4 Tips for Kicking the Kid Clutter

Clean House
Image via Flickr/Jeda Villa Bali

Did you enter to win the HGTV Dream Home this year? Do you read design blogs or decorating magazines? Everything is so beautiful and clean and, well, missing something. Any sign of children? There are no socks strewn about, no toys on the floor, and certainly no sippy cups on the end tables! I always love to look at those houses and dream about what it would be like if I lived there. Then I think, it would look quite different if my monsters moved in!

While I know that kid clutter is a bit inevitable, there are some things you can do to reclaim your space. Your house will say, “kids live here,” but not, “this is a daycare center.”

kid clutter 2
Image via Flickr/jlehtine

#1 Rotate Toys: Don’t have everything out all at once. Do you ever notice that when you’re cleaning and organizing toys, they suddenly become more appealing to your children? When kids stare at a toy box overflowing with toys, it’s overwhelming. Sort through the chaos and find 5-10 toys that they absolutely love, and put the rest away to be rotated in when they lose interest. This way, the toys they love are more visible and easily at their disposal. I love this quote from The Happiness Project because it seems to ring true: “The head of Eliza’s school told a story about a 4-year-old who had a blue toy car he loved. He took it everywhere, played with it constantly. Then when his grandmother came to visit, she bought him ten toy cars, and he stopped playing with cars altogether. ‘Why don’t you play with your cars?' she asked. ‘You loved your blue car so much.' ‘I can’t love lots of cars,' he answered.”


kid clutter 3
Image via Flickr /prettyinprint

#2 You don’t have to sacrifice fashion for function: With kids, there will be an inevitable need for storage, but there are so many cute things out there that can be functional! You don’t have to have the Tupperware storage bins and big plastic toy boxes if that’s not what you like! Once you’ve got your toys down to a few favorites, they can be easily tucked into a pretty basket or stored behind closed doors. Storage ottomans have become a very popular way to tuck things out of sight, but still at hand. Don't give up what you love just for function. Make it work for you!

kid clutter 4
Image via Flickr/amy.gizienski

#3 Give them their spaces, and keep your spaces: There’s something to be said for having a space that’s yours. If your kids have their room, a playroom, or even a little closet hideaway where they know that they can go to have their special playtime, this will not only give them a sense of pride and ownership of that space, but it will help you to reclaim some of your living space as adult space. Toys will, of course, make their way into adult spaces, but I like to have each of my kids have a canvas tote that they can take around to round up their toys and take them back to their special space.

kid clutter 5
Image via Flickr /Unskinny Boppy 

#4 Launch Pad/Drop Zones: When coming in and out of the house with kids, there’s always a ton of stuff. I like to create a “launch pad” and “drop zone” in the area of the house where we come and go. For us, these are two places. The “launch pad” is the front entryway because that’s where we leave the house for school. There waiting for us are our cubbies and hooks for coats and backpacks and shoes and anything we’ll need to get out the door in the morning. For the baby in our house, it’s a packed diaper bag instead of a backpack.

The “drop zone” is where we come in at the end of the day. I would LOVE it if backpacks, coats, and shoes could all magically make it back to the launch pad, but I recognize that’s wishful thinking. There are folders that need going through, muddy/wet shoes, and, oh, the stinky socks! So the drop zone is in our garage right before we come inside. Shoes get kicked off onto a boot tray; backpacks and coats get dropped into a bin by the door; and hopefully our socks make it into the laundry/mud room. But I’m not gonna lie, even the most well-devised plans are no match for my sock-strewing children!


Like most parenting aspects, keeping clutter from overtaking your home just takes some planning and getting a system in place that works for you. Here’s to hoping I can find a sock solution!

What works for kicking the clutter at your home? Any tips on the socks?

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4 Tips for Kicking the Kid Clutter

Jeanna Strassburg is a wife, and mother of three, who enjoys kitchen dance parties and summer time! Jeanna received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April of 2007. She enjoys spending her time cooking, cleaning and tending to the proper duties of a stay at home mother… NOPE! Truthfully, she enjoys eating the food, but not making it or cleaning up after it. She likes to have a clean home, but loathes laundry and dishes. Loves her children, but coul ... More

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1 comment

  1. LIZ says:

    i love to be organice and i want to show my baby how to do it


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