Conquering kiddie clutter

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Welcome to Day 6 of little miss sorted’s 7 Day Sustainable Declutter Challenge:

Kids’ Clutter

Kids today think they need a new pair of shoes when the shoe-lace is frayed*. This is the throw-away society we have become. The toy industry is worth over $20billion in the U.S. alone and growing. Unfortunately, so is its impact on the environment. Plastic toys make up 90% of this and are notoriously hard to recycle with most ending up in landfill. Not only that, but often the batteries do too. A double-whammy for our planet.

 

Top Tips to sustainably declutter kids’ stuff

  • Start by thinking about your acquiring. Do you really need another toy, book or item of clothing? And if you do, can you buy it second-hand? Also consider the amount and type of packaging and the materials that the item is made from before you hand over your plastic for more plastic
  • Landfill should be a last resort. Wherever possible, pass your toys, clothes & other kids’ stuff on to friends and family or donate or sell them. Also consider whether a broken toy or piece of clothing can be repaired. Most cities have a doll hospital or something similar to restore the life to many a toy and clothing can often be repaired (by someone handy if you’re not)
  • Don’t hold on to items just for sentimental reasons. Take a photo as a memory and move it on

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”― Phyllis Diller

 

Top Tips to organise kids’ stuff

  • Give everything a home. Although it mightn’t spend much time there, it means you could theoretically put everything away if the Queen (or your mother-in-law) was coming
  • Don’t have every toy you own accessible to your children all the time. Have a space set aside for a selection of toys you’re happy for the kids to access and store everything else up high or out of sight. Rotate them every so often to keep them interested and the amount of potential clutter limited
  • Use open baskets or containers stored low so the kids can help you put things away. Have a pack-up song that you play or sing to signal that it’s time to put everything away. It might take some time to establish this as a cue but it really works. Little children can’t read so save your labels for the pantry. A photo on the outside is a better way to show what belongs in each basket

 

Environmentally friendly resources when decluttering kids’ clutter:

ITEM

DESTINATION

Soft toys in new or lightly used condition suitable for under 3 years of age only  

MSFIN

 

Books in English including storybooks, picture books, colouring books (unused), textbooks of any subject; for all ages and reading abilities.

Stationery e.g. writing materials, paper pads, notebooks, art supplies (coloured pencils, paint, etc.), rulers, erasers, etc.

School supplies e.g. backpacks, drink bottles, lunch boxes

Bedlinen, clothes for boys and girls of all ages

Progress Pikinini offers a collection service in Melbourne and a drop-off service in the Riverina, NSW. If you live outside these areas, they are worth contacting to see if something can be arranged for your area.
Art & Craft supplies Reverse Art Truck accept donations of your unwanted items – anything that could creatively be used for art & craft. If you’re not in Melbourne, try Reverse Garbage or your local childcare centre or kinder
Used toys & clothes MSFIN accept lightly used clothes

You can also sell on consignment at places like Kids Warehouse 

If you’re not in Melbourne, most charities accept kids toys & clothes in good used condition

Alternatively, you can go online to places such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or your local buy, swap and sell sites to move items at no cost

Unwanted Nappies – don’t have to be in their packet MSFIN
Batteries Battery World accepts all types of batteries for recycling including button batteries

Aldi accepts household batteries  (AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sizes)

Old blankets Animal shelters such as the Lost Dogs’ Home
Toy Library Toy libraries are a great way to access just about any toy you can think of without having to buy it, permanently store it, or get rid of it when the kids no longer use it. The Frankston Toy Library is a great local resource that we use but many councils throughout Australia offer this service

These resources and more will be added to the little miss sorted Resources page on the website. We are constantly updating our Resources Lists so check back regularly.

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge. Well done for sticking with it! Tomorrow we venture into the deep dark corners of your garage. I’ll have lots of hints, tips and resources to help you safely declutter your unwanted items from that zone. It’s also your last chance to drop your unwanted items to me for sustainable recycling. Here’s where you’ll find me:

Sun 11th March
Sandbox Café – Sandhurst Golf Club
75 Sandhurst Blvd, Sandhurst
10-11am

*The shoe-lace story is based on an actual conversation with one of my children… eek! Do you have a story like this? Share below – no judgment here.

Happy Sustainable Decluttering! The planet thanks you.

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