The first step to achieving minimalism with kids in the home is to have that one big clear out. You can find our tips for How to declutter your house in one day.
Afterwards you feel a real sense of achievement as you bask in your tidy and orderly house.
Every room looks beautiful. Every drawer and cupboard is neat and organised. You’re tempted to pop a few photographs on Instagram to show off your tidying success. #cleanqueen.
But more importantly the energy in the home and the way you live in your home changes.
Suddenly you can find everything when rushing to get the kids ready on school mornings. You look around the house and you aren’t seeing old amazon boxes or piles of clothes everywhere you look.
Minimalist living is possible
It’s important to put a few simple plans in place to keep up this new found order. Otherwise you may find that the clutter finds a way to creep its way back in!
We’ve put together 11 easy ways to achieve minimalism with kids in the home and to keep on top of the clutter once and for all.
Start a new rule: ‘If you take it out, you put it away’
Montessori classrooms manage to get even the youngest of children to adhere to this rule. So when a child takes out toys, after they’ve finished playing with them, they are asked to put them back where they came from.
To start with you can ask them (or help them) to do this and then allow them to do it more independently day by day. If you teach it from an early age, kids can learn to stick to it. Soon it can become second nature.
The key is to make sure that they do it every time. So every time they take something out, they have to put it away again.
It’s also important to have their toys placed on shelves at a low level, or in an otherwise accessible place, as much as possible. This makes it easier for little children to put their things away on their own, as they can’t reach high shelves or may struggle to open cabinet doors.
By making more areas accessible to them, they will be able to put things away more independently.
And the same rule can be applied for us parents too! Whenever you take out and use an item, get used to putting it back in its newly designated place once you’re done.
Everything off the floor
You can make another rule of thumb that at the end of the day nothing should be on the floor but the furniture.
If you or any member of your family spots something on the floor they have to pick it up and put it back where it belongs.
So shoes go on the shoe rack, school bags go on hooks, toys go back in the cupboard, dirty clothes go in the laundry bin.
Once you make this your mantra it’s easy to keep it up.
Never leave a room empty handed
Whenever you walk out of a room pick up at least one item that has lost its home. And put it back where it belongs.
A little tidying here and there can add up to a big difference.
Pop a basket at the bottom of the stairs. Whenever you find something during the day that belongs upstairs pop it in.
Then as you usher the kids up to bed carry the basket up with you and put away all the upstairs items in their designated places.
Make an in-and-out promise
To cut down on having things pile up again, you could consider making an ‘in-and-out’ rule.
For every item you buy, or are given, another has to go. This can be easy for example if you already own a version of that item.
So if you buy a new mug then get rid of one you already have but love the least.
If your kids get a load of new toys for their birthday, then do a round up of toys that are old or broken or forgotten about and give them to charity.
2 questions before buying anything new
Pause before you buy anything new. Think where you will put it when you get home. Ask yourself:
Do you need it?
Do you love it?
By asking yourself these two simple questions before buying, you may find that you step back from buying unnecessary items that would just add clutter to your home.
Instead you can focus on the things you really want and need.
Set up a 15 minute daily tidy
Each evening have a 15 minute speed tidying time. Make it non-negotiable so it becomes a habit.
In this 15 minute window instruct each family member to look around and pick up strewn items and put them back where they belong.
If you’re too tired in the evenings you can make this in the afternoons or mornings.
You can even set a timer to make it a race of who can tidy up the most things in 15 minutes.
Or put a soundtrack on of 5 of their favourite songs so that everyone can sing and dance along while they tidy.
Stamp out clutter hot spots
Clutter begets clutter. Once you put down a few items on a surface then you’ll soon find a few others join them.
Before you know it a small pile develops.
You might pop your keys on the dresser in the hallway. Only to find that they are soon joined by a water bottle, headphones, a book and a pile of coins.
If there’s a clutter hot spot building up then sort it quickly and deliver all the items back to their owners to put back where they belong.
Create a stationary station
With kids – whether you’re doing crafts or doing homework – there are always so many stationary items that get strewn around the house.
Make a stationary station with jars, drawers and boxes to house all the stationary items.
Each day, relocate any lost stationery items back to this station.
Be strict with the laundry
One thing that feels impossible to keep on top of is the laundry. Set yourself strict but easy rules.
In the morning scoop up dirty laundry and bung it in the washing machine.
At lunchtime hang it out to dry.
In the evening fold it and put it away. Maybe don’t iron. Just iron as you go.
Get the kids involved in pairing socks and sorting laundry into piles. If your kids are older you can leave piles of clean laundry in their rooms for them to put away.
10 minutes for the kitchen
When everyone’s gone to sleep take 10 minutes to clear the kitchen before you head to bed.
You could stack or unstack the dishwasher. Put away anything on the draining board, wipe the surfaces, pop any rogue items in the bottom of the stairs basket or back where they belong.
A little tidying and you’ll feel so much happier walking into a clean and tidy kitchen in the morning, ready to start the day.
Once you’ve had a big declutter, keeping to a few easy rules is all you need to keep on top of it all. Pick the ones that work for you and keep up your newly organised home!
A tidy house isn’t just nice to have, it can make a big difference to our mindset and our mood. The energy in an organised home can become calmer and more peaceful. You yourselves may become happier just spending time in the home and being with your family.