Monday, April 11, 2011

Clutter-Free Easter

As someone trying to keep my home relatively organized and clutter-free I find holidays and birthdays for the kids to be challenging.  The two big offenders for me are Easter Baskets & Christmas Stockings.  So often we fill these things with stuff that our children don't need because it's small and cheap.

Why?  Why do we look at Easter as a time to waste spend our money on things that we (and our kids) don't really like, that break easily, and become easy clutter in our homes?  Because marketers have told us that's what we should buy because they fit in small easter eggs.

This year I propose we TAKE BACK THE EASTER BASKET!  The past four years as a mom I've tried to keep the things in the Easter basket to a clutter-minimum. I challenge you to do the same this year. 

What can you put in baskets that kids want and won't add to the disaster in your home?  Well, the point is to avoid the "junk" - the trinkets and bobbles that make clean-up a pain and the kids get bored of after 2 days.  Embrace things that are consumable and that you would buy anyway.

- food (dried fruit, popcorn, a chocolate bunny)
- consumable toys (crayons, markers, bubbles, bubble bath)
- lasting toys (DVDs, books, video game)
- summer fun items (new bathing suit, beach towel, inflatable pool toy)
- accessories (hair clips, belts, sunglasses)
- household goods (cups and plates for little ones, reusable water bottle for big kids, new bathroom accessories like a toothbrush holder & soap dispenser, pillow cases and sheets)
- clothing (shirts, shoes, socks, tights)
- new undies (these are fun for a little, new-to-the-potty kid... not so much for your 10 year old)
- things that add to a collection (a new train or doll to add to an existing collection)
- healthy habits items (toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion)

Look at what you already had on your list of things to buy for your kids and go from that.  Even if the item itself isn't "fun" (hello, new socks), getting it in an Easter basket is more fun than a random Tuesday.

The goal is to get stuff that's fun for the kids without adding to the clutter in your home.  I try to avoid at all costs the Dollar Store and the Target Dollar Spot.  I know that goes against conventional wisdom but you and I both know that those cheap trinkets will break after one use (but no one will throw away for 6 weeks). 

Where can you shop?
If you have a baby... shop Babies R Us for some toddler items (cups, spoons, bibs) she'll need soon
If you have a toddler... find a single-serve pack of his favorite snacks.
If you have a preschooler... browse the clothing racks for things to fit her latest obsession.
If you have a school-age child... remember the last thing she begged you for at the store and try to get things related to that.

The bottom line for me is that the stuff stores try to push on you for Easter is not often the kind of thing you'd buy if you were shopping for your child on a regular day.  So walk right past those to the brands you already know you trust and that will get use in your home.

With less than 2 weeks until the big day it's probably time to get shopping!

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