Decluttering · parenting

Teaching Your Kids To Purge The Mess!

Yes, you read the title to this post correctly!  Children, as young as 2 or 3 years old, are more than capable of helping you to clean up and even declutter the home.  2 year olds can place their dirty clothes at the end of the day in their laundry basket, take their plastic dishes to the sink and place their toys back in their toy bin.  Every year during the Winter vacation, we like to go through and do a ‘Winter cleaning’.  Here are ways your children can help.

Activity to Eliminate Toys- It is always nice to pair an activity with a book, especially when it is an activity where you may find some resistance from your child.  There are many books out there but we always read ‘Too Many Toys’ (click here to purchase).  Don’t try to tackle everything in one day.  Instead choose one group of toys to tackle each day.  We do bath toys one day, play room the next, stuffies the next and our last day we do outdoor toys.  For each group of toys, pick a number that need to be donated.  The number will change depending on the category you are picking.  For our playroom we normally say 15-20 toys since there are a lot of smaller ones.  When we are going through our outdoor toys it is normally 1-2 toys.  We donate everything to our local thrift store or to friends who have younger children.

Childrens book, too many toys. helping kids to declutter

Sort Through Clothing- I take a similar approach with clothing as I do with their toys.  Work in small chunks.  Do one drawer at a time.  Work on shirts one day, pants the next, until you have gone through everything.  Make a donation pile, a toss pile (for clothing too ripped or stained to be reused) and a keep pile.  Make it fun by hosting a ‘fashion show’ for your kids to try on their clothes.


Clean Out The Bathroom-  Go through all of the hair ties, clips, brushes, bows and bobby pins and organize them.  Give your child small boxes or containers to place everything in.  I used my old birch box containers for them to use and it has helped to keep everything where it should be.  Any old toothbrushes you can reuse for cleaning purposes or ‘recycle’ them by using them for arts and crafts!  Read my other post about Unique Painting Tools That Kids Will Love!

Unique painting tools. Recycling old toothbrushes.

Marker Clean Out- This activity is always a hit in our house.  Take all of your markers and pens, give your child a sheet of paper and have your kids test them out.  Have two piles, ‘yes it works’ and ‘no it doesn’t’.  You will be surprised by how many markers you have that no longer work or no longer have caps.
Decluttering with kids. Testing out markers.

Recycle Broken Crayons- After your kids have gone through their markers, have them move onto their crayon boxes.  Any crayons that are too broken or worn down to use, give them new life.  Cut up the crayons and bake them in silicone molds (click here to purchase molds) at 220 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes until melted.  Let them cool completely before using.  These make the perfect gift too!

Recycle old crayons.

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