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Simplify: Kids’ Stuff

It’s here! Welcome to the first week of Project Simplify. Where I am, the weather is nearing into spring, but the flowers haven’t yet bloomed and there’s the very real chance of snowfall on any given day. Unpredictable. And a great time of year to freshen up our homes.

Our goal for the month is not to have a perfect house—because that will never happen. (At least it won’t in my house, with my clan living here.) Our purpose is to take a few intentional steps to declutter, clean, and organize four specific hotspots, which will hopefully give us that boost to continue with the rest of our home into April and May.

I hope it will encourage all the people in your household to take ownership of their living space. And I hope you spend a bit of this time bonding with each other. And I hope you don’t get frustrated.

Well, you probably will get a little frustrated, because there are times in the decluttering process where you wonder why on EARTH you have that thing, and can’t wait to finally send it to its new home at the thrift store.

Or you might need to look yourself square in the eye and dig deep for the reasons it’s so hard for you to let go of stuff. Perhaps it’s holding more meaning than it was ever intended to do so?

Or in this week’s case, you may need to lead your children by example and help them process why they want to keep every drawing and every rock and every Highlights magazine.

Kids’ stuff

I honestly was going to skip kids’ stuff this year, but I was blown away by how many of you begged for us to tackle this area. We did it last year, so I wanted to focus on something else.

But the more I thought of it (and the more I looked around my own house), I decided you were right. Kids’ stuff has the audacity to get everywhere. It’s small and has many pieces and is used constantly.

Plus, so many of us are parents, and I think it’s a great way to start off our month of cleaning—helping our brood learn necessary life skills.

A note: If you don’t have kids at home, no worries. Instead, focus on your own personal stuff—your wardrobe, or whatever else you’d find in your master bedroom. I wrote some tips about tackling that area during last year’s Project Simplify.

A few tips for your week:

1. Go a little at a time.

Don’t empty out your kid’s entire room—it’ll be overwhelming, and at some point you’ll have to stop, and then you’ll be stuck with stuff all out of place. Take small bites.

And actually, this goes for every hotspot this week.

2. Get them involved. Or not.

If your kids are old enough, or if they’d really care about certain items, have them do all this with you—pick an area of their room, and have them separate items into “keep,” “toss,” and “donate.” Use cardboard boxes, so that there’s finite space.

A caveat to this is if your kids are really young—there’s a chance they’d be more in the way than helpful. It’s impossible for me to go through all our puzzles and board games when my toddler is awake, for example, so that’ll be a naptime or evening project for me.

3. Show your struggles, too.

Talk with your kids about how it’s sometimes hard for you to let go of stuff, too. Share a specific example—the shirt in your closet that’s still too small, or the button collection from Aunt Elsa you took home only out of politeness.

It’ll help the kids see that letting go of stuff is a normal struggle, and that you’re walking right alongside them.

4. Make it fun for them.

Play music they like. Talk about fun stuff as you work in their rooms. Reward them with pizza and a movie at the end of the week. Encourage; don’t manipulate or condemn.

My plan

Our kids don’t have a lot of toys, but they do manage to amass random craft projects, party favors, and the like. Our game and puzzle collection is also a mess, thanks to a clever little 20-month-old who’s figured out where those things are stored. And, I need to pass along or store clothes that no longer fit, and pull down from storage the next garments in line.

Your turn

If you’d like to use my book, Organized Simplicity, for inspiration about the three step process of decluttering, cleaning, and organizing, well, that’d be fine by me. In fact, Amazon has the Kindle version on sale right now for $8.99, and Barnes & Noble has the Nook version for $2.99.

And specific for this week, chapter 13 goes into detail about dealing with kids’ stuff. But it’s not necessary for this series, so don’t feel pressured. You can completely immerse yourself into Project Simplify without the book.

On Friday and Saturday of this week, you’ll be able to share your before and after photos with all of us (more details on how are here, but I’ll remind you how again this weekend).

On Sunday, I’ll draw one random participant, who’ll receive this week’s reward—a set of Lay-n-Gos! I adore mine, and I’ll show you more how they work for us on Friday.

I’m excited to share this month with you!

Update: See my before and after photos from this week’s hotspot here!

What particular items this week—toys, clothes, books, or whatever—do you anticipate being the most challenging?

