It's been more than 6 months since I first made the announcement that we really ought to get rid of a lot of the stuff we don't use in favor of a better life. (Missed that one? Find it here ) And it got off to a good start. Our bathrooms for the most part have remained clutter free. The playroom got a major overhaul, and the rooms of my Persistence and the Junior have both had a first round of "stuff" extraction.
And let me tell you, don't underestimate your kids' abilities to part with the things they don't love.
When we started this, I was bracing myself for fights, kicking and screaming or at least crying about living with less. These are my kids, who have told me in the past, that they love ALL their toys, with tears in their eyes and worry in their voices.
But I had them get in the habit of cleaning up at the end of each day. And I talked to them about how much nicer it must be to play in a clean room, to have all that space and not have to look for the things they wanted before they wanted to play. I talked to them about how it would be nice to not have so much to clean up, and how it would be even nicer to have even more space to play, and how fun it could be if they didn't have to take care of the things they didn't truly love. I talked to them about not having room for nice new things because their rooms were too full of things they didn't really use. I let them see me sorting through my own stuff. And then I asked Persistence to start in her room, and I sat with her and piece by piece we went through it. I asked her for each thing, if it was something she truly loved, and if the answer was no, it went into a bag to get rid of and she was totally fine with all of it.
She wanted to have more space, and more fun, and less searching and cleaning.
That's my girl. I am so proud of her. And shocked how smoothly it went.
The hardest part was keeping my opinions to myself about what she should get rid of and what she should keep, because after all, she's going to be the one living with the decisions. I did insist she keep SOME vegetables in her food toys, instead of having a bin of fake cookies and donuts. But mostly, if she wanted to let it go, I just helped her bag it, even if I had my own sentimental ideas about whatever it was. That was a little hard at the time, but I don't even remember what those things were now.
For the Junior, I just kept an eye on what he liked to play with for about a week. And then I took out all the toys that weren't age appropriate or used often while he watched a movie. He's still a little young to understand what this is all about, and so until he gets a little older I will be making decisions on his behalf. But he hasn't seemed to mind, he's enjoying the toys that are left SO much more, and hasn't missed any of the "baby" toys I took out.
So that's all it took. I helped one clean her room out, and for another I just decided for him. And both worked. I can't promise this will work for everyone, but it's gone well for our family, for my kids and their personalities and stage of growth.
So does that mean we're done? Not by a long shot. I still have to get through the Wise Owl's room, and the younger two kids' rooms likely need revisited, and of course my bedroom needs done top to bottom, and the rest of the house will need a deeper purge before I'm really happy with it. But so far, so good. In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I'll post more on the method to my madness in the near future. But the kids? Once they know why we are doing what we're doing? It's really no problem at all.