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To wage war on the kids clutter

(49 Posts)
JustSomebodyThatIUsedToKnow Mon 18-Mar-19 12:36:42

I know I’m not, but please egg me on / suggest ways to tackle this.

We are literally drowning in stuff. Lovely toys, many hand-me-downs from generous friends. Less lovely toys. Numerous plastic figures. Tat that came free with magazines. Hair clips (everywhere!). Beads, plastic jewellery, so much Lego. Enough dressing up clothes to put on a Pantomine. So many kids books that we could start our own library. It’s all over the place. I’m sure that it migrates of its own accord during the night. We’ve got a decent sized house - including a playroom - but the stuff is in almost every room, including my bedroom. The kitchen table is always covered in fiddly things. Children are 10 (with some issues so not as responsible as many 10 year olds), 8 and 4.

I just can’t keep on top of it. I think I need to systematically get rid of about 3/4 of it - even the nice stuff that is sometimes played with. I’m not organised enough to do the toy rotation thing. The children will object - but I’ve just spent hours trying to tidy and have barely made an impact.

JustSomebodyThatIUsedToKnow Mon 18-Mar-19 12:38:25

Junk models. Bloody junk models.

toomuchtooold Mon 18-Mar-19 12:42:00

Oh god yeah the models. At least the drawings you can put in a pile. I saw yesterday that our kids' after school club is asking for old tights for some new craft project. Brilliant, so now I'm going to have to house someone else's holey old manky tights for 6 months until my kid forgets about it? I don't have any solutions by the way, just lots of sympathy.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Mon 18-Mar-19 12:42:26

By toy rotation thing do you mean the packing up of all the childrens toys and bringing out one or two boxes a week and rotating them? I think that works quite well why didn't it work for you?

If its simply a question of too much stuff then you're only option is to donate/throw away 3/4 of it.

1shotcappuccino Mon 18-Mar-19 12:43:07

Remove the least used stuff first. Just make a start, get it out of the house to a charity shop. Then another day do the same. It will soon improve ! 😊

ahtellthee Mon 18-Mar-19 12:48:20

You could have described my house, except my four year old is 5 and I have an additional 3 year old .

The ten year old has ASD and is attached to everything.

I tell them to tidy up otherwise I am coming in with a bin bag. Anything on the floor goes in it. Anything not tidied away, goes in it.

Doesn't help that no one tidies except me .


Bearfrills Mon 18-Mar-19 12:52:20

For junk models, sneak them out into the recycling on collection day. When they ask where did their rocket/house/boat go, tell them you/DH liked it so much that you/he took it to work to decorate the office. My DC are convinced DH's office is entirely decorated with their art work.

Di11y Mon 18-Mar-19 12:57:58

i have a small tub in most rooms for the lost pieces, so they all go in there and get reunited when I have a min or they're full. can direct the kids to them if they've lost a vital piece.

no mercy with junk models, 2 weeks max. take a pic if v precious.

I do rate rotation, I have about 50% out all the time then the rest in the garage or bedroom.drawers to be dragged out when the fighting gets too much.

Spiderbanana Mon 18-Mar-19 13:01:27

Hi OP! My 3 kids (8, 5 and 1) all share a bedroom.

About a year ago I got rid of about 75% of the kids toys. They had so much they were overwhelmed and din't know where to start playing with stuff.

I boxed them and put them in the garage in case they were really upset about it.

When they came home, they were so excited to have so much space to play.

They only have 5 different boxes of toys - Lego, dolls, shop & playfood, board games and dressing up. There were 2 things they asked about which I gave them back.

I have 1 box of pens and paper and each child has 1 box for their art stuff. when the box is full they have to sort it to make more room.

It is really quick for then to tidy up and they have found all sorts of creative ways to play with their stuff.

Get rid of it all, I promise you will feel so much lighter.

thedisorganisedmum Mon 18-Mar-19 13:02:11

1) storage. There need to be somewhere to put everything or it will never be tidy.

then start with books - they are easy, so are fancy dress.

then go room by room, sorting all the bits and putting them in their place. Bin everything broken.

If there's genuinely not enough space for everything, then yes, declutter until you have a tidy house.

It's easy to maintain when you start from a clean and tidy place. My kids don't go in the bath - and bed - until they have tidied up. They know that if things are on the floor at bedtime, it means they are not wanted and go in bin.

Once you are happy with the house, it's also very easy to rotate the toys. I take storage boxes from garage, empty it, put different toys in them, and put new toys on shelves or in box. it's a 5mn job and they play better.

My own kids don't play well in a mess. They make an awful one whilst they are playing, but if we leave it, they are not interested any more, ever.

formerbabe Mon 18-Mar-19 13:04:19

First of all throw away anything broken or with pieces missing.

JustSomebodyThatIUsedToKnow Mon 18-Mar-19 13:06:28

Thank you all. I think I'm going to try to take a bag a week to charity for a few weeks, and start the small tubs for lost pieces idea.

I might give toy rotation another go when we've a bit less stuff. It didn't work before because I'm a bit rubbish - I only ever got new things out and never really put anything away again.

