KonMari Inspired - How to Shop for Children at Christmas

KonMari Inspired - How to Shop for Children at Christmas

Like a lot of people, during this hectic time of year, I use to buy for the sake of buying. I would do this for pretty much everyone on my list, our children included. Of course, there were always the "show-stopper" gifts that the kids would include in their letters to Santa, but on the whole I was lost. I constantly felt like I needed to add things to meet my gift quota per child and this is where things always end up going nutty for me. I would purchase random things so they, "had something", but this always resulted in useless junk that the kids had no interest in. This is also probably true for the random gifts I purchased for adults as well... but I'll leave that for another post.

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Children's Responsibility Baskets

Children's Responsibility Baskets

The idea of “Responsibility Baskets” was born from my desire and need for my children to start being more mindful of their own possessions and to curb the habit of dropping their things all over the house. It also fosters a sense of ownership and pride. This is a simple concept to implement, but is a wonderful teaching aid and proves very useful.

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Back to School - KonMari Tidying

Back to School - KonMari Tidying

With school starting soon, or perhaps even started, now is a great time to tidy up some key areas in your home. A bit of time and effort in going through these areas will ensure the year starts off organized and running smoothly (who doesn't want that?!). In this post you will find a list of the areas and/or groupings to tidy through.

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5 Criteria for Investing in Toys

According to my standards, our children have a lot of toys. Compared to other children of similar ages, they likely have a lot less. Since completing the KonMari Method, while I am mindful towards the amount of toys in our home, I am more concerned with the quality of toys and whether our children are actually making use of what they own (aka. what Sparks Joy).

As part of my KonMari Kids program, I teach parents how to guide their children towards learning what it means to Spark Joy, but for the focus of this post, I am only concentrating on the criteria that I use when buying toys for our children. 

5 Criteria for Investing in Toys

  1. Quality - As with most things, "you get what you pay for". Toys prove as an excellent example of buying once so you do not have to replace. When I buy toys I want them to last and be durable enough for all three of our children to get use from them.
  2. Think & Move! - I always look for toys that make my kids think, be creative and encourage movement. Toys such as Lego maintain their novelty because they are open-ended, meaning children can continue to invent new ways of playing with it. Toys that promote physical activity are always a good choice.
  3. Portable - As a young family always on the go, having toys that can come with us is always a solid bonus. I look for toys that are compact, easily portable and can be enjoyed both indoors and outside.
  4. Range - Toys that can be used at various ages and stages of development are always a safe bet. A toy that grows with your child decreases the amount of turnover of toys and instils a sense of contentment and ingenuity in children. 
  5. Space-savers - I like open areas for play and the sense of calm that an uncluttered playroom provides. Limiting the amount of big toys in play areas allows for smaller ones to easily be put away without taking up a lot of visual space. This allows for children to enjoy easier movement and creative play.

Things I Avoid when Purchasing Toys:

- Themed toys. Now, my kids do have character toys, but as much as possible I try to limit them. This is because in my experience, as kids quickly outgrow the latest fad, these are the toys that tend to lose their novelty (or Spark Joy factor) the fastest. 
- Dollar-store toys. While cheap and fun in the moment, toys from the dollar-store usually do not hold up and tend to be a waste of money. I encourage mindful consumerism and try to avoid places that make for easy impulse decisions.

Tidying Without your Partner

As beneficial as the KonMari Method is for your home and family, not all members may be on board right away (if ever). While this can be upsetting, frustrating and even cause for reconsidering your own journey, there are ways to approach this likely sensitive topic. 

First, make sure that you have thoroughly shared your desire and reasoning for doing the KonMari Method with your partner. I always encourage my clients to plan an appropriate time to have this discussion; when it can be relaxed, open and void of other distractions. Often a partner's lack of interest is a result of not understanding the method and ultimately the outcome. Sharing your reasoning and hopefulness of journeying as a couple and/or family may invite participation.

If the above suggestion does not result in your partner willingly joining, be mindful that not every pursuit of yours will be a shared one. As wonderful as the KonMari Method is, it does require commitment, time and ultimately the desire to journey through the process. Being hurt or angry that your partner does not initially share the same goal will only hurt your progress and experience with the method. Focus rather on going through this process for yourself and channel your time and energy towards your own motives, progress and desired outcome. 

The KonMari Method is a great example of, "seeing is believing". A lot of times clients will share that despite not initially be interested in the method, partners and other family members reconsider and join in when they see the benefits of tidying come to fruition in the home.

