Tips for decluttering your family home

If you have young kids, I wouldn't blame you for having a house that looks like a war zone! Toys scattered everywhere, stained clothes on the floor, unidentified puddles on the floor - they're all part and parcel of raising children.

But don't lose hope! With a little organization, you can bring about a semblance of order in your ravaged home. The first step to doing this is to declutter.

Decluttering isn't easy for most of us. It's hard to let go of things we own, because we are either emotionally attached to them, or they serve an indispensable future purpose that we feign to foresee. But the truth is that clutter can be draining emotionally as well, and a cleaner home can give you a certain peace of mind and stability.

It's not just about throwing things. Properly organizing your possessions is also important to put things in order.

Here are a few tips for decluttering your family home:

1. Keep a separate area for toys.

A majority of the clutter in a home with kids is naturally, toys. You could always try to stash toys under the sofa or the bed, but let's face it, there are probably more toys in your house than storage boxes! Get your kids in the habit of playing in a particular area. They may have a separate room for play, or a section of a room. That will also make picking them up easier. Not that you won’t find stray toys here and there, but the majority of them will be in one place.

2. Focus on accessible storage.

Instead of buying a few large storage boxes, get more number of smaller ones that you can organize better. For example, instead of dumping all your tools in one box, separate them by hand tools and power tools. Store items that you need on a regular basis close at hand, so it’s not too difficult to retrieve them often. Buying furniture that also doubles as storage can be very useful too.

3. Organize clothes by use. 

As far as clothes go, you have ones that you wear routinely, and other that you only take out for certain occasions. You might also have clothes that you don't fit in but are holding on to as a fitness goal. Nothing wrong in that, except they take up too much closet space! With kids, there will be many clothes that are either too small or a bigger ones that they are yet to grow into. This happens frequently when you store older kids’ clothes for the younger ones. Keep only the most current clothes and accessories in your daily wardrobe and store the rest.

4. Keep a box out for donations.

Always have a box ready to put in whatever you no longer want but is too good to throw away. Apart from a lesson in kindness for your kids, items like clothes and toys will get out of your way faster with regular donations. Often, we think about donating but either don't have the time to sort through things, and keep putting it off. Think of all the people who will be grateful for your help.

5. Make cleaning up a family rule. 

Have a diktat that everyone in the house should make sure they put back what they take out. Clutter is mainly things lying out of place, and good habits can solve this problem. Kids will follow this rule if they see adults doing the same.

6. Store away 'essential clutter'.

Some clutter is essential, but space consuming. Take bicycles and strollers. If you have more than one kid, it's possible that the younger one is in between a stage where they're too small for a sibling's bicycle. Same goes for seasonal clothes. Or, there may be tons of management books from college that you just might need to refer to. You need them but you rue how much space they need for storage.

This is where you can consider a storage service called Boxit. This promising new service, from a company operating in GCC, allows you to rent boxes to store items that you can retrieve when you want.

I tried their service, and it was quite simple. I signed up at and requested for the first three boxes. It costs AED 25 per box per month, and you need to request for a minimum of three boxes. I received a call the same day confirming my delivery time.

The boxes are bright blue and quite durable. Each box is numbered (and bar coded) to help you and Boxit keep track of it. To seal them at your end, they come with plastic ties that are also numbered. These are used to close the boxes at each end.

Once I had the boxes, I downloaded the Boxit app and it helped me keep track of what was in each box. This visual catalog is a good feature, because it comes in handy when you need to retrieve anything.

I used the app to schedule the pick up of my packed boxes. This pick up is free the first time, but subsequent deliveries of your boxes are charged AED 40 per visit. This is regardless of the number of boxes.

You can also get a special rate if you order boxes in excess of 20. A yearly plan brings down the price per box to AED 17 per month.

Boxit safely stores your items for you - the sealed boxes are shrink-wrapped and stored in a facility that is always under surveillance, and has fire safety measures. More so, your items are also insured for $100.

They also allow you to store your own items. This includes cartons, suitcases, strollers, and kids' bicycles. They are also planning to allow furniture in the near future, which I'm sure many expats in the process of moving will appreciate.

I can think of so many ways having an external storage service like Boxit can be useful. It will keep your home clutter-free, and allow you to organize your things seasonally. If for some reason, you need to store a few things while you travel or move, Boxit is a cheaper option than renting a storage unit.

For more details, visit the Boxit website, and check out the FAQs section for specific queries.

This is a collaborative post with Boxit Storage, but all views and opinions are my own.

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