When your kids were babies and toddlers, life at home was centered around keeping them safe and providing enriching toys for them. But what about now that they are growing up? If your toddlers have grown up to big kids and tweens, it’s time to reconsider an update to their playrooms and bedrooms.
Most importantly, you should start with decluttering by getting rid of all the toys they have outgrown; many times, these toys just get buried under other toys and simply forgotten. Gather all the toys together and work through them piece by piece with your child to determine if they still play with the toys or would rather discard them. Children tend to be very cooperative with discarding when paired with a positive attitude, which is contrary to most parents' beliefs. Also, it's likely that after decluttering their outgrown and/or broken toys that there will be excess storage space; don't feel that you need to hang onto any excess storage/organizational units as they will likely be filled with clutter soon.
Then consider what your child(ren) enjoy doing and center their space around those activities (unless your goal is reduce certain activities - such as video games - in that case making those activities less accessible or desirable is key) Does your child play a musical instrument? Consider creating a space just for their instrument and supplies so that they always know where it belongs and have a regular space to practice. Also, they are likely to be spending more time on homework now that they are older, so having a personal space to focus on work is important, and make sure it is stocked with the basic necessities such as pencils, paper, etc. Having a zone that your child can hang out when friends come over is a good idea also; it doesn’t need to be any thing fancy, just a cozy space with games and activities easily accessible.
Always remember to group like items together in zones, such as a "board game zone", "lego zone", or "art zone" so that they always know where items can be found. Each child and family is unique, so consider what suits your child best and remember to keep it simple!
If you routinely make New Year’s resolutions, but have a hard time keeping up with them, it may be time to reconsider what you are adding to your schedule, and what you could possibly remove from your schedule. Resolutions aimed at making your life healthier, happier, and easier may be doing the exact opposite if they require additional time commitments on top of an already hectic schedule. If you have a resolution to do more yoga or exercise to reduce stress, maybe also take a look at the stress-inducing activities in your life and how you can work towards reducing those as well. Yoga and exercise are great ways to combat stress, but if carving out an extra hour out of your day induces even more stress, the benefits may not outweigh the additional commitments.
One example how to reduce a stress-inducing activity and replace with a healthy one is to look at the time of day you plan on being more active. Many of us spend too much time in our morning commute; perhaps leaving early to avoid traffic and exercising closer to the office could be a good way to reduce a stressful activity (sitting in traffic) and increase a stress-reducing activity (exercise).
Another example would be to incorporate two resolutions. If you intend to spend more quality time with your kids, you could incorporate that into either eating healthy or exercising by letting them join you in planning/preparing healthy dinners or join them in play at the park for exercise. Involving kids in these activities is an excellent way to model healthy habits for the entire family.
Another example is to pair a resolution with an activity you already do; one popular resolution is to read more books; perhaps incorporating audio books could help feed your thirst for knowledge while you are stuck in traffic. This would add value to your life while helping make a stressful situation such as traffic more enjoyable.
The bottom line is to make time work for you; simplifying activities and schedules help make room for the important things in life. And remember, that even though the new year is a great time to set goals and plan for the upcoming year, anytime is better than never; so if you don’t succeed with your resolutions on first try, it’s OK to step back and evaluate things and try again!
Judi Natareno is the Owner and Lead Consultant of Clutter Free Families.