Marie Kondo sparked an international revolution in organization with her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and her iconic KonMari Method™. At the heart of her tidying method is a belief that only those belongings that bring joy should be kept, and the rest should be let go. Now, Marie Kondo is taking her talent for tidying to the playroom, as she gives HeyMama readers her best advice for cleaning with kids.
When I first became a mother, I felt frustrated when I couldn’t tidy my home exactly the way I wanted. Then, after having my second child, I didn’t even have the energy to consider some of my former practices around the house! Motherhood taught me to be more forgiving of myself. The joy that comes from parenting exceeds any satisfaction that could have come from a perfectly neat home.
With this in mind, here are some tips that help me keep my home in order with two young children.
As you tidy, explain to your children what you’re doing so they can learn from you. Try to convey that tidying is part of maintaining a comfortable home. If they see their parents tidying regularly with a smile, children will think of tidying as a positive everyday activity.
Show your children that tidying and playing go together, that they can’t have one without the other. When children are around one-year-old and can begin to walk, encourage them to put their belongings away after play.
Children’s toys seem to multiply and quickly become scattered throughout the house. Designate a set location where each of these toys will be kept, and make sure your children are aware of where their toys belong. Then they can assist you with putting away their own toys.
Once you establish a place for your children’s belongings, you can see the finite space that you have to accommodate new toys – or practical things like wipes and diapers. Recognizing that this space is limited will keep your home from being overtaken by your children’s belongings.
Of course, on some days, encouraging my daughters to tidy can feel like a losing battle. Rather than getting frustrated with them or attempting to tidy up after them throughout the day, I wait until my daughters go to sleep then clean up in one shot. It usually only takes ten minutes or so because everything we own already has a designated home – that’s the KonMari way!
The most important thing is for parents to learn to tidy their own things first. If parents can keep their own belongings tidy, their kids will notice and learn by example; they’ll realize how tidying is comforting and enjoyable. Parents should avoid asking their kids to get rid of belongings. Instead, they can ask their kids, “Does this spark joy in you?” Or “Can you select the toys you like best?” These questions create opportunities for children to be conscious of their feelings for their belongings.
What’s especially effective is for parents to teach their kids how to fold their clothes. Keeping a habit of tidying up clothes – which are used every day and are clearly the children’s own belongings – helps teach them the basic concepts of tidying up. It is ideal if you can start teaching them beginning when they are around three. I suggest folding the clothes with your children and framing the process as giving the clothes a home. This creates an environment where tidying up is enjoyable. My book, “Spark Joy,” explains in detail with illustrations the specifics of how to fold different pieces of clothing.
Keep in mind that being organized means knowing what is important to you and also knowing what it means to value what is important to you. Children with these skills have the power to make decisions and accomplish things under their own criteria when they face many situations as they grow up.
Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author, star of Netflix’s hit show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and founder of KonMari Media, Inc.
Enchanted with organizing since her childhood, Marie began her tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo. Today, Marie is a renowned tidying expert helping people around the world to transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration.
In her #1 New York Times bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie took tidying to a whole new level, teaching that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.
Marie has been featured on more than fifty major Japanese television and radio programs as well as in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, Vogue Magazine, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Ellen Show and many more. She has also been listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Our goal is to help more people tidy their spaces by choosing joy, and we are committed to developing the simplest and most effective tools to help you get there. https://konmari.com/