If your partner or family never decide to participate, that is ultimately their decision. This process is as much about decluttering and simplifying your home as it is discovering what is important to you and your life. The benefits of going through this process are immeasurable and well worth your effort. Tidy your belongings and the communal areas of the home with openness and respect - this will be as much a gift to yourself as it will be the members of your home and the space you share. 

How to Go Through the KonMari Method as a Family

COORDINATING VIDEO

Completing the KonMari Method has been one of, if not, the best things we've ever done for our family. While we still have to maintain order and cleanliness in our home, the KonMari Method has afforded us joy, a sense of pride and an every day gratitude for the space that we enjoy as a family. We spend less than half the time and effort we use to cleaning and tidying, which has allowed for more time spent together enjoying these precious years with our children. 

The KonMari Method is an achievable undertaking for every family, but it does require commitment and a strategy for success. Below I am sharing the outline of my foundation for my KonMari Kids, family focused, consulting program. When implemented this sets every member of the family up for success and instills a sense of team for the entire process. 

Team KonMari Family
*Following these steps is recommended prior to beginning the KonMari process

1. Pick the Team Captain
This is usually a parent, but can sometimes be an older child (age 15+). This designated person
will fulfill the role of facilitating the KonMari process. They are responsible for keeping the
family on schedule with the tidying, will work to maintain motivation and will complete the majority of the tidying. 

2. Establish a "Gameplan" or schedule
Creating a gameplan for tidying is imperative. This incorporates the KonMari process into the family schedule, making it a priority and focus. When designated time has been allotted for tidying it makes it easy to complete, otherwise you are always struggling to "fit it in" to what
is typically a busy routine. Remember, establishing the completion of the KonMari Method as a priority will ensure it is achieved.

3. Let all members know they are part of the team!
Everyone will be motivated to contribute to the tidying when they are made to feel important
and are provided with a role. While the older members of the family will complete the large majority of the tidying, children as young as three are still able to tidy their own belongings. 
Bringing all members on board to the KonMari Method in the beginning makes for less work later on. 

If you have questions regarding how I can help your family through the KonMari Method, please feel free to contact me. 

KonMari Kids | Some of my Favourite Toy Organizers

As a follow up to last week's post, where I shared ways to encourage children to become active members in the tidying of the home, this week I wanted to provide you with some of my favourite ways to organize toys. Creating simple, yet effective, ways of organizing toys is instrumental in children being able to manage the tidiness of their play area. When everything has a place and it's easy to know where each toy belongs, it makes for an easy cleanup! 

KonMari Kids | Top Questions Asked

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Below are the top five most often asked questions related to teaching the KonMari Method to children. If you have been on the fence about introducing what it means to Spark Joy to your little ones, perhaps the following information will reassure you of how truly realistic it is.

Questions:
1. At what age can you introduce the KonMari Method to children? 
Marie Kondo suggests age three as appropriate for beginning to teach children the idea of Spark Joy. In my personal experience as a parent and professionally working with families, I fully agree with this. Like all skills, this continues to develop through maturity and practice.

2. What age do you find children really start to understand the concept of, Spark Joy?
Ages 8-10 are when children typically start to recognize and are able to process the benefits of living in a serene and tidy way. This also coincides with their ability to name and maintain this preference through the act of determining what Sparks Joy. It is also at this age that many adolescents start to apply the measure of Spark Joy without needing encouragement or guidance to do so. 

3. What categories are appropriate for children to tidy?
The first categories I have my KonMari families work on with their children are the kid's clothing, toys and books. Additional categories can include toiletries, Komono and paper.

4. Is it a lot of work?
The answer to this question varies depending on multiple factors. The first consideration is the child themselves. Like all new skills some children adapt quicker than others. Age factors in as well, the older the child, typically the less time required. Another variable is the initial time investment on the part of the parent or facilitator. Being diligent in the beginning of when the method is first being introduced, creates less "maintenance" later on. So while it's impossible to provide a yes or no answer, I will share that every parent I have guided thus far have told that it didn't take as much time as they anticipated.

5. How do I encourage my child to continue practicing under the KonMari Method?
Depending on the age of the child, once the KonMari method has been taught and understood, parents may find they never have to remind or encourage additional tidying. If the children are little (age 10 or younger) maintenance of their belongings will be an ongoing activity. The biggest piece of advice I offer parents for encouraging children to continue tidying, is to make it a fun experience! Ensure the child is first in a pleasant mood (and so are you), that only one category is tidied during each session and once the child starts to lose focus or interest that you stop and resume at a later time/day. 

*Our KonMari Kids Consulting is offered on a quarterly basis and is available both in person and virtually.