Decluttering for Parents of Preschoolers

Room with green painted wallsAs a mother of two small children (ages two and one), I thought to follow Kerri Hanley’s helpful declutter series (and particularly the kid’s room post) with one more for parents of babies and toddlers. I have found the amount of stuff kids seem to come along with, to be one of the most overwhelming parts of becoming a parent. Your home seems instantly filled with swings and bouncers and the toys just seem to spill into every room. Well meaning friends and relatives gift you with giant ride-on toys and decor for which you didn’t plan.

Here are a few tips to tackle the kid clutter and take back your home from those cute little monsters!

Create baby registries / special occasion wish lists

Try to control the influx of kiddie gear as much as possible.

Research your baby registries carefully and consult a few friends with little ones about what you really need and what you do not. Return duplicate gifts before baby’s arrival.

For holidays and birthdays, consider creating an online wish list to share with immediate family and friends invited to celebrate with you. This will give clear ideas of toys your children will enjoy and do not already own (consider also including books and clothes they need). Amazon and other online retailers offer this complimentary service.

Establish organization bins

Find a system of organization that works for you and your kid’s favorite toys. For us, it’s lots of labeled shoe box size, clear storage boxes with lids. My labels have become very specific (wood blocks vs. Duplo blocks vs. Mega blocks) to keep like items together.

I also have a few large nice looking, fabric-covered storage cubes in a few rooms, which fit into storage shelves. Those keep mid-sized toys out of sight. One in each space is my catch-all bin, for those random toy parts that find their way to the floor just before company arrives or at the end of a long day.

Purge outgrown toys / clothes

Keeping up with kid’s clothes and toys is a daily effort, not just a one-time project. Try to stay on top of rotating out clothes your children have outgrown and toys with which they no longer play.

Resell via Craig’s List or Facebook groups (on-island Tamarind Moms is an ideal place, e-mail to request to join). Or pass along your gently-used items to friends or a nonprofit (on island, consider Queen Louise Home for Children or St. Croix Animal Welfare Center Flea Market).

One of the best parts of island life is minimalism. It’s easier to keep an organized home when you can send your kids outside to play every day of the year! Let Chris and Kerri Hanley help your family find a perfect home. As the top agent on St. Croix in 2014, he is the authority on Virgin Islands real estate. Contact them today and download their free guide the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.