Sort It ~ Professional Organizing for the Toronto Area

Can’t Touch This

Getting organized can be tough, but having someone else who is not on board makes it much tougher. Whether it be your children, or your significant other, you may feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, and that your efforts are futile. However, let me reassure you that they are not. Let’s begin with the children.

For most kids, being organized (or tidy) does not come naturally to them. It is something that they need to be taught. There are two sides to this. First, it is essential that we help children to learn what to keep, and what/when to let go. If they’ve grown out of a piece of clothing or a toy, encourage them to donate that item either to another family member, or to a thrift store. Have them go with you to drop it off, so that the understand the process. Also, if something is no longer useful, help them to throw it out. It is incredibly important that they make the decision. If we simply do everything for them, they will not develop these essential skills, which will inhibit them later on in life. Also, throwing out (or giving away) items without their knowledge can create issues with attachment.

Second, children need to learn how to clean/tidy for themselves. If you are fortunate enough to have either a cleaner or a nanny, please allow your children to help them. When they move out, if they haven’t developed these skills, they will not be able to apply them to their own home – which will likely be cleaner-less for a period of time at the least. Again, these are learned skills, so be sure to include them in the various components of keeping a home tidy and organized.

Now for the big kid in the family – just kidding. Unfortunately, sometimes our spouse may not have developed these skills, so they don’t see the need to help out. This is a discussion you will have to have with your spouse, and this is exactly why I encourage all couple to go to premarital counselling before getting married. Yes, at our counselling we discussed who would take on which chores. It wasn’t written in stone as I primarily clean the washrooms now, but my husband almost always does the laundry, which is a nice trade off.

Again, however, it is important that you do not throw out (or give away) items that your significant other has not already approved. This can create trust issues, and if they are a “collector” of things, it will magnify the problem – trust me. They will find more items to replace the one that you disposed of, thinking that they wouldn’t notice.

Communication is key, and all relationships (children and spouses) take time. You can’t expect everyone to jump on board with you right at the get go. However, as they see your growing calmness, they will hopefully want to get in on your little secret. As they say “Keep Calm and Carry On”


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  1. School’s Out! (A Guest Blog Post) « Sort It ~ Professional Organizing for the Toronto Area pingbacked on 6 years ago


  1. * marijke54 says:

    How true it is.

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Jen Fletcher says:

    I’ve been trolling your blog for advice on encouraging family members to declutter, and I’ve found it….BUT, how do you deal with a kiddo (age 8) who is overwhelmingly sentimental about letting go of ANYTHING? It really is ridiculous. Part of me thinks that as he grows up, he’ll start to look at some of this as “baby stuff” and decide to get rid of it, but I’m a little afraid to wait that long. (And I do the big “no-no” of getting rid of stuff when he’s not looking; I’ve got a place I stash it for awhile until I’m positive he won’t miss it. Honestly…..if I kept every piece of paper he’s ever written on, which he’d be fine with, this home would collapse.) Any recommendations??

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 1 month ago
    • Here’s the word: compromise πŸ™‚ I would suggest having a box (the size of which completely depends on you). For school work, art projects, etc. so that he can keep whatever he wants that will fit in the box (the same works for toys or clothes, too). This will help him learn what is important to him, so that he learns to keep what is personally valuable instead of everything – a limited space is key here. Once the box is full, if he wants to add something to it, then he’ll have to remove something (one in, one out – great on many levels). If you want to add a box after a couple of years, that’s entirely up to you πŸ™‚

      Also, if it’s trashed (stained, crumpled, ripped, falling apart), then encourage him to part with it, but always let him make the decision.

      If it is a large object, or something he seems particularly attached to, but needs to part with it for whatever reason (health, space, etc.), then take a picture of him with it. That way he can create a scrapbook of keepsakes without all the clutter.

      Another trick that organizers use is to not let him touch the object. Hold it up for him to see and have him make the decision that way. People are more likely to let something go if they don’t touch it first πŸ™‚

      If he gets stuck on one item, and is really have a tough time deciding, then put it aside and move on to the next one. It may take him a little while to warm up to the idea of parting with something, so you may want to revisit the item(s) after about a week or so.

      Is that at all helpful? Please let me know if you try any of these, and what the results are πŸ™‚ Maybe you could do a guest post πŸ˜€

      | Reply Posted 6 years, 1 month ago
      • * Jen Fletcher says:

        The kids get out of school this week… I’m looking forward to trying some of these tips with all our newfound free time. I have discovered that if we can pass things on to someone he knows, he’s more comfortable with giving things up. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

        Posted 6 years, 1 month ago
      • Can’t wait to hear about it πŸ™‚ Good luck!

        Posted 6 years, 1 month ago
  3. * Jen Fletcher says:

    Had a great trial run for your ideas yesterday, after the last day of school. (Read: desk clean-out day.) He came home with so much stuff it actually COVERED our kitchen island….the blessing of an amazing, creative teacher and all the resulting art projects. We went through all his school supplies and figured out what was trash and what was salvagable. (It’s pretty hard to argue that dried glue sticks are not trash.) One art project got hung in his room, and one giant one he let me take his photo with and throw in the recycling bin. (!!!!!!) (We still have two things on display downstairs that we’ll decide on later.) His stack of old workbooks, notebooks, etc–the “stained, crumpled, ripped, falling apart” stuff–I flipped through, held them up to him, and asked if I could toss them in the recycling bin. AND HE SAID YES!

    Progress, my friend!! πŸ™‚

    | Reply Posted 6 years ago
    • That’s wonderful!!! If you’re interested, I would love for you to write a guest blog post about your experience. Let me know what you think πŸ™‚ Thanks for keeping in touch! I needed some good news today πŸ˜‰

      | Reply Posted 6 years ago
  4. * Jen Fletcher says:

    I would be both thrilled and terrified to do a guest post. πŸ˜‰ Let me know the logistics and I’d be happy to write.

    | Reply Posted 6 years ago

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