Clutter and children have a strong correlation. It begins the day they come home from hospital.
How is it that you bring a tiny new human being into your home and with them comes all this stuff!
Toys, clothes, bottles, pacifiers, bed linens, books, stuffed animals, you name it. We have reached material saturation according to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the everyday lives of families.
The clutter might begin in the closet, basement, attic or drawers but then it spills out onto our table tops, counters and floors. We currently have more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world! Our children's stuff is at the top of our clutter piles.
Each new child in a household leads to a 30 percent increase in a family's inventory of possessions during just the preschool years alone! There are several reasons for this increase:
1. Parental guilt because of working outside the home;
2. Generous grandparents.
The United States has 3.1 percent of the world's children. However, US families purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally on an annual basis. The toys can spill out from their bedrooms and play rooms into living rooms, dining rooms, the kitchen and parents' bedroom.
There is a sense among working parents that they have less time to spend with their children, causing them to shower their kids with toys to compensate for a perceived loss of quality time at home.
Aside from that, other relatives contribute to children's collections of material items. Grandparents alone spent about $500 or more, per child, per year, on toys, clothes, books and other gifts. Due to the high divorce rate in this country, many children end up getting gifts from multiple sets of grandparents. If children divide their time between two households, they tend to have double the amount of possessions, as well.
The influx of objects is relentless. The outflow, not so much. We need to develop rituals and mechanisms for getting rid of stuff.
Here are some solutions:
1. Have grandparents purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy.
2. Review the inventory accumulated every 6 months. Get rid of clothes that no longer fit, toys that no longer work, books that are no longer read, school papers that are no longer needed. (End of the school term, Christmas time are two suggestions.)
3. Have a conversation with other gift givers to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothes and other items that are in excess of what is reasonable. Relatives and friends want to give "things" to show how much they love them. They need to understand that their time is more precious than possessions. They need to understand that, although it is appreciated, it is causing clutter in your home.
4. Be selective about the items you purchase for your child. They don't need to have everything. Remember, less is more. Too much can be overwhelming for a child. They tend to play with their favorites anyway.
Take a look around your home and see where the clutter is accumulating and make some changes so you can be clutter free.
If you need some assistance or more ideas for solutions, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great day!