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Archer

    Love, love, LOVE this series. I can’t tell you how much emotional freedom I experienced from doing this last year. It really fed my motivation buckets in all areas of my life. I love how doing projects like these can really free you up in other areas of your life, which is what it did for me. So many of these projects got put on the back burner while I had 28 credit quarters in med school, and things just built up. I was so excited for this week that I finished all our kid stuff today (including a trip to the thrift store that has already taken place)!

    • Tsh

      Wow… that’s impressive!

  2. Naomi

    We are in the process of moving, so this post is timely since we need to declutter like NO ONE’s business!! 🙂

  3. Erica

    I just found your blog last week, and I think I’m going to try joiningg the Project. I really need it. My house is overwhelming me, and I just don’t know where to start, so following along will help. I’ve already been trying to keep getting rid of excess stuff, but I think I need to dig deeper. And also get some organization tactics in place.

  4. Liz

    toys for sure. well, maybe books. but probably toys. we are gifted things that i just don’t love for the kids – stuff that goes against our values, like bratz dolls, never makes it to the play area, but other things that are just cheap-y and un-creative and ugly…those are harder, especially when the givers ask my kids how they are liking their toys. it’s so hard! i’m thinking a rotation might be in order? we’ll see!

  5. Alia Joy

    I’m so bummed that I won’t be able to actively participate in the first couple of these but I’m planning on having the kids go through some of their stuff anyway while I lay on their beds and boss them around. Just kidding, well sort of.

    • Erin

      Haha! I enjoy that method as well!

    • Tsh

      Alia, after the winter you’ve had, I think you deserve it. 😉

  6. Nina

    I live in a house built in the 1980’s. Like many “modern” houses, we have more closets than necessary. There is a linen closet in the upstairs hallway and that is where we keep all the toys for my two children, a boy and a girl. I’m sharing because it has worked wonders for my kids. All their toys are stored in that closet. They know where the toys can be found and where the toys are to be put back. Plastic baskets hold the toys with parts; legos, polly pockets, blocks and such.

    We have only one set of sheets for each bed and five bath towels, this frees up the linen closet.

    • Yelena

      Nina, I love your idea. I can’t say we have a ton of closet space, but we do have a closet in the family room that I can spare. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about all the toys that took over the room anyway. Thank you!

    • Chris

      Feel free to pass some closet space my way! My house has zilch. We have five closets, including two linen closets. Two of the bedroom closets are essentially worthless. I often wonder if we’d be better off taking the doors off the closets and putting an armoire in each of those rooms!

      That said, our bedrooms are huge, so I am always working finding eye candy storage solutions. We have space to put everything out in the open, just like to enjoy looking at it!

    • Janet Oslon

      Can I just say jealous to the more closets than necessary. I have either lived in houses build in the 50’s or tiny apartments, neither of which abound in storage. When we have worked Financial Peace University and can afford a new home, I am going to strongly suggest building a home with more closets than one can ever hope for.. lol. And kudos on getting the kids to put toys back…. my son is three and has OCD, but that does not extend to putting away of toys… sadly.

  7. Ericka Winston

    I am in love with your site. I read every update using my RSS reader. I am going to try and participate this week and hopefully the upcoming weeks. My daughter has a ton of toys and we have such small space for them. Can’t wait for Friday to come so I can post photos! I am also going to blog about it on my own site. I am hoping to get my Living room back!

  8. Nova

    Perfect timing! I’ve mostly got our toys & school supplies under control, but clothes.. oh my the clothes!! We don’t go overboard buying things, but with 4 kids & plenty of hand-me-down donors, we end up with a lot! And I like to sew & knit for them, so we don’t even end up using everything that we stash for subsequent kids. So I’m going to start the project by doing a full kids clothing destash & inventory, so I know exactly what I do actually need to source, and can get rid of anything extraneous! If I complete that early I’ll tackle their games and finished artworks.

  9. Melissa

    YESSSSSSS!! Cannot WAIT to get started! Woot!!

  10. Courtney

    I am all in – this was THE area that I am needing to focus on teh most right now so the timing is perfect. Toys, of course are a biggie. But I am also really working on the need to declutter our clothes. With laundry being so much a struggle for me I see that a big part of it is that we have WAY more clothing than we need. Add that to my three boys’ tendency to wear 10 outfits a day – we have a stressed out mama who abhors never being caught up on this area of my life. That is my big focus this week. Can’t wait to get started – see you on Friday!

