Every busy parent understands just how hard it can be to maintain a clean, organized home. Always happy to pick up tips wherever I can, I was revitalized when I read the book (and then saw the Netflix original series) Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and I wanted to share some valuable tips with parents.
Do you want to say goodbye to mornings spent ransacking closets in a hasty search for shoes or coats? Would you like to avoid upending dresser drawers and just enjoy your living space in peace? If you want your home to be your sanctuary, then efficiency is key. These are the key takeaways for busy parents who want to learn from master organizer Marie Kondo.
Everyone has their role.
Children as young as 18 months can and should be responsible for cleaning their own space. Parents will need to help them organize and find designated areas for their belongings. The whole family is responsible for the house, so make it a family affair and clean together! Designate jobs according to ability — and don’t underestimate your kids! Children will surprise you with what they are capable of and are often eager to jump in given the opportunity.
Tip #1 — Go in Order
Rather than going room by room, Kondo says you’ll be more successful if you approach your clutter by type. Go category by category, starting with clothing, then books, miscellaneous stuff, papers, and ending with sentimental items. You can make exceptions or subcategories if needed, and busy parents may need to approach it in even smaller chunks.
Tip #2 — The Pile
The KonMari method from Tidying Up recommends approaching every category by putting everything into a big pile to take stock of what you have. This helps you realize what you actually need, what you don’t wear, and what you should get rid of. Unless you’re Mr. Rogers, you probably don’t need five sweaters that look the same.
Tip #3 — The Happy Test
When you pick up each item, does it spark joy? If not, perhaps you don’t need it. Lead by example with your own stuff, and then you can help your children do the same. Of course, young children might love every single toy in their stash, so in reality you may have to do some of the decluttering when they aren’t there to see. However, the experience of letting things go is a valuable learning tool, so pick your battles. Remind them that it might no longer bring them joy, but it might bring someone else joy.
Tip #4 — Give Everything a Home
KonMari emphasizes the importance of having a designated place for everything that you keep. From towels to tools to children’s toys, everything should be given a specific place so it can be put away when not in use. This is a good strategy for teaching your children to clean up after themselves and be more responsible for the items they own.
Tip #5 — Go Vertical
Most of your drawers, shelves, and cupboards have a huge amount of unused vertical space. Stand things up to take advantage of the real estate and to make the contents more visible. For clothing that is not hung up, Kondo recommends folding items into thirds and standing them up next to each other so that you don’t have to dig around looking for things.
Tip #6 — Tiny Boxes
The key to the Kondo method is micro organization. Think of how perfect your utensil organizer is for its purpose and its space; you don’t just dump all the spoons and forks into the drawer, do you? What if every drawer, closet, toybox, and shelf was just as organized? With tiny boxes, they can be! Dressers, desk drawers, and nightstands need not be cluttered!
Tip #7 — Organize by Size
In situations when you can’t stand things up, organize by size. When kids look in a closet or drawer, it’s easier to see and makes it simpler to put things back. One of the biggest obstacles to staying tidied up is keeping everything that way when you’re done!