Minimalism is the new “it” trend in home decorating and organization and there’s a good reason why. The less you have, the less clutter you are able to make. Though it seems simple enough, it can be a challenge to convince your child to give up something he or she cherishes – even if they forgot it even existed until you asked them if you could get rid of it. Here are three things that have finally helped our daughter keep her room clean.
We’ve come up with a biannual tradition of purposefully dejunking Elle’s bedroom. Every summer, Elle and I go through every drawer, cupboard, and shelf and make 2 piles: donate and sell. The stuff to sell gets put in the basement for our yearly yard sale, the stuff to donate goes to our local thrift store. Now that she’s a little older, Elle is especially motivated to sell her unused items because we allow her to keep a portion of the money which she can spend on new items or special foods.
Every November we go through her room again and make the same two piles: donate and sell. Every Christmas-decluttering we talk about how fortunate she is to have so many things that she loves that have given her great memories. We talk about those children who, for many different reasons, may not be getting any toys for Christmas. Learning to appreciate what she already has and donating what she no longer uses has helped Elle practice gratitude, selflessness, and generosity.
Amazon Wish List
Our spring and winter purges are timed just before Elle’s birthday and Christmas. Seeing what she no longer uses or plays with informs Elle’s gift list, which we keep on Amazon. It’s so easy to add and delete the toys that coincide with the phases she’s currently in. Adam and I manage her wish list throughout the year, so there’s also no last minute scramble to come up with gifts that she may or may not play with.
Elle knows about her wish list and it’s a tangible reminder of what she really wants. Remembering she really wants a Pokémon card set helps the arguments about why she’s not getting whatever they have on display near the cash registers.
Timed Cleaning Sprees
Elle is in charge of keeping her room tidy – not spotless, but not like a tornado recently plowed through either. Every now and again I check out Elle’s room while she’s at school to see how things are. When loose papers, stuffed animals, or unfolded clothes are getting the better of her space, I write “Clean room – [X} minutes” on our dining room whiteboard.
As part of that day’s chores, Elle knows she has to get her timer, set it to [X] minutes, and tidy her room. Knowing from the beginning the task is finite makes the task doable. Nine times out of ten, Elle is so pleased with the progress she’s made once the timer goes off that she finishes whatever is leftover and sometimes even tidies her desk while she’s at it. If her room needs a major tidying up, I chunk up the clean-up sessions in bite-sized increments, letting Elle take a break in between sessions if she needs it.
Organized and Clean
Decluttering, keeping a running wish list, and setting up organizing sprees as needed, Elle’s room has never looked better. She loves being able to play and sleep in a tidy room and Adam and I love that we don’t have to constantly keep on her about it. These three “secrets” have created a happier home for us all.
I’d love to know: What helps your kid keep his or her room clean?