  11. Elizabeth

    Does anyone have any suggestions of where to donate both used and unopened toys? I am so excited to participate in the project this year!

    • Christy

      I donate toys to our public library. Some are kept in the story room and others are in a closet for the Moms club and other groups to use.

    • Janet Oslon

      we have a local consignment shop that donates all proceeds beyond operating costs to family’s in need, so I donate there, and what ever does not meet the resale criteria they are willing to take to place that accept it. That way not only do you benefit (ie getting money to use to buy cloths that currently fit your child, but needy people also benefit). I am sure if you do an internet search or ask at consignment shops where the money goes, you can find something like this. I live in Salem Oregon, so if you life int hat area let me know and I can tell you where I take my stuff.

  12. Jennifer

    After the birth of my fourth baby (over a year ago) the clutter has taken over. I desperately need this, thank you for providing the resource and much needed inspiration:)

  13. Helen

    What great timing. I have a kiddo home from school this week for vacation. We have tons of stuffed animals and old clothes to get out of here. Thanks!

  14. Southern Gal

    Toys and books are huge challenges in this house. We are book lovers and there’s a library sale coming up. Determining which books are really worth the space is a hard choice. I’ve been better about it, but it’s still hard. The toys. Well, let’s just say my youngest inherited his older brothers old room and it wasn’t empty when that happened. 😉

  15. Rebekah from Simply Rebekah

    I started this process yesterday and moved my 2yo’s puzzles to a new spot. This morning she found them and scolded me to “clean up!” She started moving the puzzles back to the old spot. At least she likes things to be in the right place. 🙂

  16. Cheri

    I enjoy decluttering and did a bunch before we installed laminate in our home (1800sf!) I decided I didn’t want to reshuffle things 3 times, so I did as much as I could before the installation. It’s so freeing!
    (I noticed the MF cup in your 2nd photo- love that place! 🙂 )

  17. Dottie

    Oh boy was this ever timely! I found this project through Pinterest and I immediately grabbed the decluttering button and placed it on my blog. Today I officially threw my hat into the ring to do this. My son is 19 and has autism so we do have some decluttering and organizing to do for him, but since mom is a big kid with toys of her own (read craft supplies) I will be working on that this week as well. Thank you so much for the challenge!

    • Julia

      “Mom is a big kid with toys of her own (craft supplies)” So true for me, too! And they really are my ‘toys’. Thanks for that perspective, I’ll spend some time with my own toys this week, since we stay on top of the child’s.

    • Janet Oslon

      Haha Love the mom’s toys… as I was cleaning my living room today, I realized that my yarn had taken over… I to shall consider my toys in this week too…

  18. Mitzi

    Perfect timing!!! I did your book last year and loved it and the results. However, as I was looking around the house last week I realized it is time to do a major clean out again. I’m amazed at how quickly we fill up space at our house with stuff. I just finished several writing projects and I was thinking this month I would focus more on my home instead of work. Then I saw your post from Incourage this morning, perfect timing!

  19. Julie Jordao

    I don’t have kids yet, so I’ll be tackling my future kids’ future room! Sounds silly, I know, but I am so excited, I can’t wait one more week to start. Plus, my craft room is in serious need of purging!

  20. Shari Cook

    Oh, I can’t wait! This is certainly needed in this house as I was hoping to have my kids go through their rooms over this past weekend. Baby steps are a must this week since both kids have school. But, I’m sure we’ll get it taken care of!

  21. Melissa W

    So excited to get started on this again! I loved it last year. Thanks for the motivation!

  22. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm

    I was excited to tackle Eleanor’s closet and toy area this week anyway (because oh boy do they need it!), but then my M-I-L texted me yesterday to say she’s picking E up to take her out for a grandma lunch date today. Now I have 2 toddler-uninterrupted hours to tackle the problem, woohoo!

    • Tsh

      Awesome! Enjoy.

  23. Kika@embracingimperfection

    All of it will be hard for my six year old who does not like change. Although we regularly have a box on the go for our local “take it or leave it” and another for the thrift shop, I still think we could pare down the toys by half. My kids are spread out in ages and when the big kids can’t part with something, they somehow “gift it” to my youngest 🙂 Neat trick.

  24. Steph

    This is just the extra motivation I need to get moving on my daughter’s clothes and toys!

