Hinkle Hacks: How the Hinkle Family Stays Decluttered!

Creative QT co-owners and co-founders, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, have five kids and lead very busy lives. Dana Sue has been kind enough to share with us some of their favorite ways to stay organized and decluttered! Learn more about the Hinkle family and the heart behind Creative QT here.

Hinkle Hacks: How the Hinkle Family Stays Decluttered!

1. The Black Hole!

This is one of my favorite family traditions! We have what we call 'The BLACKHOLE'. After the kids go to bed I make a sweep of the house. If I have to pick it up, it goes into a bin we have nicknamed 'The Black Hole'. This applies to any of the kids' stuff- toys, games, puzzles, stuffed animals, stationary etc. To get something out of 'The Black Hole' they have to do a job. Anything not claimed after a month gets donated. This has been such a revolution for our kids. They now think twice about leaving their things on the floor!

The Black Hole!

2. Mom's Toy Shop

When I get that feeling that toys are taking over the house, I open 'Mom's Toy Shop'. I gather every single toy from around the house, roughly sort them into categories (e.g. play food, action figures, dolls etc.) and invite the kids to come and shop. They each have a bag that they are allowed to fill with toys. Anything leftover at the end gets donated.

3. Stuffed Animal Auctions

We have stuffed animal auctions as a way to manage our ever expanding critter collection. We line up every stuffed animal/doll that we own and the kids each take a turn picking the ones they want. I usually pick a number like 8, but with 5 kids, that is still 40 stuffed animals!!! However, now that we have Stuff 'n Sits we let them keep enough to fill their bean bags!

Stuffed Animal Auctions 3

Stuffed Animal Auctions

The latest addition to our family, Wrigley, even took part in the latest stuffed animal auction!

Stuffed Animal Auctions 2

4. Daily To Do Lists for the Kids

Each kid has their own age-appropriate 'to do list' for the day. It includes simple routine tasks such as 'take a bath', as well as chores and any homework responsibilities. Now that we have a dog this is proving a great way to share the responsibilities of looking after Wrigley too!

5. The 4 o'clock Clean Up Alarm

I also have an alarm on my phone that goes off everyday at 4pm. When the kids hear it, they all yell "4 o'clock clean up" and we do a mad dash to put the house back together. I have a 'zone' sheet pinned to the back of our kitchen cabinet which is inside a sheet protector so that I can just dry erase different initials every week and we can rotate zones. Don't be fooled, the kids aren't always happy to take part in the 4 o'clock clean up!! But it's 10-15 minutes and they know it has to be done. Some days are great, some days require lots of 'encouragement' from Mom!

The 4 o'clock Clean Up Alarm

I really hope that gives you some fun ways to help your family declutter and stay organized. I know we'd be lost without our 'Hinkle Hacks'!!


Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.

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