Tidying with kids can be a bit challenging, but just like adults, every person is different no matter the age. I attempted doing the KonMari method with my six year-old son and it was an interesting experience. If you are not familiar with the KonMari Method, it was created by Marie Kondo who wrote the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up-The Japanese Art of Decluttering” which has sold millions worldwide. The main concept of this method is to tidy by category (not rooms) and to only keep what “sparks joy” and let go of what doesn’t. So I chose to do the KonMari lesson with my son after he had finished school with no homework, so it happened after 3:00 p.m. and after he had some play time. I brought him snacks and drinks to have in his room to get his energy up. Be sure to include a child’s favourite snack or treats to boost their happiness to do the lesson.
We started with the clothes category of course, and placed all the clothes in one area of his room. My son already has less clothes than the average adult, so the amount to work with was easier. You must be prepared to expect that the child may have a hard time to focus, and getting them to pick up every piece to do a “spark joy” check may not happen. Instead my son preferred that I showed him every article of clothing and he gave me the thumbs up or down. He knew right away what he didn’t like so it was easy for him to decide. He didn’t like any plain shirts or certain characters he outgrew like Sponge Bob. The shirts that sparked joy for him were colourful and with cool designs or characters he still liked. So we created a pile for the clothes he no longer loved and there was no “maybe” pile which may happen for adults who have a harder time to decide.
You will have to give more breaks during the lesson with a kid, its definitely not the most enjoyable activity for them, but it really depends on the person. I taught my son the KonMari folding and he liked doing it once, but doing the folding for all the clothes to me won’t always be possible for kids to actually do. When I tried to get my son to fold again, he quickly lost his patience. If a parent has already taught their child at an early age to be tidy then this may be easier, however I am only starting to teach that now so for me its a whole new challenge. I think it’s important for kids to learn to be tidy so as they get older they will care about this and especially when becoming adults. As an Airbnb host, I have seen many adults who don’t keep their space clean and tidy and I am pretty sure they live like this at home. It’s better to teach these life skills now because it will help in the future. The KonMari method definitely will help as well, as it also teaches that everything you have has its own place, and you only keep what you truly love.
in the end my son was able to discard a good amount of clothes, which also included clothes that no longer fit him. His closet is only half-way full and he uses two drawers in a dresser for folded clothes, as well as a small trunk for more folded clothes that’s easy for him to reach. We also went through his hats and he let go of a few. His socks and undies have been decluttered not too long ago, so we didn’t go though that, but I think the parent can just go though this for the child as it will be mostly just letting go of what doesn’t fit. I think having a reward in the end of doing a KonMari lesson with a kid will make them look forward to doing the next category (which is books). Perhaps something small from the dollar store or a cool book will make them feel good about finishing their tidy lesson. I am starting to tell my son about earning an allowance, so he can work towards learning to save money. I have told him if he helps to tidy around the house he can earn some money and he was interested about that.
I think that it is possible to do KonMari with kids but expect that they will want to play instead of tidy, so making time for them to play or set their expectations that they will get to play will help. Since there will be more breaks, that will probably be the mini-play time or even read a book with them. Also tidying with a kid earlier in the day and on the weekend would be more ideal. Stay tuned for when I tackle another category using the KonMari Method with my son.