I think I speak for all mums when I say - you haven't known clutter until you've had kids!
The sheer amount of stuff that comes with kids is just jaw dropping.
There are the clothes that only fit for a few months and then need replacing (or are stained beyond repair on the first wear).
The plastic bits and pieces that take over your kitchen - and are always missing lids... always...
The baby 'accessories' that all the experts told you were 'essentials', but you never ended up using...
And the toys... oh my goodness... the toys...
Now admittedly I only have one kiddo, but over the last 5 years, I've gotten pretty good at controlling the kid clutter and not letting it over-run the house, so here are my top tips for containing the chaos.
Getting to grips with all those gifts:
A lot of kids clutter is well meaning and comes in the form of gifts from friends, relatives - even Santa.
And I've often found Missy to be far happier with less than more, you know. For her first Christmas, she was given a baby Belle doll (Beauty and the Beast), which she absolutely adored. The following year Santa gave her another Ariel toddler doll. She barely touched it. Ditto for the Sofia doll she was given for a birthday.
The same happened with the Barbie style princess dolls - she adored Snow White, and I thought it was a bit stingy that she only had one... so Santa gave her four more princesses for Christmas... Aaaand they just sit in the toy basket unused.
Moral of the story? Sometimes less is more and one is enough - and sometimes Santa can buy presents for the sake of it and really, the kids don't need or want it. It just ends up as clutter.
I often ask people to only buy Missy ONE present for Christmas and Birthdays too. Kids toys - books especially - can be so cheap, it's tempting to buy them three or four. But if 10 of our friends got her 4 books each, well that's 40 new books to find a home for...
SO, MY TOP TIPS ARE....
TIP 1: Don't let Santa get too carried away!
TIP 2: Limit gifts (within reason) to single presents from friends and family.
TIP 3: Sometimes less is more, and one doll is easier and better to play with and enjoy than six.
Sorting the sentimental stuff:
Most people who know me will tell you I'm incredibly unsentimental. And it's true.
That said, I do have a box full of Missy's stuff that means the world to me.
The tiny beanie she wore when she was born, wristbands, cards, photos, and lots of 'firsts' - first drawing, first time she wrote her name, first lock of hair... and the locks from the first time she cut her own hair lol!
This box is full of wonderful memories, but I realize there is just so much stuff I can't keep. If I keep all her artwork, I'll have to dedicate a room to it by the time she's 6 - especially at the rate those pastings get churned out of kinder!
So I'm picky about the sentimental stuff. It all has to fit in that one box so everything that goes in there means something else cant. And I'd prefer to fill it with memories rather than things anyway - photos and ticket stubs and art and writing rather than toys and clothes (although the aforementioned Belle will definitely get a spot).
I think the trick is to look at how much you're really likely to hang on to and want - in 20 years time are you still going to want that thing? If the answer is a huge hell yes, then keep it, if it's not, then rest assured there will be other more important things to hang on to in the future.
Speaking of sentimental stuff and presents, it's tempting to hang onto everything given as a gift because 'such and such' gave it to you. Generally it's guilt that stops you giving that stuff away.
For me, soft toys are the bane of my life. Missy rarely plays with them, and she's been given so many it's not funny. These days, I cull her unused, unwanted toys often, and I know of at least 3 that have gone on to become another child's much loved 'special' toy - and that makes the guilt trip and parting with it all worthwhile.
SO, MY TOP TIPS ARE....
TIP 4: You can't keep it all!
TIP 5: Think about how much you're realistically willing to keep - 2 boxes or 20 boxes?
TIP 6: Keep memories, not stuff - take photos of stuff and keep those instead.
TIP 7: If they don't love it, give it to someone else - and maybe that toy will find an adoring new owner.
Working out kid's wardrobes:
Far out kids have a lot of clothes don't they?
I like to hang all Missy's clothes in the wardrobe by type - so dresses together, skirts together, jumpers together etc. It makes it so easy to see at a glance what clothes she has (and how behind I am in the laundry) and it makes choosing things that match a breeze.
In the top of her wardrobe I have two big baskets - one for old clothes to give away, and another for next season stuff. This way I can quickly put stuff that she grows out of into the give away basket, and I have somewhere to stash all that end of season sale shopping!
Speaking of next season clothes, I like to lay everything out on the bed and make sure I've bought her enough of everything before the season starts - generally February and August. This way I can return any 'oh-my-goodness-what-was-I-thinking' purchases, and fill in any gaps. This year I somehow managed to buy her sixteen tops but only four pairs of pants, so trust me, it pays to do this!
When buying Missy's clothes I like to keep a bit of a color palette happening and I like to include a lot of basics and plain colors as this helps items mix and match better.Generally I'll have two or three highlight colors, and lots of basics - say blush pink and mint with navy, denim, grey and white or pale blue and raspberry with the same basic colors. But I won't go with pink, mint, peach, raspberry and lavender - nothing ends up matching.
And while I'm on the subject, I find silver/gold ballet flats, navy gumboots and white/navy plimsolls to be invaluable - they just go with everything.
It's not a set in stone thing lol - I'm not that fussy - but most of her wardrobe will follow a color scheme as I find it costs less money, saves time getting ready - and most of all - saves her having a heap of clothes she never wears as they don't go with anything. A bit of planning and foresight helps save a heap of clutter.
SO, MY TOP TIPS ARE....
TIP 8: Plan out kid's wardrobes at the start of the season, and they'll have clothes that match and get worn.
TIP 9: Have a basket for outgrown clothes to give away.
TIP 10: Have a basket to keep out of season/next season clothes.
TIP 11: Hang everything so it's easy to see and choose outfits.
TIP 12: Keep a simple color palette so everything will mix and match.
I hope you find these tips handy for banishing the clutter from your home!
All the best,
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