Have you heard that science (once again) tells us that our kids have too much stuff? Science also tells us why kid clutter is almost inevitable, and what you can do to control the toy clutter to make your home more peaceful.
Our Kids Have Too Much Stuff
Marketplace posted a four minute podcast about how our kids have too much stuff (no paywall), along with strategies for parents and kids to deal with it. It features the author Caitlin Gibson, the writer of a Washington Post article called, Our Kids Have Too Much Stuff: The Emotional Burden of Childhood (behind a paywall). If you suspected this was true, you aren’t wrong.
There are a few scientific reasons that your home is more cluttered with toys than you want.
According to this article from Business Insider (no paywall), toys are way cheaper than they used to be. “Simply put: A toy that cost $20 in 1993 would cost only $4.68 today.”In this environment, it’s cheaper to buy more toys than pay for childcare (up 200% since the 1990’s) or deal with a tantrum. This is economics, not science, but there ya go.
Decision Fatigue. You know that feeling you have at the end of the day, that you have made so many decisions that you Just. Can’t. Make. One. More??? According to Business Insider, kids can have decision fatigue, too. With so many toys around, how are they to make time and decide to put them away? Adults need to lead the way, providing space and direction to put everything away. On the other hand, when adults provide enough space to safely and easily store toys, the kids can follow along. You know this is true because you’ve seen it at their preschool and their schools. Classroom teachers are masters at arranging and labeling their classrooms so that kids can put things away and transition to the next activity. They set up a classroom at the start of the year, and they allow for clean up time every day. We parents can learn from this.
Psychologists tell us that we probably need fewer toys. Kids need to play, but many kids feel overwhelmed by a chaotic, cluttered playroom, just like their parents do. I’ve seen kids run back into playrooms that we organize, super excited to play with toys they forgot they had, but could now see once we’ve grouped and organized them (using SORT and Succeed). Click the picture below to see the after of this basement toy organizing project…and how long it took.
Will Our Kids Always Have Too Much Stuff?
I’ve been writing about organizing and storing toys forever. Well, at least fifteen years! American parents have been feeling overwhelmed by kid toys for longer than this, but now you know it’s not just a problem at your home. It’s all of us. And even when your kids move out, you’ll be the one dealing with your adult children’s things.
Kids Can Learn to Organize Their Stuff!
Even young kids can learn to organize, at least organize good enough. Most kids thrive in an organized home, so teaching organizing skills isn’t punishment, it’s structure. I’ve seen my own kids learn how to organize and my clients’ kids, too. Don’t let your kid tell you their ADHD prevents them from having an organized space, any more than you’d let them tell you their ADHD prevents them from washing their hands. These are skills everyone can learn…good enough. Their organizing might not look like yours, but teach them SORT and Succeed, add organizing labels, give them a trash can, and let them learn. If you missed it, I shared an article published just weeks ago by Stacy Colina at the Washington Post that reminded us that everyone can learn to organize better. That applies to kids, too
No matter when you found us, catch up with all of this month’s organizing articles here.