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I am going to have to declutter my kids stuff without their permission. - Page 2

post #21 of 35
I have not read all the replies so I apologize if this is not "new". I have the same problem with my 4 and 6 year old kids. I participated in a large rummage sale, and I knew awhile ago when it was going to be. I started collecting their less-favorite toys, games, books in a box without telling them and of course they didn't even notice.

At the sale, unfortunately I had to have them with me. So I told them what was going on, and that we needed to get rid of outgrown toys and books to make room for new ones. I allowed them up to 2 items each to keep, should they see something of theirs they just couldn't let go of. I also allowed them each to buy 2 new-to-us items in exchange for letting all their old stuff go. Worked great. I expected serious complaints or whining for more stuff, and got none. A couple of toys and games I really thought my 4 yo would have fits over selling, but she just told me she was "fine with it" as she carried around a new stuffie she found.

Good luck. I hope you find a plan that works for you.
post #22 of 35
We were able to declutter DD's room by 50% after MONTHS of struggling with her. It did result in a few tears but nothing horrid or long lasting. First she picked a toy/item she wanted. Then she had to pick one to donate/sell/whatever. Then a toy to keep-then a toy to donate/sell. And on and on. The alternating between keep and not-keep kept it from being torture but we did manage to get the clutter down considerably. Hope that helps a little?
post #23 of 35
Laura, I agree with you about too much clutter preventing children from playing! My 1st grade son and I went through his room (this was after I did a haul-off myself a few weeks prior, which he NEVER noticed) and now that we have gotten his toys down to fewer categories and fewer things in each category (though still not perfect), he is playing with his things more.

Now if only my daughter's doll stuff (the 18" ones) were smaller and required less space like the smaller toys my son plays with, lol!
post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by laurabfig View Post
I am going to declutter my kids' room as soon as I'm on summer break, and I'm not going to let them help me.
Most of the stuff that I am going to donate or box up is not precious to them anyway, but I don't really expect them to have the ability to make clear decisions at their ages about what is really played with and what is just "clutter" in their room and actually PREVENTING them from playing due to all the chaos and clutter and mess. So I don't feel bad about doing it without them present (as I've tried to do it before with them and it rarely gets pared down enough to make a dent in the clutter)....they are 7 and 6 years old and I kind of wonder if they will even notice. I plan to keep the "what-if-they-ask-me-about-this-toy-later" items stowed away in the attic for a bit before donating, but I'm sure there is lots of junk in their room that I can be confident they aren't going to miss. I just want them to be able to play with the nice things they do have, and clear out the stuff that prevents that from happening.
That is EXACTLY where I am. Thank you.
post #25 of 35
Originally Posted by justmeandmybrood View Post
One thing that seems to get through to my kiddos (4 and 7) is reasoning with them to a point - I tell them that #1 we do not have the space; #2 they need to get rid of the things they do not want and play with - there are other children who have very little that we can share with, and those children might actually play with these ignored toys.
Yes and yes. At 11 and 4 my kids really understand these two things as well. My DD(11) just went through a bunch of her old made at school books all on her own and cut them down to a third! I am happy that she is able to reason that she has outgrown the subject matter and just because they made it at school she doesn't have to keep it forever.
post #26 of 35
DS is 3.5, so he's not that old. I declutter half with his help, and half without his help. Lots of stuff he never plays with but he would be upset to know it was going. However, once it's gone, he'll never ask for it again. If it's something that he'll notice, then I let him have some say in the matter...I'll let him pick which of two things stays, for example. Or, I'll empty out a box of his stuff and I'll tell him he can keep 10 things from that box, or whatever. He knows what he loves and what he doesn't care about, he just needs a push, and to be reminded that lots of kids don't have toys and that there's no reason for us to keep things we don't love and use often.

FWIW, we've been decluttering HARD CORE for the last month or so, and DS has started suggesting giving away some things "to kids who don't have any toys" just randomly. He'll sort out toys into groups while playing with them, and then the ones he doesn't love he suggests giving away. I'm very proud of him, and glad that he's coming around since he was VERY against the idea of getting rid of any of his things when we started.
post #27 of 35
This is a difficult thing for me because the toys are almost all "everybody's toys" so we'd need to get a consensus on what to keep and what to dump... *sigh* It makes it easier when they're fighting over a toy, to be able to tell them "no, they're everybody's toys so either play together or take turns..." though.
post #28 of 35
Originally Posted by happydance View Post
You know, I have been doing this consistantly for about the last year and once a month - in the garage, or a closet, or wherever I put the boxes or bags the kids get into them during a moment when I am on the toilet or something and tear through the toys like its xmas.

Tape the box and label it "Happydance's old jeans for Goodwill"?
post #29 of 35
I just did a big declutter of toys from the Living Room today. Ds (6) is ok with it in general... he likes the idea that we are giving to a place where people can buy his toys cheap, and if I talk to him about how he never plays with that toy, he is glad to give it to people who will.

My 3 year old was a different story, though. She was in tears, sobbing and yelling about anything I wanted to get rid of. I was at a loss at first of how to meet both our needs (mine to clean out my house, hers to not have to get rid of things she wanted to keep). Finally, we came to an agreement. I made a big pile of things that I wanted to get rid of (while she watched a movie). When I was done making the pile, she got to go pick 5 things out of it that she didn't want to go. I was sort of surprised that this worked for her, but it did. When it was time for her to pick out stuff, she picked out 7 things to keep and was ok with my getting rid of the other stuff.

