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Simple Habits to Help Your Daughter Cut the Clutter


“Tidy room, tidy mind” sounds like something a grandma would say. You know what? Grandmas are pretty smart.

Creative messes have their place, but when it comes to your girl’s day-to-day life, excess clutter can be her—and your—undoing. Cutting the clutter doesn’t have to be a monumental task, though: helping your girl adopt a simple, manageable tidying routine will give her the tools to stay on top of her stuff. By teaching her to take control of her space and time, you’ll both feel a lot less stress and she’ll enjoy the satisfaction of being in control of her space. Here’s how:

Messy bedroom

Take a stroll

Things are bound to get a little untidy over the course of a day. That can be easily managed! Each night before bed, encourage your girl to walk through her room and put things back where they belong. She’ll sleep better if things are in their place (especially anything that was piled on her pillow or tossed on her bed), and tomorrow morning she’ll wake to a clean, fresh start. Feeling inspired? You might join them and use that time to de-clutter, as well!

Set Space Limits

Keep only a certain number of hangers in her closet. Let her have just a few boxes under her bed and bins on her shelves. With a little planning, the two of you can create a simple storage system that is as pretty as it is useful. Then, when all those hangers, bins, and boxes are full, make this rule:if she wants to store something new, something else has to come out.

Schedule Sorts

Sorting begins with a simple question: is this clutter, or isn’t it? In truth, only your girl can decide whether some things are useful, meaningful, or worth the space they occupy in her life (and room). And that’s a good thing to learn to figure out. But you can help her along by encouraging her to think in terms of categories—clothes, school papers, and the like. Then decide on a schedule for sorting each category, so she’s not overwhelmed by everything at once.

For clothing, plan to sort things out at the end of each season. She’s growing all the time, and styles are ever changing, so she’s unlikely to wear some things next year at this time. For school papers, schedule a sorting sessions at the end of each grading period or semester.

Rethink Shopping and Wish Lists

Because you’ve helped your girl set space limits, she should think carefully before adding anything to her collection. Before she adds something to her list, ask her to think about these questions:

Questions to cut the clutter

The same goes for gifts: getting lots of little things that clutter her space and hold her attention for what seems like a fleeting moment is a sure way to a clutter crisis. Having family members go in on one or two quality items that she really wants can make more sense. Even better: a great experience, like going to a concert or a trip to a water park, will leave her with wonderful memories that take up no space at all.

Once she has the basics down, she can start to experiment with her own ideas for cutting the clutter. After all, that sense of calm she’ll feel will be well worth the effort.

Looking for more great tips to help your girl get—and stay—organized? Slip copy of A Smart Girl’s Guide: Getting It Together into her backpack to get her well on her way.

Excerpted and adapted from A Smart Girl’s Guide: Getting It Together by Erin Falligant. © 2017 American Girl. All American Girl marks are trademarks of American Girl.

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