Kids = Clutter. With children underfoot, clutter is impossible to avoid. But there are ways to manage their small and big messes - and even do it creatively.
1. Make sorting a family habit. Don’t just tell the kids to put their stuff away; show them. In your entryway, provide one basket or bin per family member to serve as a catchall for things brought into the house and things to remember to bring on the way out. Encourage this habit of depositing things by placing containers in the most clutter-prone areas of your home. Don’t forget to install height-appropriate bins!
2. Establish play zones. Are toys all over the house? Take your cue from Regina Lim who has marked official play areas for her daughters Jamie and Jillian. The two play zones in the Lim home are also dedicated to specific types of toys. Regina explains, “The toys that tend to be messier because they have more parts/components to them - puzzles, matchbox cars, plastic fruits, peg boards, cooking sets - are in our game room because that area is contained. If there are small pieces to a toy set, it’s easier to find them when misplaced.”
3. Rotate the play list. Regina Lim, who is also a former preschool teacher, makes it a point to rotate her daughters’ toys to get more positive and creative results from playtime. “Often, when there are too many toys for kids to choose from, they get overwhelmed,” says Regina, “so we limit the toys that are out for them to play with. By rotating, toys seem new again to them.” Less physical clutter also translates to less mental clutter, so when her girls are playing with plastic building blocks, they are engaged in the activity and not distracted by other surrounding toys.