Declutter Your Kids' Stuff While Creating Memories That Last a Lifetime

Have your kids create a memory box and decide what to put in it.

girl donating and organizing toys

Whenever I tell parents that I am an organizer, they look at me suspiciously and respond, "You must not have kids!"

Organizing your little ones is certainly a challenge, given the amount of stuff little ones require -- toys, games, coloring books and dolls -- all of which may seem outdated almost as soon as you buy them.

We clutter every room in our homes trying to constantly entertain our kids. Plus, a prolific young artist can create even more stuff to be kept, even if it was drawn on the back of a Happy Meal napkin.

To help stem the tide of kid clutter, constant maintenance is needed. But you don't have to do it alone: get your children vested in creating their own "memory boxes" that house all of their favorite items. Following these steps will not only get you organized, but will also create a keepsake to last a lifetime.

  • Keep some, not all
  • You don't need to keep every sketch from every stage of your young artist's life, so be discriminating by keeping a few pieces that represent quality over quantity.

  • Create a place of honor by choosing a beautiful box
  • Make your children part of the decision-making by finding something that represents their interests, even their favorite color. I love these archival storage boxes from the Container Store which you can use to house paperwork or even keepsake clothing.

  • Get your child involved early
  • You can turn your little one into a budding historian by encouraging him to treasure the items he keeps. When kids take ownership of their projects, they are much more likely to keep them going over time.

  • Have each child customize his own box
  • Considering other additions like video, photos, greeting cards and first pieces of jewelry.

  • Sort, purge and pare down everyday to encourage consistency
  • The end of the day is a great time to transition your space and kids in preparation from day to night.

The best thing about this project is that it is something that you can do with your children -- and isn't that what making memories is all about? You will be creating a time capsule that you customized, so when your child moves out and takes that box with him, he will take along a precious part of his past.

Mary Carlomagno is the owner of Order, which specializes in clutter control and shopping addictions. She has written two books on the subjects, as well as several articles for Care.com. Visit her website at orderperiod.com.

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