Hi I’m Sue at Organised Houselife and Rachel at Patch asked me to write about how you can sort out some of your clutter with your children during the school holidays. So here are some tips on how to get started and three easy steps to get you through it.
Top tip – work with each child individually
If you have more than one child it’s much more effective to sort out with one at a time, even if they share the same bedroom.
Tackle it in 3 easy steps:
Step 1 – Clothes first.
This may seem an odd place to start, and you may be eager to get the toys sorted, but if you do clothes first it gets the children to understand the process and makes the decision on what to keep and what to let go easier as they don’t usually have as much attachment to clothes.
Get three bags – one for donations, one for the bin and one for things to send to Patch. Get all your child’s clothes, underwear, jackets, coats, shoes, bags, belts, hair accessories and anything else that could be considered as clothing onto the bed. This may mean going around the house and gathering up things in other areas. The reason for getting everything out in one go is so that you can see the extent of how much stuff they actually have.
Then hold up an item at a time and ask your child if they like it or not. If they don’t then you can decide whether it can go for donation or should be binned. If they do like it, then you can decide whether it can go back in the cupboard, or whether it’s too small and could be given to Rachel at Patch to make into a keepsake creation.
You could also have a pile for selling, but in my experience it’s a lot of hard work photographing and listing for very little or no return as clothes don’t do particularly well on sites such as eBay. It’s also much more productive if you can get everything you don’t want to keep out of the house immediately and you will see much better results.
Children are pretty good at telling you what they like and don’t like. There may be items that have to be kept such as school uniform, or practical coats. For these items I would still have the discussion with them but say something like, “We need to keep this because it’s your uniform.” I usually tell children that anything they don’t want will go to charity and so a child who doesn’t have nice clothes or toys will get them. Children are usually very compassionate when told this. From your point of view, look on charity donations in the same way as a cash donation because the charity will be receiving cash from the sale of your items.
After going through every item and discarding the items you are not keeping, then and ‘only then’ can you begin to put things away. Don’t be tempted to put away as you go along as you need to see the bulk of what you have decided to keep, otherwise you will end up keeping more than you need.
The whole process of sorting one child’s clothes should take in the region of a couple of hours.
Step 2 – Books next!
Go through exactly the same process as described above for organising and discarding books. Depending on how many books your child has it should only take about an hour.
Step 3 – The dreaded toys!
Once again, follow exactly the same process – getting all their toys out so you can see the full extent of what they have. You may decide to sell some toys because they tend to sell better at car boot sales or on eBay. Or you may decide to donate them to a friend. Whatever you decide, ensure you get rid of them quickly and don’t have them sitting around your house for days or weeks on end.
By the end of this 3-step clear-out your child’s room should be much clearer, things should be easier to find, and they might even have a gorgeous Patch keepsake too! It’s one of those things that we put off doing, but it will be time well spent.
You can apply the above techniques for getting your whole house in order too. For more tips and advice please check out our website Organised Houselife (www.organisedhouselife.co.uk)
Thanks, and good luck with your sort out!