How much, is too much? - Kids Bedroom Edition
Kids bedrooms can be a haven of stuffed toys, books, clothes and all sorts of other bits and bobs. No one really knows what those bits and bobs actually are, or where they came from ... but either way, things seem to pile up without us even noticing.
In the lead up to Christmas, it's the perfect time to get into the kids bedrooms and see what they have a lot of, and what they may need more of. This is a great way to start making a Christmas List and also will help out when friends and family ask the dreaded question - "what should I get little Suzie" for Christmas?!
Over the past 12 months I have become very intentional about what I bring into my home. As a budding Minimalist in training, I think more carefully than I ever have before. I pause before I purchase and consider what impact it is going to have on my life.
My girls are yet to develop such insight and understanding on questioning the things they bring into their bedroom. Things that they then need to care for, clean up and keep tidy. I lead by example and discuss with them regularly on the importance of 'letting go' of things that don't bring them complete joy, and leaving space for things that do.
So, how on earth do we decide how much is too much? Well, this will be very different for everyone. Certain variables need to be considered; size of a bedroom, whether it's a shared space, the size of the home, the age of the child etc etc. All these things and more will create a basis for what can be reasonably expected of your child and their bedroom.
Before we talk about what to get rid of and what to keep .. let's first look at the reasons why we would consider getting rid of some stuff in the first place.
1. It will make it easier for your child to tidy their own room.
2. Less 'stuff' in the bedroom, promoted better sleep patterns / behavior.
3. It will encourage your child to appreciate their things and pay attention to their individual value.
4. It creates a calm space for reflection and rest without the overwhelm of too much stuff.
5. Children can easily keep track of their things, and keep them safe.
Secondly. ditch the Mum guilt, you are not 'taking away' from your child, as much as you are 'giving' to them. Promoting value in our things and teaching our children to be mindful or consuming, is a life skill the will thank you for later in life.
So, where to start? I recommend starting with the wardrobe, it should be fairly easy to select the garments that are no longer required by considering the following; Size, Condition and do they actually wear it? There is no point keeping a dress that you love, but your child refuses to wear. It's taking up space, just let it go. The other thing you need to consider is your washing schedule, you know best whether you need your children to have 7 pairs of school socks, or 5 pairs of school socks. Think about the weekly routine and ensure not to put too much pressure on yourself. Socks and underwear are essentials, so if you are going to have extra of something these are the things!
On the other hand, your daughter probably doesn't need 10 dresses hanging in the wardrobe, when she has to wear her school uniform 5 days out of the week. It's about considering your lifestyle and making sensible choices. Children are easily overwhelmed, take some of the choice away by asking them to choose their favorite three dresses and let go of the rest. I've found that my girls enjoy this approach, it becomes like a game. Remember to make the process enjoyable, you do not want your child to feel like it is a punishment or reflection on them. Explain why you are doing it, but keep it simple. For example; "we are going to clean out your wardrobe, because we have lots, and we can pass some clothes onto people who don't".
If your child struggles with the concept of letting go of their things, start slowly, ask them to choose one thing to remove from the wardrobe, and continue this each week until you reach a place where you are happy.
Once you have done the wardrobe, move onto the other things in the room, perhaps there are stuffed toys that can be removed? Use the same process as for the clothes, but keep in mind Children are more likely to be more attached to toys than clothing, so this may be more challenging for them, and therefore you. Again, approach with compassion and understanding. This is not about getting rid of your children's favorite things. It is simply getting them to look at their things and consider whether they still NEED them or LOVE them enough to keep.
I've found with my girls there is 5 major categories of 'stuff' that needed de-cluttering; Clothing, and Shoes, Stuffed Toys, Other Toys, Stationary and Books. These 5 categories are constantly monitored and de-cluttered on a regular basis. Things creep in, between hand me downs, birthdays and a trip to the op shop or two ... it's important to be revisiting and keeping on top of the clutter.
Like I mentioned earlier, there is no ideal number of things that should be in a kids bedroom, there is a lot to consider, and each child is different. Consider carefully and ensure to take the right approach for your child. The aim is to create a safe, happy, calm space for your child to play and sleep. Keep this in mind during the process and it will help to get you through!
Thanks for reading.