A yard sale absolutely would not work for my kids. It would be too hard for them to see their stuff slowly going. I even find that hard, and I LOVE getting rid of stuff. Now that the kids are in bed, I will pack up all the get rid of stuff and put it in the trunk, then have dh take it to a thrift store tomorrow without the kids. Much easier for them and us that way.
post #30 of 35
when i declutter my daughters toys i do it when she is not in the house. I take the things she doesn't play with and move them to the garage. She is none the wiser.

Honestly, she is to young to really understand why we are doing this and just wants to keep everything. If she doesn't see me taking it, she doesn't think about it.

Also, if you want to have a garage sale with their things, have them away from teh house when you do it.
post #31 of 35
Originally Posted by TulsiLeaf View Post

Also, if you want to have a garage sale with their things, have them away from teh house when you do it.
This is my plan. I think it'll be too hard for the kids to be there for the garage sale, so i'm hoping they can go up and play at my mom's house for the day (or she can take them to the zoo or whatever), to save them the agony of watching other people digging through the stuff.
post #32 of 35
i used to have to do this when my son was younger.. he couldnt handle getting rid of anything but he has outgrown it and actually enjoys de-cluttering with me now. he really only cares about lego and playmobil..but he has special things like books ect that im totally okay with him having. i dislike the bits and pieces that are collected over time.. the kinder egg crap (they get them a few times a year from family members) and junk from thrift stores.. ect.. those things we get rid of pretty regularly. we are getting ready to move into a new house and im determined to move only what we really love and need..so im going to be doing this with my kids in the next few weeks. we did a quick over a while ago but i want to go more in depth. my son is a serious artist and has boxes full of drawings and sketchbooks so that needs to get sorted out before we go. i bought some white paper magazine boxes a while ago and i plan to help him get everything he wants to keep put away carefully in them.

my girls really could care less.. my 4 year old isn't attached to much. when we do de-clutter she tries to put all of her stuff in the bags and boxes and i often pull things out that i like or have bought for her we have lots of house toys but she doesnt actually have a lot that is her own.
post #33 of 35
I highly recommend the "take everything out, make three piles" method. My 6-yr.-old is a hoarder and is very reluctant to part with anything. But this method worked for him. We literally took every toy out of the playroom, piled them up in the living and dining rooms, and made three piles: keep, sell/donate, and trash. My son loves math so we also measured the space available in his closet and on shelves so he could understand that we have more things than space.

With your 6-yr.-old, maybe you can ask these questions about each item:
Do I use this?
When did I last use this?
Will I use it again?
Is it worth the space it takes up in my room/closet/our house?

(These questions are from the book "It's All Too Much." Oh, and I also read him the old children's book "The Big Tidy-Up.")

Good luck! I thought I was going to have to give things away without telling him (we're preparing to move too), but I was very glad I didn't have to.
post #34 of 35
I am just starting to involve the kids in the descision making, they are 3 and nearly 6. The 3 YO had a much easier time. In part personality but I guess he had also really outgrown stuff and could see it. It was quite cute to see him want to do all the 2 piece puzzles and realise they were too easy.

Till now I have done the bag and store method and it works pretty well. DD has a pretty good memory and has asked where a couple of things are so they have been found again.

However I held off doing too much de-cluttering of their stuff while we moved. They were both concerned that stuff would get lost when we moved and spent ages going through the house asking what we were taking with us. They got supprisingly upset but some of the things that we left (like the garden shed )

What worked for us was that I packed a couple of boxes of the stuff I wanted to go through and downsize and we labled them garage. They packed their most used stuff which went straight into thier rooms. We have brought out a fair amount of the garage stuff since they did miss things and we have a lot more room to work with.
post #35 of 35
I recently thinned my kids' toys out *considerably.* They are 5 and 3.5. Here's what I did:

1. First, I went through and boxed up everything I didn't think they needed or used very often and put it out of sight (in the garage). I didn't mention it to them. If they asked for one of those toys, I got it for them. This only happened 1-2 times.
2. After about a month, I listed everything online that I wanted to sell--this way I could sell it without them having to watch it go.
3. With what was left, I had a big garage sale. I'm walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day this August, so all the proceeds from the sale went toward my $2300 fundraising requirement. I explained this to the kids and had them help with the sale.
3. If they were sad about a particular thing being in the sale, we talked about it, and I let them take it back into the house. In some cases, they brought it back out after playing with it "one last time." This probably accounted for 2-3 items.
4. I also asked them if there was anything else they could contribute. And...my 5-year-old did! He went through all his puzzles (loves puzzles and had a ton) and brought me about half that he didn't think he needed to keep, brought me several toys and quite a few books.

My kids still have PLENTY of toys, but we got rid of more than half of them, I'd say. As a result, the house is easier to keep clean, they are playing more with the toys they have, and I'm more than halfway to my fundraising goal!

If you're going to sort through the stuff *for* them, do it when they aren't around (watching it go may be more painful than actually having it gone), and don't make it permanent right away if you can help it.

Good luck!
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