Tips for Clearing Out Clutter & Starting FreshLearning
First: Create space. Help your girl find clothes to donate that are too small or that she no longer wears. If she’s not sure about an item, put it in a “hold” box with the date. After a month, let her put it back in her closet or—if she didn’t miss it!—donate it to a charity.
Then: Corral clothing. Cover a work surface, then have your girl use fabric paint and a round foam brush to decorate a pillowcase. Once the paint is dry, sandwich the open end of the pillowcase between the inner and outer rings of a large embroidery hoop. Tighten the screw on the hoop. Then tie a ribbon from the hoop’s screw, and hang it on a hook. She can use the pillowcase as a clothes hamper or a place to stash winter accessories such as scarves and hats.
First: Clear out. Together, find a better place than her room to store sports equipment. Some larger items such as hockey sticks and soccer balls are best kept in a garage or mudroom.
Then: Categorize. Any sports gear that’s left should have a special spot, so it’ll be easy to find. Hang a sweater organizer in your girl’s closet. Assign each sport to a compartment, and make a label for it. To create a label, fold a 6-by-6-inch piece of card stock in half. Below the fold, write the name of the sport (or use letter stickers). Staple the label to the bottom of the compartment.
ART AND CRAFT SUPPLIES
First: Share. Pass along any extra supplies or those no longer used to a sibling or friend.
Then: Gather. Make a desktop organizer to help your girl keep her supplies in one place. Give your girl a muffin pan or shop for one at a thrift store. Place plastic cups in each compartment to hold craft supplies such as markers, pom-poms, and washi tape.
First: Inspect. Discard any nail polish that has separated or looks thick and goopy. Together you can research if there’s a special way your community disposes of nail polish.
Then: Display. Your girl can use a pretty plate or a cake stand to store and display bottles of polish. Make sure to keep the display out of reach of pets and younger siblings.
First: Stack. Gather all your girl’s books into one place. Have her display them in different ways. Line up book series on a bookshelf. Stack together special books or books of the same color.
Then: Contain. Provide her with an extra storage container (such as a basket or a bin) to use in her room. She can decorate the outside of the container by attaching pom-poms with nontoxic craft glue. Once the glue has dried, use the container to store all her library books in one place. It’ll be easier to find them when they’re due.
First: Reduce and recycle. Sort through school papers, and put the ones that neither of you want or need in the recycling bin.
Then: Show her work. Did you find anything that makes her proud? A pet portrait from art club? A test she aced in math class? Attach binder clips to a bulletin board using thumbtacks. Then use the binder clips to display the winning work!
First: Fix or toss. Get rid of single earrings and any broken jewelry (unless you can fix it).
Then: Decorate. Create a jewelry display board. Start with a plain corkboard then have her use washi tape to section off the board and create designs. Hang necklaces and bracelets on pushpins. Store earrings nearby in a plastic paint palette (available at craft stores).
Ideas from American Girl magazine.