In the last few months, decluttering and creating a cleaner space has become such a big point of conversation. Thanks in part to Marie Kondo and her KonMari method, more people are thinking about their living spaces. And they're taking the steps to make their houses cleaner and less full of things they don't need. There is a certain calm that comes from living in a clean house. Adults understand the need for a clean house, but we rarely consider the effects living in a messy house may have on our children. Much like with adults, living in clutter definitely has an effect on children.
Sure, if you're in a kid's room, it may be hard to believe that clutter has any sort of effect on them. Many children live in some form of disarray — no matter how old they are. With young kids, it feels like they make a sport out of overturning any sort of order and organization parents may create for them. And we all know that teenagers live in literal garbage piles. But contrary to their actions, living in clutter isn't great for kids.
"A direct relationship has been established between clutter and tension. For some individuals, a more cluttered household may increase our stress levels," says psychologist Dr. Ryan Sinclair, PhD.
Getting kids to clean their rooms or play spaces can be a real challenge. But creating age appropriate expectations for them can make things easier. Sinclair mentions labeling bins toys belong in with pictures to make it clearer for children. Being specific with our instructions, like saying, "Please put all of your cars away," makes cleaning less overwhelming for them. Giving them clear and distinct directions means they can more easily follow your instructions.
When the bins are becoming too full, it is the perfect time to teach them a lesson about getting rid of things. Donating gently used toys is great. And understanding that toys with missing or broken pieces are no longer useful is hard but necessary.
In an interview with Romper, professional organizer Lisa Krohn explains "Clutter causes confusion, accidents, paralyzes children from making decisions, and creates anger and temper tantrums. Clutter is too hard to process. They can’t see the forest through the trees."
Giving kids the tools they need to alleviate the amount of clutter in their lives makes everyone happier. It may be a struggle at first, but in the long term, it will be extremely beneficial.