  25. Melissa W

    Got started already! So excited to get rocking and rolling on these hot spots!!

  26. Janel

    So excited to get started! Our home, which we moved into 2 years ago, is about 500 sq feet too big for me to maintain (it’s 2800 sq ft, a split level). It’s large enough that we have developed multiple places for storing similar items, such as linens (bathrooms on level 1, 3, and 4), children’s toys (level 1, 2, and 4), books (ALL levels), diapering equipment and baby clothes (level 1 and 4), linens (level 3 and 4). It’s overwhelming.

    My plan this week is to focus on the kids’ toys first. Although the clothes are always in need of attention, I like to do that with the girls’ help (they are 8 and 5) because I am trying to help them learn how to make decisions about keeping vs. purging, and they don’t learn it if I sneak things out. Toys, on the other hand, are just so much easier to deal with on my own. 🙂

    Biggest challenge: consolidating toys to a couple of spots and imparting to the kids the importance of returning things to their places.

  27. Suz Ness

    Oh, the thought! See, I could just focus on the baby’s toys….but if I am honest I have an entire BASEMENT full of stuff for the older girls! I am going to start small, work on the baby stuff first, then go downstairs!

  28. Elisha

    working on my kiddos toys and books and hopefully move onto my 2 year olds room and ALL the clothes I have in there 🙂

  29. Julie @ The Family CEO

    My kids are 16 and 20 now, but I do so well remember the days of Legos and Barbies and all the stuff from birthday party goodie bags. And even though they’re pretty much responsible for simplifying their own stuff now, we did years of editing together and we still have a designated spot in our house for donations that everyone uses.

    Great project, Tsh!

  30. Sara Coffey

    Perfect initial focus! We’re getting ready for baby 2 and so I’m constantly torn between saving everything our 2 year old has and getting rid of everything to have more space for little baby needs! Biggest issue: way way too many toys, especially electronic things. My girl loves anything she hasnt seen in a while so I can’t declutter these with her around. I think I need to pack up at least a tote or 2 so I can just rotate toys, and some more to go to Goodwill. Realistically, baby 2 does not need to be totally inundated either, and people will buy things for his/her birthdays etc too. And I think our children play more deeply with things when there are fewer of them. Will attempt to get to kid toys this week!

    • Sara

      OK, yesterday was a great foray into this. Ran by the store for 3 new (and cheap) totes, and got ALL the toys for Baby 2 put into one of them. Divided my almost 2 year old daughter’s toys into 2 storage totes plus the 3 containers she has out–music toys, wood and puzzle toys, and soft toys. Put some stuff that has migrated back in her room. They are still awfully full but you can see what she has now and they are easier to move/clean etc. I think we still need to do some purging though!
      For more on this project we need to: see what other baby 2 toys are lurking in the garage, as I imagine we have more. Sort/purge those and add to the tote. Continue getting rid of other toys of my daughter’s by seeing what she still really enjoys as we begin rotating them. Her birthday is in May so I imagine there will be a new influx then–good to downsize now!

  31. Our Muddy Boots

    Thank you for deciding to tackle kids stuff again. It is, by far, the most overwhelming of our possessions. My husband and I know we need to deal with all the STUFF, but have been having such a hard time determining both how to start, and how to find the motivation to start.

    Thanks for providing both!

  32. Louisa @ Parenting Space

    Lovely tips Tsh, great ways to break down a seemingly daunting task into something manageable. Tip number 1 is my favourite tip that I use, as a kid I would always see my dad doing the opposite of that, which as you say can be horrible and even counterproductive when you need to stop and find you have more mess than when you started!

  33. Bernice @ Living the Balanced Life

    I have a tip for puzzles! (those less than 50 pieces) Once you get them all sorted, mark on the back of the pieces of the puzzle, using either a number (one puzzle has all 1s, next has all 2s) or use a colored mark. This way when a little makes a mess with the puzzles, it is easier to clean up and sort them out!

    • Tsh

      Ooh… I like that.

    • Ashlee

      We do this too! Ours are shapes though, so we get our nearly 3 year old involved in the clean up. “Put all the pieces with the triangle here” 🙂 It’s wonderful!

  34. Amanda Ginn

    I think the art supplies will be the toughest for me. I hate waste, and throwing out paper, broken crayons, and dried playdoh feels so wasteful.

