My Foolproof Strategy for Decluttering With Kids (Even Adult Kids)

We are currently undergoing renovation of our primary bedroom and bathroom. This required us to move everything from our bedroom into one of our daughters’ bedrooms. This particular daughter now in her mid-twenties, conveniently left home earlier this year.  Adult kids, however, rarely take 100% of their worldly possessions with them.

Said daughter’s room looked exactly like she still lived at home. Her closet burst with clothing, knick knacks strewn around, diplomas on the wall; I think even the TV was still plugged in. How were we going to get her to empty out her room?

Fortunately, I had one trump card to play—my birthday—which was a couple of weeks away.  Most young people, I’ve observed, seem to have more free time than cash. An idea hit me that, honestly, I wish I’d thought of years ago.  I told my daughter the only thing I wanted for my birthday was the gift of her time and together we would declutter her room.

I can’t say I received an enthusiastic response but to her credit, she came over, and together, in an afternoon, we decluttered her entire bedroom and bathroom. Now, you may rightfully be wondering how we accomplished such a mammoth task in the space of a few short hours.  It probably doesn’t hurt that her mom is a professional organizer so here are a few pro tips if you decide to use this strategy yourself:

  1. An excellent poker face. Let your child make the decisions of what to keep and what to let go.  If you chime in with your opinion on each item, you will dramatically increase the time needed, not to mention the tension in the room.
  2. Come prepared. You will need:
  3. 30-gallon clear trash bags for donations
  4. 30-gallon black trash bags for trash
  5. Several small previously used boxes for books and fragile donations
  6. Storage tubs (but hopefully not too many!) for memorabilia. These from Target are my favorite Target Storage Tub but these are even better for long term storage The Container Store Weathertight Tub
  7. Adhesive labels and a permanent marker to label the tubs (make sure you label the top and two sides for easy identification.
  8. Although, this is their gift to you, I recommend only scheduling a certain amount of time. Perhaps just an hour with a very young child and a maximum of four hours with adult kids. If their room is extremely cluttered, you may need to use ‘the gift of time’ strategy for several birthdays, and also include Mother’s Day and Christmas!
  9. Consider scheduling short FaceTime sessions if your adult child no longer lives in the area. Simply reverse the phone screen and tackle one small area at a time.

Let us know how this strategy works for you,
Best of luck!

Check out our tips featured in Homes and Gardens

Moving in with a partner for the first time can be a wonderful experience – until you have to find a place for both of your things all under one roof. 

No matter how meticulous your house moving checklist is, you are bound to end up with duplicates, home decor that doesn’t exactly match one another’s style, and clutter that drives one or other of you up the wall at some point. So how do you organize and declutter when moving in with a partner?

Luckily, professional home organizers have the solutions.

Check out our recent tips in Homes and Gardens

Planning what to put in the cabinet above the kitchen sink? You’d be forgiven for being conflicted over the best way to use this space when organizing the kitchen. Though it’s in a slightly more tricky spot, it’s also an important place for storage, given that it’s usually always within easy reach – after all, many of us spend a lot of time near our kitchen sinks.

Check out our recent tips in Woman & Home

Organization and styling ideas for books aren’t just for those with generously sized rooms. With the right bookshelf ideas, you can make your book collection look good, whatever the size of the space you’re working with.

Just like when organizing anything in a small space, trying to fit everything in while creating a room that’s both functional, beautiful, and not too cluttered can be a challenge. 

Are You Properly Storing Your Clothes In The Off-Season?

Last week I finally got around to ‘swapping out my closets’. The great thing about having small closets (I tell myself) is that it forces me twice a year to go through my clothes. I donate what I no longer wear to The Wardrobe, take all my winter clothes out of my bedroom closet, transfer them to my daughter’s unused closet, and vice versa. This process is not as easy as it sounds since I play both the client and professional organizer roles.

Me as the organizer, “Janet, when was the last time you wore this?”

Me as the client, “Well, it’s been a while, but I can’t bear to part with it”. 

The internal conversation can get a bit hairy, as you can imagine! But I digress as the topic of this article is how to store your clothes in the off-season. Here are the guidelines I use for myself and our clients:

  1. Take any natural fiber garments to the dry cleaners at the end of the appropriate season.  Moths are attracted to dirty clothes containing traces of sweat or pieces with stains. They thrive in cluttered closets – another good reason to do a twice-yearly edit!
  2. Handwash any woolen or cashmere sweaters or take them to the dry cleaners
  3. Remove the dry cleaner bags from your clothing as soon as possible. Plastic dry cleaner bags prevent your clothing from ‘breathing’. This leads to discoloration. Replace with cotton garment bags for items that need long-term protection.
  4. Use the correct hangers. Remove your garment from dry cleaner hangers, especially if your dry cleaner uses hangers with foam. I’ve seen too many garments ruined by the disintegration of the foam on those hangers. A good quality wooden hanger is recommended for coats, heavy jackets, and suits. Velvet slimline hangers work well if your storage is climate controlled.
  5. Store your garments in a climate-controlled space. The extreme temperatures of an attic will adversely affect your clothing.
  6. Fold anything that will stretch or lose its shape if hung and hang anything that will wrinkle if folded.
  7. If you must store items in clear storage containers, make sure they are properly clean and dried with lids that seal properly.
  8. Turning our attention to footwear. Make sure winter boots and shoes are clean to get rid of any grime and salt which will lead to deterioration if not removed during the warmer season.

If all this seems a little overwhelming and you live in the Philly area, give us a call and let us help you with your twice-yearly edit and clothing storage.

Cheers to the warmer weather!