A school holiday spent at home is the perfect time to declutter with kids and re-organise their spaces to adapt to their evolving needs. Investing a little time a day during the holiday is sure to make the school year much smoother for all of you.
Here are categories of kids’ stuff you can declutter with kids:
- Sport gear
- Arts and crafts
- Board games and card games
Walk your way through all the relevant categories. Depending on your child’s age and her attention span (as well as yours) and how much she has accumulated, you may want to break down the above categories into sub-categories. For example, clothes can be broken down into school uniforms, sleepwear, underwear, exercise wear, swimming attire, etc. Accessories into hair clips and bands, jewelry, sunglasses, caps, belts, etc. The idea is to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to be able to continue until all categories have been tackled.
Throw, or recycle if this is an option, stuff that is damaged or missing critical parts and that you won’t get to fixing. Stuff that they have outgrown because they are too small, not age-appropriate, no longer interested in, or that they have too many of but that are still in good condition can be given away to family and friends, donated to a charity or sold. Or kept aside waiting to be passed down to a younger sibling. Schools sometimes organise a collection drive of used uniforms and schoolbooks.
If the decluttering has left you re-energised or you want to get ahead in view of the new school year, here are a few areas that you could also consider re-organising with your child.
Create a calming bedroom. As your child grows and acquires more independence, the role of her bedroom will also evolve. Make sure her bedroom set-up reflects the activities she performs in there and remove the unnecessary. If she likes to read in her bedroom, have a reading corner with some bookshelves. If her toys are getting her too distracted to sleep at night, move the toys to a different part of the home. If she needs a quiet space to study, install a desk and some bookshelves. Etc.
Create an inviting play area. Make sure every category of toys has a dedicated home, so your child knows where to find the toys she wants to play with and where to put them away when she’s done. Make use of containers, baskets, boxes, bags, etc. to keep categories together. It doesn’t matter what you use, only that they are sturdy, big enough to hold everything in that category without resorting to the shove, and easy for the child to identify. You can recycle food containers, shoe boxes, gift boxes, etc. Or invest in brand-new baskets, boxes, clear and colourful bins, with lids so you can stack them and optimise storage space, or without a lid so your child has easier access to its contents, with/out wheels, etc. For more on toys organisation, check out this blog.
Create a conducive study area where your child can focus on her studies. Make sure it’s equipped with the necessary supplies such as pens, paper, measurement tools, calculator, etc. easily reachable from her chair without having to get up. It should also have a good light and a comfortable yet well-structured chair suitable for your child’s age. You may want to invest in trays or magazine holders to file completed work, tests, and ongoing projects. Here’s a process to deal with schoolwork for you to consider setting up for the next school year if you have a primary school student in your home.
Set up a “launching pad”, a designated space where your child will be able to gather all she needs for the day ahead including schoolbag, schoolwork, lunch box, PE clothes, cap, musical instrument, things for after-school activities, etc. That will prevent you from going frantically around your home in the morning to gather what’s needed! Ideally, the launching pad should be placed by the main door.
So where do you feel like starting today? Offering a little reward to your child – in the form of an ice cream, a little time in front of a cartoon, or in the pool– for when the task is completed will get and keep her motivated. Also using a Pomodoro clock showing the passing of time will help keep her focused on the task at hand.
Now if you feel your child doesn’t want to cooperate with you, consider bringing in a professional. I’ve worked with children as young as 7 years old on a variety of projects ranging from decluttering and organising their clothes and schoolwork as well as establishing weekly schedules and revision plans. After all, it’s never too early to learn organising skills that will last for a lifetime.