When to purge, what to purge, and how to get your kids on board.
Raise co-founder Erin Jackson is the Queen of Clean. Her personal Insta stories showcase an always organized house, despite having two small boys, and the backdrop garners DMs asking for purging tips each time she posts.
Whether you’re planning a pre-holiday purge to make room for new toys or clearing the slate [read: playroom floor] for the new year, Jackson has complied her tips and tricks in one place to aid us ordinary people through the task.
I purge every three months, at the beginning of each season. I actually put a reminder on my calendar that it’s time to go through every room in our house and purge, which means going through our things and assessing whether we’ve used them recently. The frequency makes purging easier because our closets and toy baskets never get too cluttered. I usually end up with only a trash bag or two of things to donate or toss.
Don’t limit your purging to toys. Each season, I go through every corner of our house — the fridge, pantry, closets, sock drawers, and my makeup bag. Organizing the big stuff is helpful, but getting rid of the little things like expired foundation and partner-less socks is the key to making your house feel sustainably organized.
EXPLAIN THE PROCESS TO YOUR CHILDREN
Kids need so much less than we give them, and they adapt quickly when we take away things they don’t play with. The first time I donated a bag of my kid’s toys, they were upset and confused, but now that we do it frequently, it’s just a part of our rhythm. They rarely even notice (another benefit of the frequency tip) but when they do, I just tell them “You didn’t play with that anymore, so we gave it to someone who can enjoy it.”
I do keep a box of more sentimental toys, which in our house is almost 100% stuffed animals. I don’t purge these on a seasonal basis because I’ve learned that while my kids may not play with them as often, it matters that we keep them. The box is in our office closet, and if my kids ask for something, I can simply take it out for them. At the end of each year, I go through the box. A little time away from items can help you realize how sentimental they actually are, and allow you to have a clearer head about what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.
I always do an extra special cleaning of my house before birthdays and Christmas. It’s helpful for me to know what my kids already have before buying them new things, plus it makes space for new presents. If my vehicle-obsessed son is getting another set of monster trucks on Christmas morning (and he is), then I need to make space by getting rid of a few older vehicles.
While you’re sorting all of the toys and books, take the opportunity to clean them. Really clean them. I use hot water, a splash of bleach, and 1 teaspoon of powdered Tide to sanitize toys. I omit the bleach for everything else, but all items get a good wipe down. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to celebrate sanitizing!
Erin Jackson is the co-founder of "Raise Magazine." She's a mother of two, wife, daughter, step-daughter, half sister, step-sister, proud millennial, and lover of travel. She also works as a marketing consultant and interior designer. When she's not working, you can find her planning her next trip, baking muffins, pretending she's going to go for a run, and avoiding playing Star Wars with her kids. She currently lives in Arkansas with her husband, Collin, and sons, Beckham and Reeves.