George's Bedroom Age 3Traditional Kids, London
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Why can’t I let go?Throwing items away or moving them to new homes can be painful, particularly if they’re associated with a sad time. Kate Abbotson helps her clients through the process by identifying why they feel the way they do. She aims to explore the logic of these emotions and the benefits of living a clutter-free life. “Some people simply need permission from an objective party,” she explains. “Others need creative ideas on how to display a few mementos so that they can discard the rest. Many need advice on recycling and selling or for me to donate to the right place.” Hannah Young of Revive Your Space encourages all her clients to create a memory box of special items. “Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of everything, it’s about empowering people to make decisions about all the things they have ended up with,” she says.
I will think of the children as I organise their toysToys can take on a life of their own and become very messy very quickly. It’s hard to keep them organised and even harder to get the kids to do the tidying up.The key is to declutter frequently and not over-organise any item your little ones own. Keep toys loosely categorised and always think about how a child would look for an item and what systems would make it fun and easy for them to tidy up. Sorting out toys has to be about how the children will organise them, not how you would – this is the way to make it easier for them to clear the space at the end of the day.Maximise established routines to help bring about a daily clear-up. For example, encourage children to tidy up just before dinner, or just before bath time. They are already used to these activities, and by adding in a quick toy-tidy interlude, it will become a habit incorporated into an already established routine. Finally, use birthdays and Christmas as specific times of the year to do a big declutter. New toys are on the way in, so what can head out?
Turn the bedroom a playroom, tooChildren often play in the living room and kitchen, so we tend to keep toys in those areas. If you have the space, though, keeping a child’s toys in their room is a practical option. Firstly, it avoids the entire house being strewn with brightly coloured plastic. Secondly, children can play with whatever they like and leave things out mid-play until the next day without affecting anyone else. Every night when your child sleeps, you could put a particular toy out on the floor or table. This way, games that have been forgotten about get played with again. You could also leave out some fresh paper for colouring.
Get your kids on sideAlways treading on toys or clearing up after your children? Provide storage they can reach easily and define a play area with a vibrant rug, then get everyone to participate in a five-minute ‘tidy-up time’ before meals. Toys don’t have to be hidden away completely – cubbyholes containing colourful boxes are great for storing things, and adding photo labels will make it easy for children to find what they’re looking for.Try to make it as easy to put things away as to get them out for maximum chance of success!See how to create a child-friendly space with plenty of grown-up style