Clutter free with kids

A lot of people asked whether this was possible.

Clutter free and kids? That seem kind of like an oxymoron.

Similarly, when we first welcomed Ally into the family, there seemed to be so much stuff that we needed to prepare. Retailers telling us that we needed this and that and promoting to you the products which you probably didn’t know if you really need. Needless to say, as first time parents, we were easily swayed since we had no prior experience and everything kind  of sounded convincing.

Rewind this to 20-40 years back, when technology was yet so advanced, when working mums wasn’t so much of a norm, when there were not that many baby products available, how did we then survive?

I am of the school of thought that if we didn’t really have those items then, they could then be dispensable. Having said that, we still bought a steriliser, breastpump, milk warmer etc., gadgets that we thought would bring to us some level of convenience when learning to nurse and care for a newborn. And many of these items, unfortunately are rather bulky and space consuming.

When the child grows older, more stuff accumulates. Aside from the stuff which they outgrow (Eg. the steriliser, clothes etc.), we purchase more stuff. They are more responsive now and more reactive, and we start engaging them in all sorts of educating toys and gadgets etc.

Here are a few tips to stay clutter free:

  1. Prevent clutter from creeping in – One of the ways to prevent clutter from creeping in is to buy less stuff, or own less stuff. As Ally outgrows a lot of her toys, we haven’t been buying new ones either. Granted we might receive a few as gifts, but generally, we haven’t been purchasing them.
  2. Engage in more outdoor activities – As Dave mentioned in a previous post, we have been engaging in more outdoor activities with Ally, activities such as swimming, playing at the nearby community playground, or playing at the sandbox. These things doesn’t cost much. Perhaps just the initial set up cost of getting a sand bucket and a swimsuit but other than that, they are practically free. What’s more, your child get to enjoy the outdoors, get some creative play, and you get some family bonding time together!
  3. Educate your kid – It is pretty common for kids to kick a fuss at the local toy store trying to get their parents to buy for them the latest model of that Transformer or Barbie doll. Educate your kids. Do they already have one at home? If so, ask them why they need another one. Kids do not know the concept of buying nor money unless adults educate them. Use that as a good opportunity to educate them.
  4. Be a role model – I am a firm believer of the “monkey see, monkey do” protocol. Basically, kids see, mimic and absorb what they see and their environment. If they see the adults around them using money as a way and means to solve their everyday problems, naturally, they will come to learn and think the same way.

Are there any additional tips that you will like to share? Feel free to share them in the comment box below.

4 comments

  1. Great tips. Two that I’d add are: state ‘no presents please’ on kids party invites and, if there is a toy library near you, join it.

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    1. Great idea. Especially the no presents policy. Recalled an occasion in the past where Ally had received the same gift twice, but from different individuals.

      Like

  2. Hey Kate, I love the post. Especially post number 4, since too often adults do not realise how important it is to lead by example. Not just in cleanliness but general behaviour!

    Like

  3. Thanks, glad you find it useful. We think that sometimes, the easiest way to teach your kid is to lead by example. And also, they can’t retort with “why am I doing this when you aren’t even doing it so yourself?”. Kind of puts you in a tight situation.

    Like

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