"I’d bring a trash bag into my kids’ rooms and they’d sit on the bed, and I’d hold up something and they’d give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down," says Silber. Thumbs down means it goes in the trash bag for donation (or the actual trash, if it’s in poor enough condition.)
If your child’s a pack rat and clings desperately to every toy, Silber suggests this trick: every so often, pack up a box with the items you know they’ve lost interest in. Stash it in the garage or the basement for six months. "Then, tell them, ‘I’ve been cleaning out your room, and there’s a bunch of stuff in the garage. Want to take a look before I give it away?’" she says. "Most of the time they’ll say no.
5. Use the Right Organizers
You don’t have to buy out the nearest office supply store, but a few carefully chosen organizing items can help keep the clutter from overtaking your life. Silber’s go-to choice: the over-the-door shoe bag. Hang it over your child’s bedroom door or in the playroom as an easy place to stash small items like hair accessories, stickers and beads, and art supplies.
Jessica Hupf, MA, a marriage and family therapist intern in private practice in Westlake Village, Calif., recommends the tried-and-true three-ring binder. "Moms can drown in paperwork," she says. "Work, school, household bills, and so on. Get a bunch of three-ring binders and a hole punch and go through and separate it all: a binder for each child’s school papers, a binder for bills, one for home projects, and so on."
6. Change Old Patterns
Does this sound familiar? You spend an entire weekend decluttering your junk drawer or the hall closet, and then a month later, it’s even more cluttered than before?
Stephanie Somanchi, PhD, an executive life coach who has worked with Nike and U.S. Bank, suggests taking some time and figuring out your daily rhythms, so you understand why a particular space keeps getting cluttered. "If your go-to behavior is to drop your keys and mail on the kitchen counter, you’ll continue that clutter pattern every time you clean it all up," she says "Figure out how to change that pattern: have a mail sorter and a set of hooks by the kitchen door, or come in a different door and go straight to your home office."