    But also wasteful is having all this junk piled up. If I’m discouraging my kids from doing artwork simply because I hate having to dig through it all, I’m wasting my children’s natural love of creativity and play.

    Time to simplify!

  35. CAZ

    So excited to participate in this! Our family (with twin preschoolers) really needs to organize better than we have. Thank you!

  36. Julia @the BackLoop

    This is perfect! I’m tackling the clothes first. I have a huge bag where I toss clothes they’ve out grown (my kids are 3 1/2 and 14 months so they out grow something every few minutes). I’ve had “plans” to put someof the best stuff in boxes and send them to a friend who’s expecting thir first baby.

    We also don’t have many toys. A big issue used to be the mini-cars that were everywhere but I bought one of those behind-the-door shoe holders we’ve now dubbed the “car pockets.” Problem solved.

  37. Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds

    You just HAD to start with the toughest area, didn’t you? lol. I better get started. thanks for helping me kick my but in gear.

    • Kika@embracingimperfection

      Funny, I had that thought too;) Starting with something neutral like the kitchen or closets would be less emotional. My six year old did great yesterday but then meltdown came in the evening.

  38. Jen W

    Just took my before photos and it was a revelation! There are kids things everywhere. The only room that has escaped the onslaught is the master bathroom. Something about looking through the lense of the camera helped me see this more clearly than I see it day to day. The afters are going to be amazing!

    • Tsh

      It’s funny how looking at it square in the face via camera helps you see things as they really are, eh? I do that with outfits, too. If I’m not sure how an outfit works on me, I’ll take a quick picture. Somehow, that helps me see it better than just through a mirror.

  39. Sara Tetreault

    Our kids (early teens) have purged all of their toys and books from their younger years. It does eventually happen where they stop playing with their sweet little toys and that chapter of clutter is done. I did sort through their items and keep special ones (and all the doll clothes I had made!). The majority of children’s books we gave to a church which is also a community center and when I’m there for a meeting or coffee, it warms my heart to hear parents reading our old books to their kids.

  40. RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup

    Our toys are pretty much down to Legos, but you probably know how those can take over and end up everywhere. (The LaynGo looks great for Legos) Anyway, Son #4’s room could use some work to extract Legos from the storage for sheets, clothing, etc. That’s where I’m starting TODAY.

    • Tsh

      We use the big Lay-n-Go for our LEGO… It’s perfect. I want Lay-n-Gos for everything now. 🙂

  41. Vicki

    I am very excited about all of this. My two youngest children have just left home (my two older ones have been gone for a long time), so I thought ‘kids’ stuff mightn;t be relevant. Then I thought about the stuff they all seem to store here and then i thought about the stuff I store of bits and pieces from their childhood. So I have given myself the challenge of tidying it all up and storing it or throwing it so it doesn’t always seem to be taking over when they aren’t here!

  42. Sarah H.

    Many months back I put every single toy that my three kids own into ten plastic totes. I started a toy rotation and it has been great. However I still feel like we have a ton of toy clutter. I need to figure something out once and for all. I think if I just had a good way to lay it out, it would be better. I just feel like toys are everywhere.

  43. Amy

    We started on this area of our home last night. I had my two older children (ages 9 and 6) write a list of 5 toys (excluding books, board games and electronics) that were their favorites. Our plan is to remove all other toys from their room and start with just these 5. Wish me luck;)

  44. Amber

    We’re getting ready to move in a couple of months and taking this opportunity to declutter so the packing and moving is easier. Thanks for guiding us through this journey!

  45. Kelly

    Okay…I am finding out the gender of my new baby (due August) tomorrow…if it is a girl…the purge will be massive and difficult…if it is a boy, it will be less difficult this time since I will get to keep so much! The toys are another matter…that is going to be tough not matter what! Seriously…where does all this stuff come from? I feel like I don’t shop that often…but yet each year it seems to expand! I need to find me some boxes before the day is out…down the recycle depot of my office building I go!

  46. Kaelin

    I can’t wait to get started! I’ve been revamping my studio space after moving into a new house in the fall- and the house has never really been put into order. Project Simplify is just the thing to help me focus instead of doing everything all at once.

    (Although, you should know I clicked on the Kindle link, and your awesome book is $2.99 not $8.99. Thanks for the sale!)

