Cleaning Tips Indoors & Out

Decluttering Kids' Rooms

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

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Toy Bins DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley LimitedAfter Decluttering

Let's Play the STOP Clutter Game

In addition to the usual STOP clutter tools — timer, boxes and garbage bag —you'll need a good selection of lidded plastic shoeboxes or other stackable containers and a few floor level open containers. Set the timer, and show the child how to play the STOP clutter game.

1. Sort
Start with a small section of the little person's domain: a single shelf, a small area of floor or one drawer. Grab each object and ask the question: Is this something we want to keep, to put away, to give away or to throw away? Nope, we can't put it down! We've got Magic Clutter Sticky on our hands, and we can't put it down until we make a decision!

2. Organize
STOP clutter for 15 minutes, and then begin to sort the keepers. Here's where the lidded storage containers earn their star billing. Toss small items such as all connecting blocks into one bin, dolly's clothing into another, tiny trucks and cars into a third. Playing "match the toy" is a good identification-and-labeling game for young children, and teaches them organizing skills.

Warning from an Old Mom: There will be resistance to the Give Away and Throw Away options. Try tactics like Choose Three to break through the block: "Yes, you may keep the space hideouts but only three. Which are the most exciting?"

3. Toss and Put Away
Finally, when the timer bell rings, toss the trash and return Put Away items to their homes in other rooms. Deliver Sell/Donate and Storage items to their storage locations, and stack and store the newly sorted kids' toys.

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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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