Decluttering With Kids – Helping Kids To Let Go

As part of my series on decluttering with kids, I want to talk about helping them to let go. 

It’s difficult enough for us as adults, we get these attachments to the things around us and we think we might need it. Or we have some sort of memory held within the thing, some sort of good time. We think things like “Oh, I can’t get rid of that because it was an amazing time”. 

We pass all these things down on to our kids and they pick up the same traits basically. 

So when we’re trying to declutter or to get them to declutter, we need to do the same things that we would with ourselves. 

One of the best tips I’ve got for working with people is instead of them focusing on what they’re losing, is to try and focus on what somebody else is gaining. 

With adults that’s about which charity shop is it going to? What cause means something to you? Getting you to really identify with the people that you’re giving the stuff to, which makes it so much easier to get rid of the things that you don’t need anymore. 

It’s exactly the same with kids. 

Kids are so loving and caring and giving you know they really want to help others but they can’t sort of see past “But that’s mine” you know. So getting them to connect with the people that they’re going to be giving this stuff to is really really important and it helps them to let go. 

Showing them pictures of people who maybe haven’t got as much, getting them to think about the people at school who haven’t got as much, or other people that they know. So anybody that they come across in their daily lives that they might be able to think “Actually I can give them my teddy because they haven’t got many Teddy’s”. 

Get them to really connect with that. 

Videos and things like that online can work, but obviously it’s not about traumatising your kids with horrendous photos, but trying to get them to sort of see how much they’ve got compared to what somebody else has got is a really really crucial way to help them. 

That just enables them to let go. 

I worked with a family and the three kids at beginning we’re like “that’s mine, that’s mine, that’s mine” and once we’d started talking about it, they were “oh, they can have this, they can have this, they could have this”. And they were so excited about giving it away to somebody else. 

Especially during times where there are so many people who’ve got less than what we have.

We can share that around. 

Get your kids to connect with it and that can really help. 

Good luck with that and let me know how you get on. 

Decluttering With Kids – Having Limited Time

As part of my series on decluttering with kids, I want to talk about doing things in a limited amount of time. 

Kids’ attention spans when they’re working on something else and you’re not around, can be very limited. So you may only have a limited amount of time to do it. 

One of the things that can stop us decluttering is that we want to do it all; 

“I want to do all of the kitchen” 

“I want to do all of the bedroom” 

But the reality is, when we’ve got kids around, we can’t do that. There’s not enough to keep them occupied unless there’s somebody else there, which is fantastic if there is. 

But you may have to just do it in chunks, and this is another way to declutter. 

Picking little bits that you can do at a time; 

  • one kitchen drawer, 
  • sorting out your carrier bags in your kitchen
  • your sock drawer 

You know you can do things in small chunks. And if you can keep the kids occupied with something else for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour if you can, then that will give you a little bit of opportunity to just declutter something. 

It’s not going to be huge but at least it will be a little bit towards the overall journey.

The thing is with decluttering is if you do a little bit at a time it will soon mount up. 

Soon you will have done five kitchen cupboards, if you do one every day for five days, and that might just be half an hour a day. 

That’s the reality of it, you can’t always spend a big chunk of time especially if the kids are on holiday or the kids are around so you’re going to have to break it down, break it down into chunks and do a little bit at a time. 

But the important thing is to do that bit, because like I say, you can just put it off thinking “oh I can’t do it, I haven’t got the time” And even if you can do a small amount at a time, that will make a massive difference. 

So please get decluttering, little bit at a time and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can get through it! 

Which Room Should I Declutter First?

A lady asked me the other day about which room to declutter first. It’s an interesting question, if you have a look at my blog five tips to start decluttering, that gives you some pointers about getting going (read it here). One of the stages of that is sitting and pondering and thinking about where you need to start, let’s expand on that a little bit more. 

What are your real problem areas? 

Which areas are causing you the most hassle day-to-day as you’re going through your life? 

That is things that are stopping you doing things that you want to do, or they’re taking longer so you’re not having the time to do as much stuff you want to do. 

Maybe that your kitchen is just a bit disorganized and you can’t get to things at the back of the cupboards. You’re having to sort of fight a little bit. Where you kind of put things just doesn’t really work, that kind of thing. 

The places where if you kind of have a little bit of a think about it and add up how long that all those little bits take you extra in a day. It may be that you know you’re you’re preparing lunch and you have to go to various different places in your kitchen, and each of those just adds on a few seconds, a few seconds, a few seconds but in doing that by the time you finish you’ve ended up spending five minutes longer than you need to. 

Time is very valuable to us these days, we don’t have a lot of time to throw away. We have exactly the same amount of time as we always did, but we want to use it better. 

Having places organised can help with this. 

It might be the same in your bedroom. 

Maybe every morning you go to your wardrobe and you go “Oh god, what am I gonna wear?” And actually that is just not only taking your time, but taking your energy. 

I used to look at a wardrobe that was full of stuff that didn’t fit me and every morning I opened it up and went “Oh god, you know, what can I wear?” I’d get things out and I try them on and I didn’t like them, I put them back and I just felt really kind of crap about myself after I’d done that, as well as taking loads of time trying on loads of stuff that I didn’t even really like or didn’t fit.

Once I got rid of all that, in the morning I now go to my wardrobe and I just put something on. It takes all that time and that emotional kind of drain out of me. 

So really think about what areas are doing that to you? 

It’s worth taking some time over. 

What are these spaces? 

How do they make you feel? 