    For kids puzzles, I store the pieces in Ziploc gallon freezer bags, with the picture from the lid inside , in a flip lid coffee table. The bags stay closed, and the kids don’t have to worry about making them fit perfectly in the box. I figure they’re going to paw through them anyway- why not just prevent them from dumping? Works perfectly with close to 60 different puzzles…

  47. Victoria

    I am glad you mentioned concentrating on one hot spot at a time within the kids rooms. I knew I was not going to have time to attack all the children’s belongings, so I choose just the 2 most pressing areas, the boys closet, and all the build up of no longer fitting clothes in the attic. I managed to complete both tasks on Saturday, and I must admit I went to bed feeling lighter! am I the only one who feels like that after decluttering?

  48. Kelli

    I started with a first run through the kid-art yesterday. Baby steps. Now for all the shelves and boxes of books, puzzles and toys… I wanted to say thank-you for introducing me to the idea of “twaddle.” I am a horrible about tossing books but recognizing that some books just are just as bad as bad-cartoons has helped me to gain perspective. Your book and project simplify are going to be a big help as we organize for our move 2900 miles from the east to west coast. Thanks you!

  49. Nadene

    I get “itchy” at the change of seasons and just before birthdays. It is a sign that we need to simplify and clear through our stuff.
    Just recently we tackled my youngest child’s “mountains”. I wrote about how I encourage my children to take Small Steps to tackle large jobs and simplify and sort through their stuff. We use the same approach to tackle other tasks and skills and it works well!

  50. Stephenie

    I am trying to get excited, while also trying not to panic. This morning I threw out all the fast food toys. Whew, what a feeling! Now if only I can persuade my girls that they really don’t NEED all the toys they have and perhaps we should share some with children who don’t have many toys. So far that approach has not flown high with them. But I will keep trying.

  51. Sabrina

    I am so excited to be able to participate this time!!!

  52. Alexandra Howard

    I’m joining the challenge and I have a giveaway on my blog!!! I did this last year and it was truly a blessing!! I combined a 40 bags in 40 days and this challange together, which made it great to have a goal to reach!!! Happy decluttering!!

  53. Seriously Sassy Mama

    I have chosen to start in the kitchen. We are moving this summer, and the kitchen is where we tend to pile junk. Our kitchen table is full of crafts, baseball cards, my computer and camera. I would like to eat dinner on it soon!

    • Tsh

      That’s fine with me! Just so you know, week 2 will be the kitchen, so feel free to take pics so that you can share them next week.

  54. Dee T

    Alright — this isn’t going to be easy, but I’m game!

  55. Jen

    I can’t wait to get going. I keep the kid’s toys pretty timeless and current, but I think the art and craft supplies-both theirs and mine-will be tricky.

  56. Karen

    I was recently forced to empty all of our bedrooms and playroom when we got new flooring. As time consuming as it was, it became a wonderful experience! My boys (5 and 7) realized they liked the “openness” of their playroom and as I put only some (30-50%) back, they liked being able to find things easily. I’ve been trying to empty out for so long but they are now totally on board with it. Now, to get my hubby on board…. LOL

  57. Mackenzie

    Love this idea and I’m joining in! Can’t wait to get rid of some stuff 🙂

  58. Allison

    I love your website. I am trying to organize our kid stuff right now so this post was perfect timing. I am wondering where you got your storage cubbies and buckets because they look huge and wonderful, I have been looking at cubbie (am I even spelling that right?) storage for a long time and that’s the first I’ve seen that looks perfect. If you could tell, I would so love that! Thanks!

  59. Andrea G

    Love this series, even though I am really good at keeping the clutter down. I am following it because I may be missing something! 🙂

  60. Michelle

    Thank you! I love this series. I just went through a big declutter of the kids rooms not too long ago, well actually the whole house. But clutter is constant. Jumped in a collected a large gift bag of boys clothes for my nephews and girls clothes for donation. Whoot!

  61. Rebecca

    I have a 3 yr old and one on the way. I’m a little overwhelmed at all the organization that needs to happen in the next few months since they will be sharing a room. I guess I need to pick either the clothes, toys/books, or closet. I’m leaning toward closet since it’s a catch all right now.

  62. oh amanda {impress your kids}

    OK. Totally forgot you were doing this but oh happy day, yesterday we started decluttering our play/schoolroom. I even took a trek to Ikea today to tackle some of our overwhelming stuff.

