5 Insights That Will Help Your Kids to Keep Their Room Organized

For years, I used to spend 40mins EVERY EVENING tidying up toys! I was an au-pair, so I just thought of it as a part of my work, but I wondered how it must be for parents without daily help to split themselves between family time, work, and all the household chores. Especially if their kids have a lot of toys… 

As the kids grew older, I knew it was important to educate them on how to tidy up after themselves. I had to find out what would motivate them: With trial and error, I kept re-organizing their playrooms and exercising different negotiation strategies. Some with more, some with less success. 

Eventually, I saw that having fewer toys makes a huge difference in the tidying-up process while not at all decreasing fun and play for the kids! My decluttering path had slowly started back there. That was five years ago, and ever since, I have practiced the skill of reducing possessions with other people until it became my full-time job. 

Undoubtedly freeing as decluttering is, there always lingers the question,
“HOW DO I GET MY KIDS TO KEEP THEIR PLAYROOM THIS TIDY?!?!”

Not only from my work with the kids but also by observing dozens of parents facing this dilemma, I noticed one clear pattern: WE LACK THE KIDS’ PERSPECTIVE.

Through my playful au-pair eyes, I had the chance to find my answers to this. Remembering what is important to kids, I discovered five main objections we should consider. And this is how I overcome them to bridge the gap between kids and adults when organizing playrooms. 

I. “It is too much work!”

Big tasks aren’t the strongest point for kids and their shorter attention span. If they pull out piles of toys, it will be way too overwhelming to tidy them afterward.

I can’t stress enough that the minimalist and Montessori approaches of “Less is More” are righteous here: The fewer toys, less clutter, and less visual noise, the more you simplify the whole process of tidying. 

You may choose to either reduce the number of toys you own (I have written an article on decluttering with kids just a few weeks ago) or introduce a rotation system. 

II. “It is too hard!”

The #1 mistake I see in most playrooms organization is inaccessibility & difficulty. Remember: if it is difficult or impossible for the kid to tidy up, he won’t do it. Avoid complex or fiddly organization at all times if you want to get this right!

1) Ensure furniture and toys are at the right height for kids to access.

2) Avoid anything fiddly: Remove complicated molds from game boxes that don’t need them, and avoid having toys that need to be completed before tidying (such as open puzzles or jigsaws)

3) Don’t overfill their toy storage: You might fit everything in with some effort and time, but your kid won’t. Leave enough space, so it is EASY to put things back!

4) Avoid obstructions: That extra move and effort your kid will have to execute to move things around to get to the correct storage will decrease the chances of success.

= The 0 effort strategy: Open shelves or baskets that aren’t overfilled, clearly defined “homes” for things, and no extra effort is your way to win!

III. “It is my best game.”

I remember the sad faces at the end of the day when we said we must break down the forts we created. Kids are excited about their games and often care about the idea of resuming their building or play projects the next day. To not create resistance or aversion to tidying up, it is important to compromise a bit. 

I suggest creating a designated space (in a corner, in a play tent, on a play table, etc.) for their open projects to leave their toys ready until the next day safely. One open project policy and a certain total time limit will help you manage this: E.g., you keep only this LEGO battle project out and tidy it up after a week. 

IV. “Why do I have to do it?”

Kids don’t have the same natural incentive to have a tidy room. Instead of just motivating them by what you want/need from them, explain the benefits. 

1) Tidy playroom where all toys have their home is a ready playroom. “You can find your toy in no time and play right away when you come home from school!”

2) Respecting other people – I noticed kids understand when you say, “The cleaner needs to mop the floor. Could you help him by putting your toys away?” Having a regular cleaning day in their room holds them accountable to have their room completely tidied on that day (usually once a week), plus it teaches them respect towards other people’s needs. 

V. “I still want to have fun.”

After a play session, tidying up might seem very boring. Make tidying up fun and something not to be resisted with some of these tips:

1) Keep it short: Put a timer to 5-10mins each day to make it an easy and fast routine.

2) Offer your presence or helping hand: having someone around keeps kids more focused and motivated and holds them accountable to finish the task.

3) Gamify it: Choose a song that will lift the mood, make it a race (how many toys can you tidy in 5 minutes?), or play the “putting toys to sleep”.

What strategies do you use to overcome your kids’ objections?

If you wish to create & maintain an organized, clutter-free, &
welcoming home for yourself and your family,
Your SPACE home-organizing process™ is the answer.
Book a free consultation to discover how can our tailored solutions help You!

How to get past the overwhelm in Marie Kondo’s KOMONO category & finally organize your whole house!

Many of us discovered “The life-changing magic of tidying up” from Marie Kondo and felt this is the final answer to our home organization. 

