Decluttering with children around – is it possible?

By Gina Bremner

No matter how tidy and minimalist our homes were before children, once the little darlings come along with all their paraphernalia nothing is ever the same again. What’s more, trying to declutter with children in tow can be a nightmare.

Here are a few tips for decluttering with children around:

•        Ideally you’d set aside a day when the children aren’t in the house to gut the room that needs decluttering from top to bottom. But often that’s not possible, so set yourself a specific amount of time each day – say 20 minutes – to deal with the clutter, and eventually the pile will become smaller and smaller.

•        Keep the children amused by setting up an activity they enjoy and playing with them for a little while. Every now and then, get up and do a chore or declutter but keep checking in with the children.

•        If they’re old enough, get the children involved with the decluttering. Give them a bag, basket or bin each and get them to fill it with 10 items that are either broken, they are too old for, or they just don't like. Make it into a race or a challenge, seeing who can get rid of the most toys. Make it fun and reward them with a trip to the cinema, swimming pool or park.

•        If you don’t know where to start, try making a daily to-do list that includes the basic chores and say you’ll spend 10 minutes in two rooms clearing the clutter.

•        Always start with the floor of the crime scene – pick up items such as clothing, books or toys lying around and put them where they belong. Then you can look at what’s left and start the proper decluttering: have four boxes ready and sort the remains into items to pass on, things to recycle, rubbish and items you will find a home for later.

You can get decluttering advice on

Gina Bremner is a professional organiser and can be contacted on