7 Ways to Declutter Your Kids’ Stuff

It seems like every couple of months or so I have to sort, reorganize, prioritize, and p-u-r-g-e my kids’ stuff. A little less frequently my husband and I go through our own grown-up things and repeat the same process. For pregnant, first time moms, nesting is only a trial run for the constant cleaning out and organizing that a home with kids requires. They outgrow toys and clothes so quickly; most days it’s hard impossible to keep up because you don’t live in a kid-free home.

declutter post | Mama Bird Box
Image Courtesy of Maka Architekci

I often get lost in all of our stuff, and in my first world perspective we don’t even have that much, yet I find myself feeling closed in and trapped with things. And, at the end of the day, when all of my kids’ toys are everywhere, I think, “Where did this stuff come from? I didn’t even know we had all of this!” Then I throw everything back into bins just to see toys vomited all over my house the next day. Over these past three month we’ve been getting rid of more things than usual, and I feel like I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.

Most credit for my decluttering education goes to a friend who is reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I really want to read this book, but sometimes I just have to be okay with listening to the good things someone else has to say. So much of my parenting is that way. I just glean from other people’s knowledge and good ideas. How much stuff one has is definitely a personal decision. One of our value’s is to live simply, so I’m sharing with you the ways that we try (emphasis on try) to live simply in a land of toddlers.

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Image Courtesy of Glitter Guide

1. Move or rearrange. Okay, I realize I’m starting off in the extreme and no one, NO ONE, is going to move just so they can declutter their life. Maybe they will move to declutter their life in a figurative sense, but not just to clean out a room. We have moved five times in our seven years of marriage and during the first few moves, we accumulated stuff along the way, but in the last two, we downsized. It was genuinely refreshing to go through cabinets and see what we hadn’t used in a year, donate it, and move with less. However, if you’re not moving, rearranging is much more feasible for the general public. I’m kind of obsessed with rearranging. I get bored in spaces and want it to feel fresh without having to buy anything new, so I rearrange. Sometimes it works, sometimes it gets put back like before, but always when I rearrange, my house gets a great cleaning, and I get rid of things along the way.

2. Forget about it. One day when you are cleaning up the toy explosion, pick everything up, put it in the trunk of your car and see how much stuff you or your kids forget about. Leave it there, out of sight, for a few days. It’s amazing what a week can do to offer perspective on the things you really don’t need or even miss, and you get to start enjoying your decluttered space without quickly saying goodbye to everything. Decide what is worth bringing back in and then drive away with the rest of it to your favorite donation place.

3. Keep what’s special. This is my biggest takeaway from my friend’s reading of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Decide what you want your space to look like and keep the things that stay in that aesthetic. So with our kids’ toys (while the kids were asleep) we took everything out and only brought back in what we really wanted. I’ve since done the same thing with our clothes and books. Our house is now 175 books and one bookcase lighter, and I don’t miss what we let go because I love the things that we kept and I love our less crowded space so much more. Kondo’s idea is to take away the negative outlook of ‘getting rid of stuff’ and change the paradigm to think about it as ‘keeping the good stuff.’ One evening when going through our two toy baskets, I realized our cool blocks weren’t being played with that often but the “Spinny Guy” (the name my son gave to a small toy of a guy holding a stick that could spin around) was played with a lot, but my son always lost the stick. I hated this toy for that stupid, little stick. Based off of frequency of play, I should have donated the blocks and kept the “Spinny Guy,” but my husband reminded me that we want our kids to play with the blocks more, so let’s lose the things we don’t love. I used method #2 on “Spinny Guy” and he never got asked about again.

4. Loan out what you’re not using. I have two kids 21 months apart, so the toys we have are pretty appropriate for both of our kids, but that is not always the case. For baby clothes and toys, find someone you are willing to loan out your things to as you wait for your younger little to be older enough to enjoy them. Make a list of what it is or write your initials on things you want back. Tip: I find it is soooo much easier for my kids to be okay with saying goodbye to toys if they know who they are going to. Right now, most toys get passed down to my nephew, and the kids get really excited about it and are usually the initiators of the giving.

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Image Courtesy of The Boo and the Boy

5. Buy organization items. Once you’ve gotten rid of the nonessential and kept the specials, get what you must to keep it organized. Look for ways to use your newly freed up furniture, shelf space, and baskets, but you should feel inspired to keep things clean and at least semi-confident that your kids can, too. If that means a trip to The Container Store or IKEA, then so be it.

6. Ask for experiences instead of things. Another way to rid your life of your children’s clutter is to push back on getting things to begin with. When gift giving seasons come around, think about outing, activities, lessons, or events that you or others can do with your kids instead of giving them a toy. An item can accompany the experience if a present is required. For example, one year my in-laws gave my daughter dance lessons for Christmas and wrapped under the tree were a leotard and ballet shoes. There was a present to open and an experience to be had. If and when you do ask for toys, be intentional and think about what kind of play you want your kids to have. If the gift doesn’t fit into that, don’t get it.

7. Declutter more frequently. In general, if my kids receive a toy, they get rid of something in its place. Sometimes this happens in one big cluster, not necessarily item for item. Pre and post birthdays and Christmas, I am in major purge mode. I really try to declutter the space before things get out of hand again. Emphasis on try.

