i get asked often (by readers and friends alike) how to maintain a simple, minimalist home with children. because i have two myself (7 and 3), i know the struggles. and have written about it myself: minimalism and children. while researching the topic, i found an article on zenhabits titled: 21 tips on keeping a simple home with kids.
here are some of the highlights:
- Identify the important. The first step in decluttering is identifying which toys and other possessions are truly important to the kids. What do they play with, what do they love? Then get rid of as much of the rest as possible, keeping only those they use and love.
- Massively purge. In the beginning, if you have a lot of kid clutter, you’ll want to go through a massive purge. The way to do this is to block off a day to go through their rooms. Do one area at a time: a drawer, a section of the closet, a shelf. Take everything out of that area, put it in a pile. From that pile, take only the really important stuff. Get rid of the rest.
- Leave space. When you put the important stuff back, don’t try to fill up each drawer, shelf or closet area. Allow there to be some space around the objects. It’s much nicer looking, and it leaves room for a couple of extra items later if necessary.
- A home for everything. We haven’t actually completely succeeded at this, but we try to teach the kids that everything they own has a “home”. This means that if they’re going to put away a toy, they should know where its home is, and put it there.
- Allow them to mess. Kids are not perfect. They will inevitably make a mess. You have to allow them to do this. Then, when they’re done, ask them to clean it up. No harm, no foul.
- Go for quality. Instead of getting them a huge pile of cheap junk, go for quality toys or possessions that will last long. Wood is better than plastic, for example.
if you have small children, you will enjoy the entire article. some of the steps you will instinctively be doing already. others will bring you new inspiration.