Declutter expert Marie Kondo has become a sensation thanks to her book, “The Art of Tidying Up,” and the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
But parents may be wondering how to get their messy kids to get organized and try the KonMari method themselves. Kondo, who has two children of her own, has it covered.
We’ve scoured the interviews Kondo has given, read the book, and studied the addictive Netflix series for tips parents can use to help their kids master the KonMari method.
START THEM EARLY
Kids as young as one (or once they learn to walk) can start learning the KonMari method of tidying up.
Little ones can help match socks and learn the right way to fold their clothes, while two-year-olds can learn that each of their items has a place and that’s where they belong when they aren’t in use.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
The single best way to teach your kids to keep their items put away and tidy is to set the example first. When you use the KonMari method and tackle your own messes first or get started on spring cleaning, kids will feel the joy that a clean home brings and be motivated to keep their items clean too.
KEEP YOUR OR YOUR CHILD’S FAVORITE WORKS OF ART
Parents know the amount of paper each child uses a day is insane. When it comes to artwork, make a habit of going through it together with your child and decide what each of you likes the best.
Keep only the artwork you or your child loves and then display it proudly until it no longer sparks joy. If you find you would rather store artwork away, do so with only the pieces you love. Roll up each piece and store it upright in a paper tube.
CREATE BOUNDARIES FOR YOUR CHILD’S THINGS
Designating a space for kids’ items is one way to keep control over how much they have. This makes it easier to decide how much is too much, Kondo told the Wall Street Journal.
Her daughters each have designated drawers in which to keep their treasured belongings, and it keeps Kondo and her husband from over-buying for them.
ASSIGN EVERYTHING A HOME
Every single thing that is your child’s should have a “home,” or place where it belongs. Make sure that each item finds its way back to its home after every use.
Sure, your kids won’t remember every single toy’s home right off the bat, but if you keep making them put every item in its home every day, they will learn to put it there without prompting.
DECIDE WHAT TOYS BRING YOUR CHILD JOY
Following the principles of the KonMari method, deciding what toys to keep should be done the same way as everything else. Put everything in the middle of the room and together with your child go through each item.
Picking one at a time, hold the item and have your child hold the item, then ask your child if they still enjoy it. If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, thank the item and toss it.
One important part of this process is to let your kids decide what to keep and what not to keep. Sure, you can have final say, but respecting their decisions about their belongings goes a long way in creating motivation for them to take care of their things.
Automatically toss items that your child has outgrown, are broken, or are missing parts.