Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taming Kid Clutter: Works for Me Wednesday

Okay, I DO have some kid clutter issues! Homeschooling makes kid clutter really difficult, too. Right now piles of papers I need to grade are the clutter problem I am facing. But, I wanted to share THREE really great ways that we help keep the kid clutter at least at a minimum around our house.

1. You're gonna like this one -SCRAPBOOK IT. I know, it is a sacrifice I make for the good of the family. It actually keeps my house cleaner and de-cluttered. Maybe today I will scrapbook INSTEAD of doing the dishes.

Seriously, the kids know I scrapbook and they have gotten used to the idea that we can take a picture of the art work, other creation, fort, chalk drawing, stick creation, school project, sculpture, or other mess they have created. They know that they will have the picture to forever remember it. Now, after the picture, we THROW IT AWAY. They wouldn't go for this if they didn't actually see pictures in the scrapbook from the past. We write or they dictate the story of their creation for the scrapbook and we have it forever.

2. Garage Sale It. I know, you are thinking "duh." But, really involve kids in the sale, make it a yearly event, and remind them all year to set things aside for it. AND - give them the money for their items! My kids are just reaching that money-saving-grubbing stage and man they are excited to turn their old junk into cash! All this reinforces the beauty and SKILL of going through and getting rid of stuff. It is a skill that needs to be taught - and a habit that they need to learn now. They need to see the benefits of organization that come from de-cluttering.

3. Clean Sweep It. Have you seen this show? The one where they set out tarps labeled keep it, sell it, and throw it away? This is a fun rainy day clean your room activity that kids actually enjoy. We declared a Clean Sweep Day and I taped an episode of the show and let my girls watch it first so they could see how it works. The strategies used on the show really worked on my pack-rat kid. It was easy for her to get rid of things when we lined up 7 and said, choose 3 to keep. We are about due for this process in the girl's room. I'll have to take some pictures later to share the success. With my girls sharing a room this type of major overhauling is necessary to regularly keep things in order. For the process to work the room has to be completely emptied. This really helps us find the hidden or forgotten stashes of trash or treasured belongings which are such a problem in kid's rooms.

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