Spring is almost here and its time to do some cleaning. We tend to accumulate a lot of stuff, especially as parents...everything from toys, clothes, craft or art projects. How can we keep it all organized, stay sane, and not have mom guilt? These are my principles for keeping it together without going nuts. Living in small spaces can be challenging when it comes to space but it helps stay focused and avoids me being on the latest episode of "Hoarders."
7 Spring Cleaning Tips With a Child So You Don't Go Loca
1. If something new comes in, something old MUST go out.
Whether it's a new toy for my daughter or a new top I just bought. I make sure to keep on top of this. Every 2-3 months I donate clothes, toys, books, you name it. If you instill this practice, it will keep your drawers from overflowing, will keep you from buying even more storage bins, or renting storage space, and will give you peace of mind. I love this charity, One Toy at a Time. They will take used toys and clothing and give them to children in the most impoverished countries.
2. Rid yourself of boxes to create space & upcycle.
Anytime we receive toys, games, or puzzles, I put all the pieces in ziplock bags and include the instructions or box picture. This makes it super easy to store, and saves a ton of space.
We upcycle alot of boxes and put them to good use. I made this stove for my daughter when we had the Honest subscription.
3. Clear containers and open bins are your friend.
Most of Victoria's toys are sorted and labeled in clear containers or clear drawers. It makes it easy to find toys for Victoria and minimizes the everyday clutter. If you label them it will also make it easier for everyone that visits, sitters, or your husband that doesn't know where anything lives.
I HIGHLY recommend that you invest in a label maker. You can use it for organizing, storing, files, reminders, you name it! I love my Dymo Letratag Label maker (labels you see on bins above). I've had it for years, and I've never had to replace ink, the cartridges last long, and it's easy to use.
4. Instill a cleanup practice.
It's very important to instill a cleanup practice in your kids from the time they are toddlers. Yes, its easier to take 2 minutes and do it ourselves but we are negating them of feeling empowered and we are sending them the wrong message that mommy will do everything for them. Mi LegaSi consultant, Dasy Perez, childcare provider for over 20 years (and my sister), says, "Routine and schedule are very important. You have to make it a part of your daily routine. For example, singing a cleanup song after storytime and having your child put away their books or having them put their dishes in the dishwasher after dinner, of course with guidance and safety in mind. If your child asks if they can help you, let them help you as long as it is safe or offer an alternative. This creates independence in them. Finally, children will model your behavior. You can't expect them to clean if you're not doing it yourself."
5. You don't have to keep every art project that your child creates.
Your little Diego Rivera or Frida Kahlo in the making do not need every little crayon scribbled masterpiece to be saved. Want the memories? Take pictures and add them to an album. Keep only the ones that touch at your heartstrings. I love this frame. You can proudly rotate and display your child's artwork. It's great for your kid's room or if you have limited space, like me, a great space-saving alternative.
6. It's ok to say "no or not today" or "hoy no se puede" when you go shopping.
My mother used to babysit for many years. One thing that I learned first hand was how she handled going shopping with any of the kids she would babysit. She would tell them prior to entering the store how much she had to spend on 1 item for them and gave them a list of things that they were allowed to buy. If she didn't have any additional money to spend, she would tell them not to ask for anything because she only had enough to get what was on her list, not today. I use the same tactic with Victoria anytime we go to the store and it honestly works. Whether it's the grocery store, a toy store, or even if we're at a gift shop at the zoo, when they know what to expect it lessens the potential for crazy tantrums and outbursts it'll also keep you from accumulating unnecessary items, um remember that $20 sippy cup from (fill in the blank)?
7. Don't be ashamed to hire help.
I think its important to teach our sons and daughters to be self-sufficient. Teach them to cook, to clean, how to sew a button, use a hammer, do their laundry. It doesn't mean they can't hire someone to do these jobs after they learn, just like you, but it empowers them that if they don't have the financial resources they can do it themselves and WE don't have to do it for them! Personally, I'm learning to let things go and accept "good enough" vs perfection. I have a cleaning service, cook in batches and not every day, and sometimes drop off the laundry. I've even learned that when my mother in-law decides to come clean, and turn the house upside down, to simply breathe and look at the bright side, it's something less that I have to do.
I'd love to hear what your organization tips are and I'm sure the rest of the mamás would love to as well! Leave a comment and feel good that you're empowering and helping other mamás just like you.