    Now, about that before photo…

  63. Bridget

    We are in. Perfect timing as the kids & I are planning to declutter & gather items for the tornado victims in our area. You will be our guide. Thanks.

  64. Prerna

    Totally doing this with ALL of you. While I just have the one 4 yo, I feel she has more toys and games than she really plays with or needs. Thanks for this, Tsh!

  65. Jen@Creative and Curious Kids!

    This is timely! I was just thinking about decluttering my girls room today. It is so bad that you can’t even walk in their room- so much stuff- books, toys, clothing, crafts, etc- so overwhelming. It needs a good cleaning and then some!


  66. Ashlee

    I need to go through ALL these areas! I’m most nervous about the kids clothes. Our nearly 3 year old is so skinny she fits in almost any clothes (even our 3 month olds clothes, obviously not correctly, but they do physically fit). So it’s boxing those things that are getting to worn more then actually ‘outgrown.’

  67. Yelena

    This is so tough! I’m good at decluttering my own stuff. But it’s hard to get my 5-year old to part with any of his stuff. To make matters worse, his birthday was less than a month ago and he’s still getting belated gifts. But I’m going to have to think of something. Wish me luck!

  68. Michelle

    Toys will be the toughest. The ones I’m attached to she doesn’t play with! 😉 And, I’m amazed how much one child can amass considering we buy her very little. I guess it’s all from grandparents and friends!

    • Pracades

      Michelle, I am the same way! All our beautiful wooden toys the kids hardly touch, but I wouldn’t dream of getting rid of them. Maybe if I got rid of some their other junk, they would play with the nice toys out of desperation!!

  69. Mike

    Good tips. Kid stuff definitely has a way of turning into clutter. I’ve got three kids. The two older ones became highly motivated to clean and clear out clutter after we told them that we were going to have a garage sale and they could keep all of the money from whatever they sold. They spent an entire afternoon just sorting through their piles of “stuff” without my even having to say a word. Our youngest is just 5, but even he was OK with getting rid of unwanted “baby” toys when he learned he could keep the money he would earn.

  70. Kristi

    I have a 14 month old and am so overwhelmed by the clothes. There are so many categories. Onesies, long sleeved onesies, pajamas, baby legs, fancy dresses, plain dresses, blouses, shorts, tops, etc. She just grew out of, she’s growing into, I want to donate, I want to save, my friend gave me, I want to give away, stained but I like the fabric. Stuff that she’s way too young for. I already have a double pole and boxed compartments. She may need a complete overhaul. Sigh….I think it’s just the beginning.

  71. Meredith

    I’m in! This is the first time my children, ages 4 and 5, have actually picked out toys to donate. In the past, they weren’t ready to part with anything… they also went through their boxes and picked out papers to throw out! Progress! My goal is to find a ‘home’ for every single toy… especially the random ones that aren’t part of a set!

  72. Sara Jane

    I just re-organized all my kids toys since we moved their playroom downstairs. BUT we need to downsize the baby doll collection. I don’t know how we will do it as my daughter remembers every single doll she has (by color, i.e. pink baby, polka dot baby, etc.) and she is very attached to all of them. I just think it’s a little creepy to walk into her room and see 15+ dolls all looking at you :).

  73. Andi

    I just read your book last month and it totally inspired me to start detattching and decluttering. All this stuff has been weighing me down! Parting with the toys that were mine that I saved for my kids is always the hardest. Barbies were my favorite growing up, but my husband does not want our girls to play with them. I recently sold a big box full of stuff to a friend and it felt awesome!

  74. Sleeping Mom

    Thankfully we don’t have a ton of kid stuff so I don’t even have any plans to donate or throw anything out, but I AM on the lookout for better storage systems. My little guy has these magnetic alphabet links that of course has some 200 pieces of them that he likes to dump out all at once, every day. The bucket that holds all the pieces is in terrible condition so I’d like to replace that.

    I’m starting to do more crafts with him especially now that he has his own child-size table and chairs to work on. I’ll also need a storage system for that area so that all the craft bits aren’t strewn around everywhere. Just think morning I think I counted about three feathers in the most random places!

