Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making All Those Gifts Fit: Tackling The After-Holiday Clutter

Christmas has passed and that means that there are stacks of new toys, clothes, appliances, etc. hanging around the house. It can look overwhelming, and I know that when my house is cluttered I am grumpy and discombobulated.

Even though it isn’t spring, it is a good time to consider a large “spring cleaning” project with your children while you have them home. It’s the best time to get their help so you don’t have to do it all on your own. If your children won’t help, you can even hold their new gifts hostage until their closets and toy chests are cleaned out and organized.

A few things that can help you organize your children’s closets and your home in general are:

-         Make sure there’s a place for each toy. If the toys have a specific home it is easier for your children to stay organized. Shoe box organizers stack neatly and are often clear so it’s easy to know what is inside. Labels are also wonderful.
-         Make sure the broken toys are disposed of. If it doesn’t work, it isn’t worth keeping.
-         Check clothing for sizes and stains. If there’s no one to pass the clothes down to once they don’t fit – it is time for a trip to the thrift store or a younger cousin’s house. And if the item is stained and your children already have play clothes – the stained items can be gotten rid of.
-         Set an example of letting go. Show your children that there’s nothing wrong or emotionally damaging about getting rid of unneeded items. Go through your closets before.
-         Look to recycle within your home – then donate.
-         “One in, one out” is a good rule to have. For every new toy that needs a home another old toy should be taken away.

Not all of these work for every home, but consider each possibility and find what works for you and your family.

Consider next year doing this before the holidays and disguising it as a service project. When your children get rid of a toy or an article of clothing they can feel good knowing someone less fortunate will be blessed because of it. This may also help motivate them to let go of the things they don’t really care about but keep just in case.

What do you do to tackle the after-holiday-clutter? How do you keep your home organized?

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By Brooke

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