Pick the Right Baby Registry for You

One of the most exciting things about preparing for a baby is picking out things for your baby…aka SHOPPING. I was so glad when I reached some undefined point when I felt like I could start preparing my baby’s room and not feel completely silly for having a space ready for a little person we still wouldn’t see for several more months. We all get anxious to meet our babies so seeing their stuff is probably the most satisfying and real thing we can do while waiting to see them.

Baby Room Registry Post | Mama Bird Box
Image from of Danielle Oakey Interiors

However, as much as I love shopping, my husband and I learned that we really didn’t need as much stuff as we thought we did, and we didn’t have to own everything we thought we needed all at once.

We got all-the-things we thought we were supposed to get for our first baby and made her space one of order and function and baby-ness, but life happens. We moved from Wisconsin to Texas 3 weeks after she was born leaving most of her things and ours behind to keep the house staged and our small moving trailer light. I was disappointed to not have her in her cozy, all-prepared space, but then I started feeling a freedom in leaving behind the non-essentials. Less than two years later when our son was born, our apartment didn’t have space for all-the-things, but we didn’t need it to. Personally, I did find it was harder to stay minimized than it was to have everything because there’s always the “what if I’ll need this someday” question (and I still struggle here), but I always feel fresher with more room to breathe without all-the-things. This is what worked for me, and I found freedom in it.

Mama Bird Box Baby Registry Post
Image from Lala’s Pequenos

I wish I had had some advice on how to start off parenthood with the minimum because that is what would have made the most sense for us. Maybe you have been waiting for this baby for years and you want, and can get, all-the-things. Get them, by all means, get them. Maybe you want all-the-things but are on a budget. Maybe you have friends that want to buy you all-the-things. Maybe you aren’t having a baby shower or creating a baby registry at all, and you want the minimum like me. We have baby registry recommendations for all of you. We have compiled a list of our favorite registry picks so you can find the right one for you. No matter which registry list suits you, we know that you will receive the same amount of joy seeing the clothes and blankets and lovies that will soon belong to you little one. Get ready!

Minimalist on a Budget – Baby on a Budget: What Do You Really Need? from Eco Baby Steps

Minimalist without a Budget (and honestly this isn’t very minimalist, but these items will make your Instagram look amazing.) – The Minimalist’s Baby Registry: What You Actually Need by MOTHER

The ‘Everything’ Everything List – The BEST Baby Registry List Ever by Mint Arrow

A Lot But Not Too Much – The Baby Chick’s Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist by Baby Chick

All the Way Organic – Green Baby Registry by Growing Slower

Not Your First Baby – What to Put on a Registry for Baby #2 by Mommy to Elodie

The perfect marriage of minimal, budget-friendly, and baby shower-free – Hand-me-downs. And then Craigslist.

Here’s a very small personal tip for registering: My husband really, really didn’t want to find out our first baby’s gender at that long awaited 20 week ultrasound, but since she was a surprise on her own I argued and bargained, “I need to feel some control over my life again; I need to know for this one. But any other we kids we have we’ll save it for a surprise.” He gave in under one condition – we register before we find out what we are having so that we will have gender neutral baby items for this baby and any more to come. He’s pretty smart that husband of mine. We found out we were having a girl, and I know I would have gone nuts over the soft, floral pretties.

Fast forward 13 months and we found out we were having another baby, and I held up my end of the bargain. Getting through the ultrasound was the hardest part, but after that the time flew. 9 months later we got The Moment; “It’s a boy.” And I was beyond grateful for all of those gender neutral baby items sitting in our apartment.

Fall Beauty For Moms-to-Be

This post and photo cred go to our friends at Nine Naturals. We love them for their good-for-you, natural products and for helping expecting moms feel their absolute best.

As you bid adieu to summer and welcome the arrival of fall–trading in sandals for slingbacks and bikinis for blazers–be sure to also swap out your featherweight summer skincare and cosmetics for rich products better suited for this transitional season.

The crisp autumn air will feel inviting after enduring the summer heat with your own internal furnace cranked to high, so venture outdoors and partake in some of many fall activities, including visiting a harvest festival, picking apples at a nearby orchard, and taking in a football game with your partner. Protect your delicate skin from whipping winds by carrying a moisturizing body balm, such as Nine Naturals Repairing Body Balm, which uses organic shea, cupuaçu and mango butters. To ensure that your pucker stays flake-free, toss the long-lasting Nine Naturals Simply Natural Lip Balm in your bag as well.

Nine Naturals Fall Beauty for Moms-to-be | Mama Bird Box

Look the part on your fall adventures by borrowing beauty inspiration from the fall fashion runways, where the following trends ruled:

  • Ruby lips: No matter the hue—from cherry to burgundy—red lips are all the rage this fall. Choose from one of four red shades from Ilia Cosmetics, who offers certified-organic moisturizing lip products filled with bioactive botanicals.
  • Metallic shadows: Add a little shimmer and shine to your beauty routine by painting a wash of Vapour Organic Beauty Mesmerize Eye Shimmer in Firefly, which is formulated with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, all over your lids.
  • Flushed cheeks: A flawlessly flushed complexion can easily be achieved by dotting RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek (the Demure shade is perfection)—free of harmful chemicals, synthetic preservatives, synthetic vitamins, and genetically altered ingredients—on the apples of your cheeks.

There’s no wrong way to rock your fall beauty style, so have fun playing around with different colors, textures, and finishes. Show us your best fall bump beauty by tagging @NineNaturals and (@MamaBirdBox) on Instagram!