Teaching kids to declutter

the kids made these cute mobiles for “sea creatures” week at pre-schoool – don’t they look cute in the bathroom?

I think it’s very important to instill life skills in my kids so I’ve been teaching them organising skills for over 3 years now.

  • they’ve been packing away their toys since they were about 9 – 10 months
  • they pack away the dishes (really good to teach sorting and categorising skills)
  • they declutter their toys

The decluttering doesn’t always work as well as what I’d like (I have one hoarder and one extremely ruthless declutterer). For example, when I worked with them to go through all the stuffed animals, Kendra wanted to only let go of one thing (out of about 15 or so) and Connor wanted to only keep 3. Yes.

I also made the mistake of saying, “but Connor, so-and-so bought you that one” and then I realised actually, it’s not about me. So I took my photos of said “loved items” and let them go. Very difficult for me, by the way.

Anyway, back to school artwork.

The kids amass a crazy amount of artwork over just a month and to be honest, by March this year, I was already tired of taking photos of it all…. AND I take ONE photo of all 5 “treasures” for the week.

Nevertheless, I do have a great tip.

Buy a plastic container (ours are from a plastics shop and I think I paid about R70 each) with a lid for each child. When the container is full, they (not you) get to choose which they want to keep and which they want to toss.

This teaches them about boundaries, the concept that space is finite and how to make decisions.

They’ve become very good at making decisions because I take the weekly photos, send the child to their bedroom with the artwork and every 2-3 weeks I see some more treasures in the paper recycling pile.

Confession – my kids both tossed the Mothers Day cards (!!!) and I “rescued” them for my own memory box since these were my first, made by them and not done by my husband on behalf of the kids.

Connor was decluttering this weekend so I took a few iphone photos to show you.

half way through his decluttering
proper sorting going on – so proud 🙂
thinking… hmmm, do I love this?
the container
the bin afterwards… and there’s quite a bit squashed in there

I’m very happy with our system so far… but I’m wondering what I’m going to do with all those pics at the end of the year. I certainly have no desire to print them 🙂

What do you do with your kids’ artwork?

PS please remember to leave your organising or time management question here

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  1. I throw both kids’ artwork in a plastic bin down in the basement that needs a good sorting. Now that my oldest is in middle school, I don’t have so much artwork coming from him. I did take a couple drawings from both boys last year and frame them but have yet to find where I want to display the art. I also have one “hoarder” and one who is fine getting rid of just about everything. I keep hoping they’ll rub off on each other a little bit.

    • Marcia Francois says

      🙂 My two have no interest in influencing each other as far as organising is concerned.

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