Perhaps you devoured the book, watched the Netflix series, and started with the practice: Decluttering your possessions by recognizing what sparks the inner feeling of “joy” vs. what no longer makes you happy.

When Marie Kondo guides us through the decluttering and organization of her first three categories (1. clothing; 2. books; 3. papers), we get hugely excited about the neat wardrobes, bookcases, and office tables. Triumphant and invincible, we imagine our whole house perfectly tidy… Until we discover the 4th category: KOMONO – simply translated as MISCELLANEOUS!

Past Komono, there is only one category left which is sentimental items.  And so we are left to declutter over 50% of our possessions in that one category that doesn’t seem to cover everything.

This is the point where many people get discouraged: “I lost momentum. There are the kids’ toys, boxes of wires, an overflowing pantry… Where shall I start?”

I have been figuring out this answer for years after being contacted by the many Konmari fans who run into the “Komono wall.” 

Ultimately, everyone has a different lifestyle coming with different stuff, but after dozens and dozens of houses, I FINALLY identified, categorized, decluttered, and ORGANIZED KOMONO. 

Instead of 1 enormous category, these are the eight manageable categories I tend to go for. Go through them one-by-one in your own time, just like you would with the other Konmari categories.

1) Kitchen – Food, food-prep, food-serving, food storage, and kitchen paraphernalia. 

2) Bathroom – Hair products, body products, face products, make-up, accessories, kids care, textile, self-care & health

3) Kids – Toys, board & e-games, (activity) books, arts & crafts, school-related items, “treasures,” and baby stuff

4) Electronics – CDs/DVDs (or other older formats), appliances & gadgets, manuals, wires & cables,

5) Household maintenance – Batteries & lightbulbs, tools, building materials (like spare tiles, paint, but also screws, etc.), house cleaning, gardening, car, and other open house projects

6) Aesthetics – Art & photography, seasonal decor (such as Chżristmas, Easter props, etc.), candles & decor, valuables & collectibles, display souvenirs & sentimental

7) Free-time activities – Adult games (e-gaming, social, outdoor…), sports (winter, summer, all-year, indoors), crafting, gifts & wrapping, outdoors (camping, picnic, etc.), special hobbies, interests & personal projects, pets

8) Work-related items – Home office, professional props, equipment, etc.

If there’re any categories you’re missing, feel free to let us know in the comments and co-create the list together!

If you wish to create & maintain an organized, clutter-free, &
welcoming home for yourself and your family,
Your SPACE home-organizing process™ is the answer.
Book a free consultation to discover how can our tailored solutions help You!

Article by Lucie Krobova
Founder of Your SPACE by Lucie
Professional Organizer
Amsterdam, NL

HOW TO DECLUTTER THE WORST ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE… WITHOUT GETTING OVERWHELMED

When Laura even thought about decluttering the messiest room in her house, she found it hard to breathe. It was her 3rd attempt and this time, she has to put it all in order.

“Why is it so difficult? How did I get to the place where I can barely see the floor in what was supposed to be the guest room? I wish there’d be a magic wand making it just all disappear!”.

She quickly found a few things to get rid of it, packed it in a donation bag, and brought it down to the entryway; Contemplating whether to return upstairs to the guest room.

This time the procrastination voice said, “You’ve done enough, got rid of some stuff; Let’s not go back. Don’t you have MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO?”.

35mins in she aborted the project, attending to the urgent tasks… But the inner nagging of her unfinished task had set the tone for the day: yet another defeat. “Is it even possible to NOT GIVE UP? Will this room even be the guest room I wish for?”

Luckily Laura invited me over to help her. And today, Laura keeps the door to this room open. With a victorious smile on her face, she can see the guest beds ready to welcome her family over, and the familiar feeling of shame is exchanged with pride.

How did we end up tackling this task she gave up 3 times over? Those are the 5 important shifts that made it happen.

1) Get realistic
You won’t declutter 10 years of stuff in one day!
To conquer the feeling of defeat, you need to set realistic goals that will make you feel like a “win” day every time you go to do the work. Account for who you are, how fast/slow you tend to work, how long is your attention span, and how sentimental you are over your possessions. Decluttering is not a matter of handling stuff, but a matter of handling your personal history and your emotions. Allow yourself more time and divide this project into realistic chunks. It took Laura 3x4hrs and helping hands to tackle her room.

2) From non-urgent to important
You might have 10 more urgent things to do and a hotel to put up your guests so it’s crucial to get clear on the importance of this task.
What will you GAIN out of having this task finally done?
If you experience the ever-nagging feeling at the back of your mind that behind that closed door is a big to-do, the frequent thoughts of “I am so disorganized”, or even feelings of shame you might consider this important. All the time you spend thinking about it, dealing with it, or loathing in negative thoughts you lose time, and focus, and set your emotional baseline for the day chronically low.
When the important tasks get done, you will have more energy, mental space, and time to do the urgent tasks with more ease.

