How To Overcome Mess And Declutter With Kids

I am forever trying to be a “minimalist” which means I am constantly decluttering. We recently found out we are moving to another country for the next 3 years and I’ve had to be more extreme about this because we simply cannot take all our things with us. If you’ve ever tried declutter or clean anything while your kids run around, you know it is a disaster that ends in frustration and sometimes tears.

I won’t lie, I love organizing. I want everything to have a home and only go in it’s home. I don’t mind a lot of things or even mess from when kids play but at the end of the day I want everything in its home. My kids don’t give a fuck where anything goes. What are homes? They don’t care. They put blocks in my couch and Legos in the dog bowl and store their favorite books in the microwave of their play kitchen. Still, I have to declutter because our move is happening. Some of the things I’ve found most useful in my efforts to declutter are:

Make a Declutter List

This is always my first order of business. I always make a list of what areas I want/need to declutter. Sometimes I add mini lists to my lists. I’ll include an example:

Example of lists and “mini lists”

Choose a Starting Point

Now that you have your super spiffy list, what are you going to do with it? You decide where is the best place to start. I always start somewhere I can close off like the bathroom or the pantry so if I don’t finish, it won’t be in my way all day taunting me. I usually just number my lists to make it easy for myself to prioritize. I start with the areas I can do quickly. For example:

After brainstorming, number by priority.

Commit to Small Areas

You don’t need to do it all at once. The best method I have found is choosing small portions to begin with. For example, if I’m doing the bathroom, I will start under the sink or the vanity so I can see progress quickly and continue to feel motivated. This is what works for me. Others may prefer to do the entire bathroom at once but my kids simply do not allow me to do that so I go slow and steady.

Set a Declutter Timeline

After I make my list and decide what is a priority I give each thing an estimate of time so I know where I should be with my decluttering. I try to give myself an extra day or two for each just in case I can’t do it one day or simply don’t feel like it.

Teach Your Family Where Things Live Now

This is one I had to learn the hard way. I forgot to tell my family where I had moved things to in the kitchen and then someone unloaded the dishwasher and everything went where it was before and everyone was confused. Learn from me, give your family a tour of the new system after your declutter.

Need a new storage system while you declutter? Check out Lil Helper bags, we’ve got a bag for every need and 10 ways to use them here.

Photo Credit: Katie F.

I know everyone’s decluttering works differently. This is what I have found works for me and my family. What are some tips and tricks that work for you when you declutter?


About the Author

Jessica is a Latinx mom to a boy and a girl. She currently lives in California with her husband, babies, and a super cuddly pup. She has many hobbies but her favorites include dancing, hiking, and true crime podcasts.


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