It may be that the kitchen is the biggest problem for the family, but the wardrobe might be the biggest problem for you. 

How will it impact on you? 

What will help you get you started on clearing out other other areas afterwards? 

Really have a think about how you feel and about what you want to tackle, and what you think is going to be the best for you, not just in time but in headspace as well.

Decluttering Your Laundry

I’d like to share with you five top tips for organizing your laundry or your washing whatever you want to call it. 

The first one is reduce the amount. 

Which sounds a bit daft but I went to a house where they had probably about 30 towels, and that was for the whole family, but it was far too many of them. And because they had got so many, rather than wash the ones that they had (which they were struggling with admittedly) they would just get another one out of the cupboard. 

When we realised how many towels they’ve got, we got rid of quite a lot of them, and then there isn’t the possibility for all that washing to build up. 

So reducing the amount of clothes you have can be a really good start. Some people tend to buy more when they haven’t got time to wash, and that can get you into a bit of a dangerous cycle. So decluttering, reducing the amount of what you have first. 

Having a big enough basket for your dirty washing. 

I went to a lady’s house the other day and she’d actually got a washing basket that was separated, so it was white’s and darks. So when they put the washing in they put it into the separate sides of the basket and then you could just pick a load out really easily. It’s not always going to be easy with people sorting, but it should definitely help the process. 

Another thing is having the space to sort it. 

Quite often on top of our washing machines and on top of our tumble dryers, we will store lots of things and pile things up on top of them. 

If you can put that somewhere else, that might just give you a little bit of space where when it comes out you can actually fold it up there and then, you’re not having to go somewhere else and use for example the dining table, and get in the way of life. 

Because I know for me if I start sorting stuff and then get distracted and have to do something else, then all of a sudden I’ve got a heap of clothes all over the dining room table – which doesn’t really work. So having some space to sort it is really key. 

Also having space to store it as well. 

For example your ironing, if you have a place where your ironing pile can go, in an airing cupboard, or somewhere like that, then that means that it’s just not going to be sitting on a chair, or on the bedroom floor, or somewhere where it’s getting in the way. 

Even a space in the wardrobe would work and that’s where the ironing heat goes, that can really work. So having some sort of space to actually store it can be really crucial. 

The last thing really which is a key thing, is allocating the time to do it. 

Now this is really difficult and often we haven’t got time in our lives, it’s very very busy. So if you can, I really encourage you to delegate it. 

I don’t do the ironing, I don’t iron anymore, I get things straight out of the tumble dryer and try and hang them up straight away, so I don’t do ironing anymore. 

But if you can get it to an ironing service and get them to do it for you, there’s also people who will come and take you out laundry as a whole and take it away and do it for you. So delegating is another thing. 

Other than that you could always get other the other family members involved. So you know see if you can get, if your kids are a bit older, see if you can give them a few quid just to do stuff for you, it gets them to learn some life skills as well. 

So just to run through it again, the top tips;

  • Reduce the amount you’ve got, try and get rid of the excess so you haven’t got loads of stuff. 
  • Make sure you’ve got a big enough basket for all your dirty stuff so it’s not piling all over the floor. 
  • Make sure you’ve got some space to sort it out, on top of your tumble dryer, your washer, wherever that may be. 
  • Also make sure you’ve got some space to store it, so an ironing pile. 
  • And then allocating the time to do it or delegating it. 

I hope that’s helped, take care.

Recycling Your Declutter

One of the things we focus on at DottyMOW is decluttering without waste. We try and use everything that comes out of somebody’s home or recycle it where we can. 

Now our first port of call is always charity shops, ideally local charities. We try desperately to give it to local places that need it, or local organisations. 

For example there’s some arts and crafts ones that we can give those sort of materials to. 

We work closely with lots of local charities to try and get them the items that they really need, and that they can maximise getting as much money as they can for, for their charity. 

For example there’s some that specialise in retro clothing, there’s others that specialise in electricals, whereas others don’t. 

We build up a big picture of who needs what and where it’s gonna get its most value. 

This is really important for our clients, it’s very important for people to know that it’s going to be of use to somebody else. A lot of the stuff we have in our homes is useful but we’re not using it, therefore it’s useless to us, but it can be useful to somebody else. And that’s what we really focus on. 

There are always items that aren’t gonna be good enough to go to charity, and there we have to look at how we recycle them. 

There’s a company in Sheffield called Intelligent Hand Dryers who have come out with a fantastic tool recently to help people figure out where they can go to get things recycled in Sheffield. 

If you’re somewhere else, I’m ever so sorry but it’s only in Sheffield at the moment.

If you go to their website which is www.intelligenthanddryers.com/blog/recycling-in-Sheffield  you will get up a little tool where you can actually search for locations which recycle specific items. 

So that’s a fantastic tool that they’ve come up with and it just means that people can actually find places to take things – like your plastic that doesn’t get recycled in your normal bins. 

We have great systems, we have paper and plastic recycling, and the bins for those. But not everything can go into those for example where to recycle the carrier bags, the film and stretch wrap that you get off of things, the plastics that can’t be recycled, the the paper sort of tetrapack cartons – all things like that and they’re all listed in there.

A lot of them are at supermarkets and things like that where you may be popping along to all the time, but didn’t know that they do those things.

It’s all about trying to limit as much to landfill as we can, and get as much recycled and reused as we can.

So please do your bit, have a look at that tool because it’s a great, it’s a great thing for day to day and whether you’re decluttering or not.