  75. Pracades

    I am in desperate need of this! I woke up this morning in desperation for order to our chaotic home. My lovely MIL bought me your book about a month ago and I picked it up today and finally decided to start implementing some of your ideas. I hopped over to the site to download the daily docket and found this post. Just the inspiration I need. The hardest part of this weeks task will definitely be my six-year-old son who doesn’t want to get rid of ANYTHING. In fact, just yesterday I bought him some new underwear, which he desperately needed. He go to pick them out and was very excited about them until he discovered we were throwing away his old underwear! He cried! No joke. I’m going to try to use your tips to see if I can convince him to stop holding on to all of his stuff. Thanks Tsh!


    I’m always looking for any tips I can find on simplifying my kids stuff!! It’s an ongoing challenge but I’m getting there step by step!

  77. rebekah hamon

    I just finished helping my kid’s organize the last cluttery spots in their room (3 girls in a normal size room). We went just through their “special drawers”, organizing them and deciding what they’d each like to have at their fingertips all the time. For one girl, it is craft stuff, for another, american girl dolls and clothes, and for another, just miscellaneous treasures. We also weeded out their clothes, and got rid of what they don’t like, even if it is their size. Feels great!
    Got your book from the library, and am going to get my own copy. Great book!!! It is the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time, and that is saying something, because I read all the of organizing/house books I can get my hands on.

  78. Barbara F

    My copy of Organized Simplicity just arrived and already red One bite at a time!
    I’m really glad I found this blog! I am from Portugal and we are going through a major economic crisis, so to simplify is not only welcome but necessary!
    I am trying to enter the Project Simplify and I hope to go through it till the end. It will be difficult will my 27 and 7 months old babies at home but I will give it a try!
    Thanks for sharing your tips and goals.
    Barbara F

  79. Bettina

    Kid stuff is definitely worth a project. My older one starts with school this year and we just now begin to let her know how to keep a table empty (her later place to do homework). Good to know we still have a couple of months to try, but it’s a troublesome job, when you see that the kids have a completely different sense for the arrangement of personal things.

  80. Tiffany

    I’m so excited for this! We just moved, and with every move comes pre and post purging for us. I thought there wasn’t going to be much to get rid of (and really there hasn’t been a lot of our daughter’s things), but we have accumulated 7 boxes of clothes (we use her closet as storage) to donate so far. We already had a friend come by and he took nearly all my husband’s clothes, and we have 2 boxes of baby girl clothes and 1 bag of toys heading off to a new home today. All that’s left is to arrange her room and decorate the walls.

  81. Sarah E. White

    I just reported on my efforts so far. My playroom is looking much, much nicer now (and it only took me 35 minutes, over two days). Tomorrow I’m starting on her closet, which may take a little longer… 🙂

  82. Janet Oslon

    I think this project came just in time for me. My home has been a disaster and I have been overwhelmed as to tackling the mess… it is almost to the point of what this OCD person would call disgusting (granted I do have high standards so it might just best be called messy).

    I have way to much stuff, and have really been trying to get rid of stuff for a year now (since I did most of the last project and got your book). Various family things seem to keep getting in the way, but this year I am making a promise to my self to complete this project and get mystuff done… When I have tackled the kids stuff tomorrow I shall take pictures and update my blog and link it here.

    Thank you so much for doing this… I need the motivation and the encouragement of others doing the same thing.

  83. Leanne

    I know that the dining room isn’t on the shortlist but reading the zerowaste home blog inspired me to take a look at my china cabinet. I have china that my mother started collecting for me when i was younger and crystal stemware that we received as wedding gifts. But here’s the thing…we don’t really use either set. I would love to store other usable items in that cabinet

  84. JulieB

    Help! Need some help to get started today in my kids’ rooms….I’m overwhelmed with the piles and baskets of clothing (for 5 kids, ages 13,10,9,7 and 3) at this point!! We have piles everywhere…wishing we could at least purge the winter and move on to spring clothing. Temps flucuate between 60’s and 30’s these days..any advice?

    • Leanne

      Julie, we did the winter clothing yesterday and I found that for outerwear there were only a couple of hats and scarves that we really wear anyway. Other than keeping the ones that are functional, like a balaclava and the aviator hat, we kept our 2 favorite touques and gave away the others. This favorite hat point was reinforced this morning when our 6 year old went to put on one of others she kept and fiddled with it for a while, only to go back to the old standby. If you give them guidance like that, you may find its easier for them. The other thing we did was give a small basket of keep. It was easier to visualize what she could keep, instead of keep one of these and one of those.

      Good luck!

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