Bearfrills this is genius. They hardly ever go into DH's office. I work from home so I can say that it's not fair that I get to see all of their lovely creations all of the time and DH doesn't grin.

ahtellthee - similar issues here. Eldest DC has never been able to give posessions up, so I haven't imposed this on any of the DCs (younger 2 are NT but just following his lead). And meanwhile the stuff keeps coming...

wittyusermane Mon 18-Mar-19 13:08:21

Go for it, preferably while they are at school so you don't have them wailing at you that the crappy magazine toys that you are about to bin are in fact their most precious belongings in the world that they can't possibly live without, despite not having so much as glanced at them for 6 months.

The absence of 99% of the utter tat I covertly bin goes completely unnoticed...

Bearfrills Mon 18-Mar-19 13:21:54

If they're saving up for anything the bribery goes a long way too. I've started telling my older two that one bag of clutter = £5 into their kitty.

toomuchtooold Mon 18-Mar-19 13:35:32

One thing that works for me is that I have a drawer for small toys. Every time I come across something it goes in there. Every couple of months I empty it into the plastic recycling (I pick out the bits they genuinely like).

@thedisorganisedmum my kids are exactly the same about not playing with toys that are in a mess. It never even occurred to me until I read your post, but now I think of it, I was like that as a kid as well.

Orangedaisy Mon 18-Mar-19 13:39:18

We’ve had to move upstairs for a bit and box everything up. It’s a shame how much gets lost when you have to pack everything away, isn’t it grin.

snowball28 Mon 18-Mar-19 13:41:39

Do one room at a time, I make separate piles. A for the bin pile, a donate pile and a sell pile. I’ve made absolutely £££ selling kids toys, clothes and books on eBay or Facebook marketplace etc. And I usually donate to the sure start centre or local places like nursery’s or doctors/dentist surgeries before I donate to charity shops. The rest goes to the tip, once you’ve decluttered the whole room give it a deep clean then move onto the next, This is how I do my spring and winter cleans and it works well.

outpinked Mon 18-Mar-19 13:44:03

You have to be exceptionally ruthless. If you haven’t seen them playing with it for months it means nothing to them and they won’t notice it disappear. I bagged up six bin bags full of stuff from my DC’s bedrooms for the charity shop when we moved house six months ago, they didn’t miss any of it. Had a further clear out before Christmas and they haven’t missed any of that stuff either. Kids really don’t need that much shite and they won’t notice it’s gone unless it’s something they use regularly.

Partidgeinpeartree Mon 18-Mar-19 13:47:40

Similar here- Maybe you find some of my tips helpful:

- try to limit toys to certain brands (lego, playmobil, little people) and do not branch out yourself. If we get other stuff, try to keep it boxed so you can re-gift.
- We have IKEA Expedit boxes (duplo) for larger toys and IKEA trovit for smaller (lego, playmobil). The kids know that once a week everything has to end up in the right box (as it is the day before our cleaner comes grin
- Each kid has one (small) random-items box. Box is full? Then some of it will be selected for the bin/recycling
- There is one box for free toys (magazines, macdonalds) that mama herself cleans up every few weeks.
- For hair-stuff there are four small boxes: one for clips, one for soft/hard ties, one for head bands. They have a fixed place.
- Dressing up clothes are in one big box with lid. If this is full, something has to go.
- All stuffed animals are also in boxes (I see a pattern here).

Indeed, if everything is mixed up, they won´t play with anything. In the weekends I mostly pull out one/two boxes of one type of toy (be it playmobil or lego or else) and we only play with that.

SparkyBlue Mon 18-Mar-19 13:48:01

I am doing this right now. It's gone ridiculous. My daughters room is out of control. I have just filled two black bin liners and I have had to be ruthless.

Wittow Mon 18-Mar-19 18:17:15

It's one thing decluttering the existing stuff....

You also have to STOP BUYING more stuff that you and they don't really need. I use the William Morris slogan, about having nothing in your life unless it is beautiful and or useful. Preferably both!

I give my 10 year old pocket money on a prepayment card, £10 a month and I buy her NOTHING else apart from paying for her activities, food and clothes. She is way more discerning with her own money than she ever was with mine!!! wink

TeenTimesTwo Mon 18-Mar-19 18:44:21

A shelf for junk models. When it is full they choose to get rid of stuff to make room for new.

Similarly for other things. They have a home. if the 'home' is full you get rid of things until there is room.

And if you can get away with it, sneak stuff away when they are at school. Or bag up for 3 months, if it is missed return it, if not, it goes out.

Iggly Mon 18-Mar-19 18:47:14

Every two months do a big cull. I chuck out models, art work etc regularly. Magazine tat is chucked quickly. Hair clips etc I sort regularly

We do have a lot of stuff still though. But I’m getting more brutal as I know what the dcs play with and notice.

I also have a “tat cupboard” where I can hide the mess. That’s what I cull every couple of months!

SummerHouse Mon 18-Mar-19 18:53:01

I hear you people. As an incentive we did a bag for charity = a pick at the charity shop of a book or toy. 10 steps forward 1 step back. Quite effective.

Mixedupmummy Mon 18-Mar-19 19:21:42

I think I'm the op and wrote this in my sleep grin
I've started binning stuff as I go along a bit more. so the tat toys from magazines and happy meals get binned after a few days when they've been forgotten. hair clips go the same way as soon as tatty. drawings and models etc are displayed briefly and then binned. they never remember. still have far too much but it's a start.

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