How to Declutter when You Have Kids 2021


If you have kids, you're probably familiar with finding their belongings scattered throughout the house. Their toys and books can easily pile up and overwhelm your sense of order. To minimize the amount of clutter in your house, create a plan to declutter your kids' toys and your home. Set realistic goals for what you'd like to accomplish and have a plan for all of the items you want to remove from your house.


Method 1 of 3:Following a Cleaning Routine

1Do one room at a time. Toys and children's things seem to make their way into every corner of the house. To prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed, choose one room at a time to declutter. If you're up for a challenge, sort through your child's bedroom or playroom first. Or if you'd like to start small, choose a room that happens to have some of your kids' things, like your bedroom or the bathroom.

Be realistic with your goals. You're more likely to declutter the toys if you give yourself some time in between rooms for breaks and to donate the toys. This will keep them from building up in your garage or attic.

2Set goals. You might want to declutter your entire house, but that can be difficult if you have small kids running around. Think about what's most important for you to declutter and focus on making achievable goals, instead of goals that will just cause you stress and anxiety.

For example, instead of saying,"I'll declutter the entire house while the kids are home in the morning,"make a more reasonable goal like,"I'll declutter the living room in the afternoon while the kids are napping."

3Start with a small space. If kid clutter is everywhere, you may not know where to even begin. Try decluttering a small space first so that you feel a sense of accomplishment and become familiar with sorting through things. For example, sort through a small closet or bedroom before moving on to a playroom.

Decluttering a small space will also help you gain momentum with decluttering. This will give you motivation to keep going through the house.


Kathi Burns, CPO®

Board Certified Professional OrganizerKathi Burns is a board certified Professional Organizer (CPO) and Founder of Organized and Energized!, her consulting business with a mission to empower people to master their environment and personal image by assisting them in taking control, making change and organizing their lives. Kathi has over 17 years of organizing experience and her work has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens, NBC News, Good Morning America, and Entrepreneur. She has a BS in Communication from Ohio University.Kathi Burns, CPO®Board Certified Professional Organizer

Tackle your least favorite chore first on cleaning day. If you can get that one thing done, then the rest of the day will seem a lot more fun. If you do all the easy stuff first, you'll spend all day dreading that one thing you hate, and you might end up not even getting to it that day.

4Set a timer. If you have younger kids, you might struggle to find the time to declutter. Try setting a timer for 15 or 30 minutes so you can get a quick declutter session in. This is also a good idea if you're having a hard time motivating yourself to begin the task. If you have older kids and can spend longer decluttering, write deadlines into the goals you set.

For example, if your goal is to declutter the playroom and the garage, tell yourself that you'll need two hours for the playroom and three hours for the garage. Hold yourself to this deadline.

Method 2 of 3:Sorting Through Toys

1Get your kids involved. If your kids are old enough (at least around five), have them help you sort through their toys. Explain that you're only removing toys that they no longer play with and make it clear that the toys will go to other kids who will love and play with the toys. Be prepared to explain what you're doing so your kids don't get upset or think they're being punished. Getting your kids involved can actually make it easier to declutter your home.

If your kids are very young and can't help or would be upset, declutter the toys when they're asleep or out of the house. Just don't remove anything that they're emotionally attached to.

For example, tell your kids,"We're going to spend a few minutes sorting through toys you no longer play with. This way we can donate them to kids who need them and you'll have more space to play!"

2Consider what toys you want your kids to play with. Whether you're purchasing or decluttering the toys your kids have, think about what kinds of toys you want for them. Would you like them to play with educational or imaginative toys? Should the toys be well-made and of high quality? Do they already have another version of the toy?

Asking yourself these questions will help you decide what to keep and what to part with.

3Go through toys before big holidays or celebrations. Your kids probably get gifts from friends and relatives a few times a year. If these events are coming up, take the time before the event to declutter their toys. This will prevent toy buildup and may even make the kids appreciate their new toys more.

For example, if Christmas is coming up, take the time to fill a few bags of unused toys to donate. Try to follow a one-in-one out rule when it comes to toys coming into your house.

4Store and rotate the toys you keep. Once you've sorted through your kids' toys, divide them up. Place half of them in a storage space where your kids don't have access to them. Let them play with the half that you keep out. When your kids become tired or bored of playing with the toys, swap them out with the toys in storage.

This will also keep the toys from piling up while they're not being played with. Your kids are more likely to play with their toys if they have space to play.

5Sort through toys every few months. Toys can quickly accumulate so be in the habit of decluttering kids' toys on a regular basis. Ask yourself if you've seen your kids playing with a particular toy at all within the last month or two. If you haven't, it may be time to donate or sell the toy.

Being in the habit of decluttering your house will get easier once you've been doing it for a while. Once you initially declutter the toys, you'll just need to maintain what your kids have and receive as gifts.

Method 3 of 3:Reorganizing and Using Storage

1Choose what to get rid of. Things you or your kids no longer need seem to stick around longer than they should. Look at the individual items in a room and ask yourself what you don't really need anymore. These are some things you should consider getting rid of:

Items that are broken

Clothes that no longer fit you or your kids

Things you don't have space for

Toys your kids no longer play with

Things you have extras of

Items that are dangerous to have around your kids

2Decide what to do with the items you don't want. Get out three boxes or bins. Label one bin"Trash,"one bin"Store,"and one bin"Recycle/Donate."As you sort through toys and items, place them in one of the boxes. Once a box fills, take it to the thrift store, organize it and find a place for it in your home, or take it to the dumpster.

Keep the boxes somewhere handy so you can declutter whenever you need to.

You could also have bins for selling items or giving away to friends.

3Know what to keep. You may find it easy to sort through the broken or unwanted items that are cluttering up your house, but have a harder time knowing what you should keep. Ask yourself if an item has sentimental value or if it's something you'd like to pass on to your children. You should also keep items that you use frequently.

Once you've decided to keep something, you need to organize and store it wisely. You should know where it is and be able to get to it easily.

4Sort and store the kids' toys. While it may be tempting to just throw your kids' toys into a large toy box, it may be hard to find specific toys since they're all mixed together. Teach your children to store their toys by sorting them into buckets, containers, or small bins.

For example, you could have several bins on a shelving unit. Put blocks in one bin, crayons in another, and musical toys in a different bin.

5Decide what to display and what to hide. It's probably not realistic to expect that your kids' belongings and toys are always in their rooms. Instead of finding their things strewn about, create a system for organizing the things that you don't mind leaving out and for things that you want to hide.

For example, if you want to leave their books out, install shelving units or bookshelves so they can be stored in plain sight.

To hide toys, try storing them inside decorative boxes, furniture benches, or cabinet drawers.