I recall asking a friend the how much is enough/ too much question when I had 1 + 1 on the way... She told me she thought 10 of -anything- was enough, bordering on too much. (like <10 pants, <10 shirts, <10 pr undies, sox etc) 10 of fewer TOYS/ toy sets (ie a box of lego counts as 1 toy, not 246 toys, lol)
I totally BALKED! Mostly bc we just had way too much stuff & it felt like throwing away most of what we owned.
I started w a modified version of this (keep in mind-- 10 is not a magic number; choose a # that fits your space & lifestyle; ie, if you can only do laundry once or twice a month, then 10 is not enough)-- first we got rid of anything not used/ useful (I kept the good outgrown boy clothes bc I had another boy coming). Then kept only 15 of each item, except toys-- I'll get to toys later, then kept only 10 of each. Doing a declutter in stages helps (but keep yourself accountable-- make a time limit for each step to begin & end; I think I did the 1st weekend of each month to complete each step bc I had a baby coming & limited time!)
Toys-- I had a large kitchen floor with big square tiles, so it was a fun staging area for sorting things. I marked a big X with red or blue masking tape on 20 squares (masking tape is ok on carpets, too, btw), then told DS to go get his favorite toys/ sets & place one on each X. (Expect this to take a LONG time, like all afternoon.) He didn't come up with even 20 favorites & I learned something-- *I* am more emotionally attached to some of my DC's toys than they are (it was a gift from g'ma when you were nb, etc). So, we washed out his enormous toy bin & cleared & dusted some shelf space & put up his 17 or so favorites. Then I put up the couple things that I felt were impossible to part with bc they are family heirlooms or that he played with a LOT as a toddler & would be good for new baby, etc (one SMALL roughtote, no more). Then I put all the rest into roughtotes in the garage. I told DS if he missed any of the things we put up, he was allowed to swap any toy in his room for any toy in the bin every Saturday (no limit on number of trades Sat, but one for one-- we'd still end up w 17 toys in the room). He had so much more fun when he could easily get out & put back things in his room! He (& I) was shocked how much he liked the arrangement (& he didn't have to feel like he'd lost it all!) We didn't fuss about tidying up toys much anymore either & he could easily clean his own room by his big-kid self!-- it really improved our relationship. He traded a couple things the first few weeks, but next time traded back-- he'd chosen his favorites pretty accurately the first time. After a few months, we went to the thrift store on a watching mission & checked out the toys available to buy & the kiddos buying them. He got very excited & said we should bring all our extra toys here & there'd be more for kids to pick from. (I was prepared to nudge in the right direction, but didn't need to). It was important to let him "let go" emotionally, although if push came to shove, I was ready to give him time, but get rid of them after a pre-set time limit-- weeks or months, even if he wanted to keep everything. When we later reduced to 10, it was no problem & we didn't need the "process" again bc he knew the benefits of it.
We never acquire more than 10 of any clothing item or toys; if we receive gifts, we donate an equal # of that item & just decide what we prefer to keep. My DC are never pressured to accept a gift they will not use & the g'parents/ fam know this, so there are fewer frivilous gifts (bc g'ma knows if DD likes all the jeans she has better than the new jeans from g'ma, then g'ma's jeans will be at goodwill soon).
Eventually, we focused even more on helping curb materialism, esp at holidays; each child could receive exactly ONE storebought gift (not from each g'parent/ side of the family-- ONE TOTAL); they could receive unlimited books, clothes, homeschool items, or homemade gifts, but may have to make hard decisions about what to keep later. At first they balked, but then next year, a gma &gpa who'd been divorced 20 years collaborated to buy a much-desired wooden train set & tracks for DS; another year gma decided that TIME would be a much better gift than things & took each gchild, individually, out for cocoa & ice skating. In short, it worked-- less materialism for the DC & good lessons for us all about what is lasting & important. Now my DC are older, it encourages them to develop their interests into real skills-- DS1 made DD a cedar jewelry box one yr bc he's good at woodworking. This year DS2 & DD are knitting those skinny fluffy scarves that are popular for some ppl. (this is just to encourage & let you know, it's such a good life lesson you're teaching your DC now while he's young & it can grow & have lifelong benefits.)
That was 15 years ago... now if only I can do this w DH's stacks of chaff... LOL! And my books... we do need & use & love our library, but I wonder what a good starting number should be... idek how many books we own, but I think my new limit will be the built-in shelves at the cabin-- what doesn't fit, must go... wish me clutter free good sense! HAHA
& ty mamas-- your posts are helping keep me accountable to the principles I cherish/ & in some ways (books) to get back on the bandwagon...