I have no difficulty purging my kids’ stuff. As an older child and teenager, my room was the most tidy room in the house. Tidying, including decluttering, has always been an outlet for me – the cleanliness of my room was one of the things that I could control as I dealt with a traumatic and tumultuous childhood. I’ve carried that “O.C.D.” into adulthood and motherhood.
I understand why people have difficulty getting rid of their kids’ stuff. We as parents may feel like we don’t want to invade our kids’ privacy and betray them, have sentimental attachments to their stuff (i.e. drawings they made for us, toys/books we passed down to them from our childhood, baby clothes/toys, etc.), and feel like we’re providing for them when we get them a lot of stuff.
But, just like an adult gets overwhelmed with a mess, so do our children. It’s in your child’s best interest to teach them that they can’t keep everything and to keep their rooms tidy and organized. The only way to do that is by getting rid of their stuff. With less, they’ll be able to learn valuable life lessons like appreciating and respecting what they have more, and it’ll reduce their stress and distractions.
A couple of months ago, I decluttered the kids’ rooms as part of pursuing minimalism as a lifestyle. I was able to get rid of a lot of their stuff, including toys that they had lost interest in and clothes and shoes that were damaged, too small, and even too big.
When I declutter my kids’ stuff, I don’t typically involve them because it makes the process easier and less stressful for me. When I do decide to involve them, my son has an easier time of letting go of his stuff than my girls. If they happen to ask about a particular item, I tell them what I did with it, whether I donated it or trashed it if it was damaged. I’ve always been like this, so even if they protest at first, they don’t know any different so they quickly accept my decision and move on.
As mentioned, I don’t have any issues purging my kids’ stuff – from clothes and shoes, to books and toys, to art and other paper clutter. If I’m doing laundry and I notice a rip in my kid’s pants, I discard them immediately. If I’m cleaning the kids’ rooms and I notice a toy or two that they haven’t played with in a while, I put it in the donate bin in my closet. I trash/shred most of their paper as it comes in, except for school-related memorabilia like report cards and “special” art for their School Memories binders (2″ white binders divided by grades).
I hope this post motivates and encourages you to take the time to purge your child’s stuff today!