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How To De-Clutter Your Children
By Lynne Mashhadi
Problems with clutter are not confined to adults. As every parent knows, coping with children's clutter can be more tiring than coping with your own!
Opening your child's bedroom door can be a daunting experience. A vision of chaos usually meets the horrified eye! Consisting of tangled clothes, heaps of toys, papers and books. Worst of all is the sight of tiny components from every game, jigsaw and construction toy they possess. These litter the floor, losing any semblance of what they are supposed to look like and the resemblance to the picture on the box is long gone, along with the box.
The thought of picking up all these tiny pieces and trying to put them into their proper containers is not a happy prospect. No wonder your child doesn't want to do it, they probably wouldn't know where to start. You don't want to do it either.
Is Bigger Better?
Large toys can be almost as bad, especially those with wheels. If you are misguided enough to allow your child to have large toys such as tricycles, plastic cars, buggys and play houses, inside the home then you are sealing your own fate! You will be bumping into them continually and cursing the day you allowed them entry into your house. Especially when carrying piles of washing or other items and not seeing these large toys at floor level, you are liable to trip over them. The wheeled ones are particularly hazardous!
It doesn't get any better as they get older. Teenagers' rooms are notoriously awful. What's more they won't let you in them as they guard their privacy zealously. The best you can hope for is a quick raid while they are out, to pick up some dirty washing and track down your missing plates and mugs. Many parents won't go anywhere near their teenagers' bedrooms as they find the sight of them too traumatic!
The Source of Evil
Where does all this clutter come from that children possess? Well, to be honest, most of it probably comes from you. Busy parents, particularly if both are working, may feel guilty and wish they could spend more time with their children and so may be tempted to buy them a few toys to assuage their guilt.
The cheapness of toys adds to the problem. Every birthday and Christmas a whole new stack of toys enters the house. Even newborn babies can have a clutter problem caused by the gifts of well meaning relatives and friends. Your baby can end up with a room full of toys and clothes before it's even born. By the time your baby is old enough to play with the toys it may have too many!
It's not just adults who suffer from children's clutter. I believe your child itself don't really enjoy having so much stuff. Their rooms are difficult for them to tidy, having enough storage to put toys and clothes away can be problematic and your child can be overwhelmed by choices and not know what to play with.
The solution is for your child to have less toys. Look at what they actually play with. Some toys get played with and some never get touched. Consider giving away the toys and games that your child never looks at. Another solution is to rotate the toys. Pack up half of your child's playthings and store them where they won't be found. After a month or two try swopping them over. Your child will want to have their particular favourites with them all the time, of course. But all the rest could be rotated in this manner. I would also advice confining very large toys, especially wheeled ones, to the garden shed.
No More Nagging
The result will be a room that is much easier to keep tidy, benefiting your child as well as you. Your child will have more space to play with the toys that are left and won't be overwhelmed by too much choice. You will feel less stressed when you see your child's room and will have to do a lot less nagging to get your child to tidy up. And no more of those comedy accidents.
About the Author:
Lynne Mashhadi runs a popular website about dealing with clutter - and she is an enthusiatic declutterer of her own home and office!
You can also follow Lynne on Twitter as @clutterexpert
You may enjoy the following articles;
How To Have A Clutter-Free 2010
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