Updated: Jan 25
As adults we know that a cluttered life equals a cluttered mind, and that a good declutter can be liberating. However this can be a tricky concept to explain to children, especially when they are desperate to keep every small plastic toy they’ve ever received in a party bag.
One good approach is to teach your children about the value of generosity and how decluttering can benefit themselves and others less fortunate. Follow our easy guide and the whole process should be much more rewarding.
Explain to your children about donations
Children, especially younger ones, are often unaware that other families have fewer toys, clothes or treats than them. But when you do explain it in simple terms, they can actually be very empathetic. Start with this concept and then move on to discussing how nice it would be for another child to receive a new toy. Remind your child about how exciting it is when they themselves get something for their birthday or Christmas. It can also be helpful to have prepared a list of suggestions for toys that your child has grown out of or doesn’t play with.
Let your children make the decisions
Although it takes a lot of patience, at the start of the process allow your children to decide what they would like to donate themselves (or bin, in some cases). They will probably surprise you with coming up with a larger amount than you anticipated. Provide plenty of encouragement and praise for what they are doing.
If they are reluctant to let something go, don’t push them as you don’t want to give them a negative view of the whole process. You can always ask them again at a different time, or perhaps suggest that you put the item away and see how much they really miss it.
Everything has its place
As part of of the donation process, organise what’s left over and clear it away so that everything has a place. This can help with the decision making process, but also sets things up nicely for future ‘tidy away’ sessions. You could also introduce a rule about new things coming in to the house. If they want to keep the item, it must have a place and it might need to replace something which they already have.
Choose a donation station
Again this is another decision that you can involve your children with. Come up with a short list of possible locations that you could donate to, including charity shops, family centres or collections for overseas. Talk to your child briefly about each cause and allow them to decide where they want their things to go. If it’s practical to do, take them with you when you make the donation.
Decluttering your children’s things may seem like a nightmare task but it becomes a lot easier when you involve them in the process. Plus there are some great life lessons to be learnt about thinking of others and generosity.
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