Involve kids while decluttering their room


Kids as young as four are happy to participate in reorganising their room (Thinkstock)
If you are parent to a toddler, you must have mastered the art of walking around your house without tripping on toys and stamping on building blocks. You are probably itching to dump all their stuff in one room, lock the door and throw away the key. But before you take such extreme measures and later end up buying the same things all over again (because it’s difficult to ignore the little one’s incessant tears), how about decluttering their room and sorting their belongings?

Grishma Griha, a primarily school teacher, advises that involving your children while cleaning their room can make the process a whole lot easier. “Yes, it will take time to complete the task, but you will teach them the importance of being organised. Start with explaining the agenda and give them separate boxes where they can deposit things they need and don’t.”

Any decluttering process involves three major steps
Choose one corner of the room or a cupboard and identify items that your child uses every day and those that haven’t been touched in a really long time. For instance, ask your son if he really needs the action figure he used to play with a few years ago or if it can be given away to charity. The best way is to start from the bottom of the cupboard.

Group items into two piles — those that can be given away and those that can be retained. Make this into a game and ask your child to toss things into their respective cartons. This way, even if they are clingy and don’t want to give away their crayons and toys, they might just listen to you because shooting baskets is fun!

Neatly arrange items that have been marked ‘for keeps’ in the room. And the rest of it can either be donated to charity or thrown in the bin.

Here are three tips to help you make the process easier

Take a tour

Kids as young as four are happy to participate in reorganising their room. Also, if they are involved in the activity, they’ll be more inclined to keep things tidy. Rishi, a coaching and grooming advisor, says, “To begin with, ask your child to show you around their room so that you can take stock. When they are going through their pile of things, they will get a clear idea of what they want. Sometimes, they get possessive about a toy or a piece of clothing. Even if it is in a shoddy state, children don’t feel like letting it go. So, you need to reassure them that you will not throw things away without their knowledge.”

Identify trash

It’s important to set rules and establish guidelines before you begin the decluttering process. Don’t be ambiguous and say they need to get rid of toys and clothing. Tell them what kind of toys and dresses need to be thrown out. Divya Sekar, a homemaker, says, “My son is five and since the last two years, he has been helping me in cleaning his room. Initially, he wouldn’t let me discard broken toys, saying they were still in ‘playable’ condition. That’s when I realised it’s important to teach Kids what trash is. Now, I allow him to occasionally have that torn tee and toy car without the wheels as long as they are not harmful in any way. At the same time, I tell him how he can make space for newer things by giving away old ones. Of course, this is always a joint activity.”

Group by labels

 Before beginning your decluttering session, make sure you group things under different categories — dolls and other toys can be one and craft supplies including crayons and streamers, another. Rishi adds, “If your kid is not old enough to read, use labels and pictures to identify.”