Whether you are raising one child or several, whether they are toddlers, teenagers or anything in between, and whether you are living in a small apartment in a large house, there is one constant every parent has to deal with: the dreaded clutter. 

Besides being really, really cute, kids are also a never-ending, perpetual source of clutter. Their bedrooms are full of a myriad of small toys, clothes, books, pieces of paper so precious that you’re forbidden from ever throwing away, rocks, leaves, and so much more. Before the madness takes your entire home over, you need to step up and reclaim your space. 

Deal with the issue early on, when it’s easy to manage. Set up house rules that everyone must follow, and you’ll not only be enjoying a clean, neat home, but you’ll also be teaching your children valuable skills they’ll be using their entire lives. 

Tackle the Clutter Head-on 

There isn’t a short-cut around it. You need to summon the courage and the patience to tackle the mess. Do it together with your child – you’ll avoid endless discussions later about toys you decided to donate and clothes you got rid of.  

Get bags for things to donate, things to recycle and things to throw away. Go through all the stuff and decide with your child which toys they really want to keep and which ones you can donate. Throw out useless papers and broken crayons and keep only the items that are in good condition. 

Do the same things with clothes and shoes. Children grow fast, so there is always a big chance that their closet contains more than a few items they outgrew. Implement the rule that children can’t get any more toys until they agree to give up on an old one. This will keep the number of toys in your home under control, will save you money, and will teach your child to appreciate all that he or she owns. 

It doesn’t matter where you’re living, whether it’s a small apartment in Los Angeles or a decent-sized home in Denver’s suburbs. There never seems to be enough storage space for all your children’s items, and you might need self-storage. Renting a self-storage unit in Los Angeles, for example, will cost you $183 per month for a 10×10 unit. However, you get to save your expensive baby items for the future, and you’ll suddenly have a lot more space at home, so it’s a good compromise. 

Toys children

Place for Everything 

One basic rule for keeping a neat home is to have a designated spot for everything. From the moment your children enter the house, they need to know where to put their shoes, coats, and school and sport bags.  

The same principle needs to be followed throughout the entire house. Toys, books, clothes, sport equipment, school papers – find a place for each category of items. Use inexpensive, easy-to-move, everyday objects to create extra storage space, if needed: baskets, crates that you can stack one on top of the other, hanging nets for stuffed animals and so on. 

Shelves mounted directly on the walls are a simple, yet effective way to help you organize your child’s bedroom. Make sure your children can reach all the shelves and storage spaces by themselves – otherwise, they won’t be able to practice what you’re preaching. 

And Everything in Its Place 

Now that you got rid of all the unnecessary bulk and created enough storage space at home, teach your kids to put their things away and turn this into a daily task. Be consistent and enforce the rules every day. Remind your children during their daily routine to clean up after themselves.  

Simple gestures like putting their shoes where they belong as soon as coming inside, or picking up their toys every evening, can be taught from an early age, and the benefits are numerous. Your children will grow up with great habits that will make their lives a lot easier as a grown up and, at the same time, you’ll spend a lot less time tidying up your own home. 


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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