Cleaning Tips Indoors & Out

Decluttering Kids' Rooms

Try these strategies to calm clutter and bring order to kids' rooms.

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Toy Pile DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley LimitedBefore Decluttering

Special Challenge

It's a conundrum. Children's rooms are usually small, often shared and may lack built-in storage. Yet these rooms are host to out-of-season and outgrown clothing, surplus toys and even household overflow from other rooms. Children can't stay organized when the clothes closet is crammed, the drawers are stuffed and playthings are strewn across the whole carpet area.

The solution: Use the STOP clutter method to sort, store and simplify children's belongings. Long sessions of "clean your room" are an ordeal for all concerned, but by working for a limited time with a defined method, kids and parents can come to terms with clutter.

Skills for Life

For all but the youngest toddlers, resist the urge to wade into the mess alone, garbage bags flying. Instead, look at the decluttering process as a learning activity, and put the focus on the child. In your role as organizational consultant, survey what's working, what's not, what's important to the child, what's causing the problems and why the child wants to get organized. If they're involved in the effort, children are better able to understand the organizational logic and maintain the new, organized room.

It will take a number of STOP clutter sessions to clear a crowded child's room. Boost your patience with the process by remembering that you're not just clearing out the stuff, but you're building skills that will stand the small fry in good stead for life.

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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