I really need some help, ladies. I need to tackle DD's room (3) and I'm overwhelmed. She has so many toys, so many bits and pieces to things, and unfortunately she's attached to everything. I feel terrible tossing/donating her beloved "guys" and/or throwing out bits of her childhood that she might miss.
But, it's gotten so out of hand, she can't even play in her room. We can't find anything. Pieces are just everywhere. With the holidays approaching, it seems like a good time to purge old stuff and replace it with new age appropriate things. I just want her to have a fun and calm space.
Where do I begin?? Should I get her out of the house before I start? Or will it be better if she helps? I'm in over my head.
Carrie SAHM to Nora Caitlyn ('08) and Finnley Dax ('11) homebirthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, intactivist, doula mama!
My response is Yes do it without her.
I'm just completing the Simplicity Parenting Group Leader's training and all the parents who have embarked on the decluttering have this big thought (oh no my DD or DS will be upset) in fact the opposite is true. There's a huge amount of experience of this decluttering out there and no one reports a child getting upset. As long as you know the treasured items and don't chuck those...
You could ask her what her five favourite cuddle toys are (and end up with 10 because she can't decide) but that's far fewer than the 30 you might have lurking in the cupboards, under the bed and in her toy box.
Kim John Payne's simplicity parenting has a great checklist for what's a keeper and what to throw (or recyle /donate to a charity shop / put on ebay).
1. Anything broken, missing a part, needs batteries to work
2. Duplicates (six barbies - really?)
3. Toys Fashioned on TV or Movie characters - point to consider is do you want your child's own open imagination to be active when they play or to have it dampened because they are playing with a Pixar / Disnesy Creative genius who has handed down his or her ideas to your child ?
On that last point I can share my children have created their own book series called the Nomnoms - drawn all the pictures and made up all the characters - it's fantastic and yes they have seen books of characters etc to get some of the ideas they've used, but they also have enough free imagination to create this whole new world.
1. Open imagination - scarfs, pillows, wooden blocks, pens, paints, nature (pine cones, stones, shells)
2. Toys in a toy library - recycle them out every three months.
3. Treasured items - which may well be TV characters :-)
My DD has a bag full of polly pocket sets that she treasured, and five months after my first round of decluttering she announced to me the other day "Mummy I don't want them any more".
Start with one shelf
and then off you go step by step !! Celebrate each draw cleared. Try not to procrastinate. Come back to it next week, next month... post your successes here ! and good luck !
www.joyfulparents.co.ukSimple, Fun, Creative ways to put the Joy back into parenting
Can you get cheap cardboard moving boxes from somewhere?
To make the decluttering process less traumatic for your daughter and you, start by simply boxing things up as you would for a move. Have your daughter help, by all means, making it about putting things she does not use away and cleaning- Not about parting with beloved toys. Label the boxes, have her draw something on them if she wants to, and then stack them somewhere out of sight and mind. Not inaccessible to her, mind you, if she really wants something from one of the boxes, just out of sight.
This is how my parents weaned me and my sister from quite a few toys. Saying we would just store things in another place, so we could have more space. Which was fine, especially with the "don't play with but won't part with" toys. Then, after a few years in storage (once we had outgrown a certain stage) they brought out the boxes and asked us if it wasn't time to donate the toys. Worked great for us, kept clutter to a minimum and is still how I tackle clutter. Box away, then donate once the boxes are forgotten about.
As a practicing minimalist, I wonder how I will do this with my son as he gets older.
If I were a kiddo, I'd want to be included in the decision making process, but then again if might be more trouble than its worth. This is an idea that just came to me... not one from experience, so I have no idea if this would work or not, but here goes.
Maybe start with a discussion about all the kiddos who don't have ANY toys and who would really love her used toys (one other kid helped for every toy donated). Then, make a special place to showcase each saved cherished toy, like a special shelf to display them when they are not being used. You pick how many spots, but she could maybe decide where in her room they would go, or how to display them (i.e pick out the shelf or box for them). Then, make a game out of deciding? Or possibly allow her more choices for each toy donated? I don't know... those are just thoughts and likely won't work for every kid...
I think the biggest thing is to lead by example, but that said I do have this fear that my kid will respond to my minimalism by becoming a giant pack rat. LOL
Could have her fill ONE bin with her favorite stuff.I had the kids do that.I donated bags and bags.If the kids are around they want this and that. I find it easier to purge when they are gone.I know my ds wants his legos and dinos.My dd wants her gifted stuffed animals.
An option that has worked for me is to bag /bin items for a month or 2.If nothing as asked for it goes to the goodwill.
I have kept a few key items I like such as the dino ds carried for years,or dd's favorite teddy bear. I won't keep 20 of them!
I watched a few hoarder and buried alive episodes to motivate me.Watch the ones with kids.It is true when there is so many toys they are unable to enjoy any.
Keep a few key items.Let them pick a few.Bag and hold for 2-6 months then donate.
I have filled a room 3 times with new and used things. A great way to get them to let go was for us to donate to a cat shelter that was having a garage sale to raise funds.The kids were so excited to be helping the kitties they stopped crying to keep toys/books/games they never used.