3) Be held accountable
It’s super important that you are held accountable and motivated! Having real people helping (like professionals) you or at least making you company (like friends or family) oftentimes helps.
If your level of discomfort is too high, you might want to come up with a DYI strategy for your own accountability: PLAN your sessions as if you’d have an actual appointment with a person, put aside the time, and schedule it in your agenda.
Remind yourself of the IMPORTANCE and the WHY you want to show up ready. Set up a checklist for your appointments and mark them done to celebrate each step. Take before and after pictures of your progress to motivate you further.

4) Help your brain to make decisions easier
Those rooms are usually a catch-all situation with stuff from different times and chapters of life; Most likely unused and unseen for a while.
It takes a lot of executive power to skip from object to object, recognize it, and make a decision over keeping vs. letting go, especially if you haven’t seen that stuff for so long that it oftentimes triggers sentiment.

Such cognitive and emotional rollercoaster oftentimes results in overwhelm. To beat this, help your brain a bit!

Start your first session by CATEGORISING ONLY and spend your executive power on grouping like-items together (the sentimental, the practical, the seasonal, the ones that don’t belong to you, etc.). Not only it will be less mental gymnastics in your next session because the stuff is already categorized, but you might be less sentimental about seeing those long-lost treasures for a second time over.

5) Done better than perfect
When you face paralysis, it often times stems from perfectionism. We want to do it all and do it well. We want to think through how it’s all gonna look like in the end, and end up getting stuck in the planning and the fantasies.
Remember, that if you don’t start it will never reach perfection. “Just start” with decluttering and space-making and leave the organizing decisions and final touches for when you’re done with the hard part.
It will come more naturally when the room is free of unnecessary clutter.

How many times have You tried decluttering your worst room, and which one of the points have you missed to implement? Feel free to comment 👇

If you wish to create & maintain an organized, clutter-free, &
welcoming home for yourself and your family,
Your SPACE home-organizing process™ is the answer.
Book a free consultation to discover how can our tailored solutions help You!

CREATE A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE TIMES SPENT AT HOME

Here’s a video I made back in March when the first wave of the pandemic hit the Netherlands. And now, again, we’re strongly advised to work from home, eat from home, and socialize (on small scale) at home. Perhaps it’s a good time to repost this video, in case you missed it before…

With more time spent closed at home, it’s more critical than ever to create an environment that’s supportive: Spacious, helpful, and filled with the objects you love, yet still fit for a home-based work routine.

Find my organizing tips below, and watch this video for a visual demonstration:

Pick a room that’s the most painful, or most important to remake and follow these simple tips on how to re-organize your home space in few minutes:

HORIZONTAL SPACES – How many trinkets, sentimental objects, or doesn’t-live-here stuff do you regularly accumulate on shelves, window sills, tables, and counters? Can you cut down to just a few consciously picked objects? Such change will make your cleaning and dusting much faster, plus having less stuff in your line of vision will allow more space and less distraction in your mental space.

OUTDATED STUFF – Do you have any expired vouchers, outdated to-do notes, or old projects lying around? Have a fresh look at what’s in your environment and don’t burden yourself with anything that’s not relevant anymore! It’s also a good opportunity to question some projects you wanted to start or finish…does it take more than it gives? Perhaps it’s time to drop that ambition if you feel overwhelmed and put it away for the time being.

HIDE YOUR TREASURES FOR JOYFUL REMINDER – In order to create less distracting and more focused space, you might want to consider removing some cards, photos, or even paintings from your walls. That doesn’t mean you need to get rid of them or store them in your attic though! As Marie Kondo advises, make use of the inner doors of your cabinets and rejoice every time you open it! This is my favorite trick, and it worked very well for many of my clients. On top of it, not seeing your photo/painting all the time also makes you appreciate it more in the times you do glimpse it. 🙂

DO YOU NEED TO BUY MORE STUFF TO ORGANIZE?

The first question I receive as a professional organizer from my clients is usually “What organizers shall I buy?”

Isn’t that kind of counterproductive when trying to declutter? We’re aiming for less in here, for the more simple solutions so don’t get overwhelmed with all the fancy organizers out there! Don’t be financially concerned when wanting to organize, because it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to put your house in order!

Instead of falling into yet another marketing trap of companies producing “smart organizing solutions”, start with what you have first!

Declutter first! See how much stuff you actually have. See how much storage you have. Only THEN you can start thinking whether you need something extra to buy.