As parents we can guide this growth and together master the art of simplicity.
The main problem kids have with keeping their rooms clean? Too much stuff. Floors and surfaces covered with books, papers, and toys can overwhelm anyone. While we love giving our children a variety of options and have every intention of implementing the perfect organizational system, complete with rotating boxes and bins, the reality is that too much stuff sets us back every time. I promise. You aren’t a mean mom if you limit how much stuff they have to make a mess of. You’re a good mom when you teach your kids to value what they have and appreciate it as well as selflessly give things away so for others to enjoy.
- Take a critical look at the toy situation. Do your kids have so many toys within reach that they can’t possibly keep them organized? Pare belongings down to only a few things your children can play with without your help and put the rest out of reach for times when you can better supervise them.
- When my kids were younger, I put limited or even no toys or craft supplies in their bedroom. Separating out most of their toys and crafts to other spaces of the house gave the kids a sense that bedrooms were for sleeping, reading, and quiet play, not for the wild rumpus that would ensue when there were dozens of options to distract them.
- Having fewer toys and craft supplies in their room also teaches kids to value their space by making it less complicated to take care of. With a bit less stuff in the room to fuss over, they more effortlessly tidied their bookshelves, picked up their stuffed animals, and put away their clothes. With a more streamlined bedroom, they’ll likely sleep better too.
- Help kids become orderly people. Give them their own shelves to store special things they like and inspiration boards to be creative.
- Give them less to put away and less to clean up, and model the value of spending time together enjoying experiences over managing stuff. Try the same for the whole family, and see how your family dynamics change for the better.
Teaching kids the value of simplicity and being content with less when they are young will impact them in healthy ways for a lifetime.
Melissa Michaels is creator of the popular home decorating blog The Inspired Room as well as the author of several books. She and her family live in the Seattle area.