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Mama to Mama: Clutter Free With Kids

As January draws to a close, many of us have let our resolutions fall by the wayside. But if there is one goal that it pays to keep up on throughout  the year, it’s banning the clutter that goes along with family life. From birthday party goodie bags to “can-we-please-get-this” moments-of-weakness at the thrift store, objects have a way of entering our homes despite our most valiant efforts to be  minimalists. Check out this blog from earlier this month or the real-mama tips below for inspiration and ideas on living clutter free with kids.



” In our house the bathtub is a place for relaxing and getting clean. Not a plastic-filled playpen where half-used bottles of baby shampoo go to die. We’ve tried to instil these values in baby Henry since day one by keeping his idea of the bathing ritual- and the accessories that go with it- to a minimum. Baby-mild soap, a body brush, one wooden toy and a candle (his favourite part!) are all the bath time goodies we keep on hand. This keeps our bathroom healthy and feeling clutter free. ”

— Laura, Mama of 8 month old , Vancouver BC


“I think the best way to prevent clutter is to buy less in the first place, and I try to stick to that rule both when it comes to toys for the kids and things for myself. However, our kitchen island has a tendency to become overloaded with kids’ stuff – drawings, crafts and papers from school/preschool. I ended up getting a couple of simple storage bins for the girls’ keepsakes, which they keep in their closets. Whenever I clear off the counter, they can grab what they want to keep and put it in their bins, whereas the rest goes in the recycling. ”

–Linda, Mama of two girls, 3 and 6, from Indiana


“With Christmas coming on the heels of Sofie’s fall birthday, she ends up with a lot of new stuff. I try to begin the new year with a de-cluttering mission: I clean out closets and wardrobes while Sofie purges some of her toys. If she received two new dolls as gifts, I ask that one or two old dolls be passed on. It does take several persistent reminder from me, but Sofie will gather games, books and random toys that she doesn’t use much anymore, so that the amount of stuff she owns never threatens to overwhelm her bedroom. We donate the used toys or pass them on to her younger cousins.”

— Donna, Mama of 8-year-old, Warwick, Rhode Island


“With 3 kids and limited space, we keep toy clutter at bay in the living room using decorative baskets. We’ve got three baskets, one for books and two for toys. My kids know that everything must fit in the baskets when we clean up or else it’s got to go downstairs to be put away in the basement. We rotate the toys about once a month so that everything gets played with.”
-Kim, mom of two girls, 7 and 1, and a boy, 3
I love being organized, unfortunately to me that often means horizontal piles of “stuff” cascading off my desk, onto the chair, across the floor…. like ants colonizing new territory. When I read about the old ladies with houses full of newspaper clippings and cats, I know there but for the grace of a professional organizer go I…  My favourite tip is what I call “the box method.” Here’s the gist. You say to your kid (READ: HUSBAND/SELF) “Here is a box, fill it with all the blocks (READ: TOOLS/SCARVES/MOMENTOS) you want to keep.” Everything else goes. Then, all you (or you and your husband) have to decide on is a reasonable size box for all those amazing college essays you wrote. No child, mother, or writer is able to go item by item and distinguish between the brilliance of one creation versus the other. Much easier to see what fits into the box. Then, in a year, you can revisit that box and cull again. Here are more tips from a professional organizer to keep you sane.

—Manda, aka The Green Mama to two kids ages 4 and 8

One response to “Mama to Mama: Clutter Free With Kids”

  1. Maria says:

    We try to have a place for everything, and keeping clutter out of the house. This is best accomplished with regular deep cleanings. Once it comes into the house it has to have a place or be shown the door.