Ever walk into your mom friend’s house and find it’s not littered with naked Barbies, crusty juice cups and mountains of Legos as far as the eye can see? “What’s her deal?” you wonder (while quietly plotting her murder). Before you get all stabby, read on for seven secrets of moms who keep their homes a clutter-free zone.
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THEY INSTITUTE TOY ROTATION
Despite all your KonMari goals, chances are you’ve got one bazillion toys lying around…and chances are your kid doesn’t play with half of them. The smartest parents we know have a system where toys are separated into three or four batches (usually in big plastic bins) and rotated into their kids’ play area every few weeks.
THEY DIVIDE PLAYROOMS INTO ZONES
One area for art supplies. One area for stuffed animals. One area for balls and sports equipment. If everything has a home, you’re less likely to devolve into chaos.
THEY CHECK THEIR KITCHEN CABINETS EVERY FEW MONTHS
Clutter comes in many forms (it’s not just toys, people), and your collection of bottles, sippy cups and plastic plates can easily get out of hand. Do a kitchen purge every few months and toss anything moldy, non-functional (looking at you, leaky juice cup) or otherwise out of commission.
THEY SEPARATE CLOTHES INTO CURRENT, FUTURE AND PAST
Here’s a trick for managing the wardrobe of an ever-growing little one: Categorize all her clothing by “current,” “future” and “past.” All the “current” duds go in her drawers (duh). But then keep two other bins in her closet or in the basement. Too-big hand-me-downs and gifts go into “future.” Anything she outgrows goes into “past.” Once the “past” bin is full, off to the donation center it goes.
THEY CONTROL WHAT COMES INTO THEIR HOUSE
The start of a clutter-free zone? A high barrier to entry. This means that if your mom gives you a hideous activity block you don’t actually need…you don’t automatically accept it. Thank Mom for the gift, take a cute picture of your kid playing with it, then offer it up to a family that can actually put it to good use.
AND TEACH THEIR KIDS DELAYED GRATIFICATION
If your six-year-old is anything like ours, he sees a Batman Lego set at the store and needs to have it right now. Teach him to put it on his wish list for a special occasion and you’ll not only instill good fiscal habits, you’ll minimize the amount of crap coming into your home.
THEY SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
Hold yourself to the same standards as your children. Limit yourself to the stuff you really need and put it away when you’re done with it. Monkey see, monkey do.
This post was originally published on www.purewow.com