Tired of walking into your child’s room to find the entire floor covered in toys? Well, then you need to declutter mama! Better yet – you need a fun way to get your child to clean up their toys.
Today I am sharing a simple strategy to get your kiddos on board with decluttering their rooms.
How to Declutter When You Have Kids
It’s time for me to make a mom confession:
When I began to declutter our home (specifically my children’s bedrooms)
I did it without them knowing.
At the time they were very young (infant and toddler stage) and I was so exhausted and worn down that I couldn’t handle the thought of the purging process taking any longer than it needed too.
The reality was that I was an overwhelmed mom and I didn’t have the energy or positive attitude required to include my children in the process.
But ya know what?
It totally worked!
I was able to quickly declutter their rooms including the toys and clothes without having to stop to negotiate with a child begging to keep a broken toy that they never even play with anyway.
I am firm believer that as mothers we need to do whatever we can to make our lives as easy as possible.
In my case this meant getting rid of a bunch of my kid’s stuff behind their backs.
And I am still able to sleep very well at night.
I paid for the stuff and brought it all into our house in the first place, so it totally seemed ok for me to also be the one who decided when it was time for it go.
How to Get Kids to Help Declutter Their Rooms
Fast forward a few years and my kids are older.
They are part of our minimalist family and are used to having a limited number of toys compared to many of their friends and classmates.
Surprisingly, they don’t even complain.
I believe this is just because it’s what their used to – they don’t know any different.
In fact, they are so used to our “minimalist lifestyle” that they are often the ones that I hear saying things like:
- “These clothes don’t fit anymore – let’s donate them”
- “Mom, I want a new toy so I picked out one that I am ready to give away”
- “I don’t read these books anymore – can I leave them at the Free Little Library”
To be completely honest with you – THIS BLOWS MY MIND!
I never thought my kids would actually help clean up, let alone decide to purge their own toys.
However, now that we are a few years into living with less, I can look back and see the progression:
- In the beginning it was ALL me
- Then I started including them in the process and making it fun
(I will show you how to do this below….keep reading!)
- Now they are taking the lead, keeping their rooms clean and letting go of items they no longer use or need
Basically – it’s a miracle! And it makes my life SO much easier!
How can I get my child to declutter?
During the day, I work as an elementary school teacher.
And over the years I have learned one trick that will get children to do anything you ask:
MAKE IT A GAME!
This is the perfect strategy to use right before Christmas or their birthday too.
Anytime you know that new toys and clothes will be coming in, you definitely want to get them to declutter as much as possible ahead of time.
So, how do you get them on board to help you get rid of their stuff?
Seriously, I get kids excited to do math homework, write their spelling words and even clean the floor by turning everything into a game.
Kids have a natural desire to “play” and “win” and you can apply this to almost any task:
- Brushing their teeth
- Tossing in a load of laundry
- Even decluttering their own toys
The “secret” is to turn declutter and donating toys into a game.
How to make decluttering fun
So, how exactly do you turn decluttering toys and organizing their bedroom a game?
Well, B-I-N-G-O of course!
That’s right – this oldie but goodie is a hit with kids and they will love letting go of their belongings if it means “winning” the game of bingo.
I made this easy for you by creating the perfect free printable Declutter Bingo card for you.
The printable includes one version with the items that I include in my own house.
I have also included a second version that I have left blank so that you can plug in any specific items that you would like to see your child remove….
You know that toy that makes a ton of noise and drives you crazy? Put it on the bingo card in a few different places so that they can’t win without letting it go and your worries are gone!
How to Reward your Child for Winning Declutter Bingo
Ok – so here is the step where you could totally blow it mom…
But I am going to help you out, so that doesn’t happen.
When your child wins with four in a row (or blackout) – you shouldn’t reward them with a toy.
I would suggest you offer them a clutter-free or consumable reward instead:
- An ice cream cone
- An afternoon bike ride together
- Rent their favorite movie on Amazon and watch it together
The idea here is that you don’t just buy more stuff to clutter up your house.
Now, let’s say your child goes all-out and gets rid of a ton of toys. Then you might be okay with buying them one new toy to replace the dozens they just donated…I could get on board with that.
The next steps
So, all you need to do is download the printable declutter bingo card below and explain the rules of the game to your kiddos.
And Voila! Your kids will have fun decluttering their bedroom of all their extra clothes and toys.
Be sure to come back and let me know how it goes!