The Christmas countdown has officially begun in our house. As soon as Thanksgiving comes and goes, we get up the decorations and start preparing for the holiday.
One big way we do that is go through our "stuff" (mainly toys) and get rid of what we don't use/need anymore. In the past I have pretty much done this myself but this year with my oldest being five, I figured I should involve them as well. After all it is mainly their "stuff" we are getting rid of.
We started upstairs in their bedrooms. We don't keep many toys in there just because their rooms are pretty small and we have a playroom for that. We do however, keep stuffed buddies and books in there. So we decided to start there.
Each girl has their own large bucket full of buddies--which had become totally ridiculous. Most of these buddies come as gifts for Valentines Day, Easter, etc. But it was time to whittle down the piles.
When I'm working with clients and we need to go through and purge, I often use signs to help with the process. So I decided to make kid-friendly signs to use. This helps them to reason. Because if you've ever tried to have your kids get rid of things, they seem to all of a sudden have a deep love for things they haven't played with in months or even years.
Am I right?
These signs each include three things to think about or ask themselves.
(Sorry for the blurry pic.)
(Sorry for the blurry pic.)
Yes it took some explaining...and re-explaining. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much they were able to let go.
We continued this process until their buckets were empty and then reevaluated the piles. The goal was to make sure there were only enough buddies to fill (not overflow) their buckets. And although I don't have a picture of their buckets afterwards, there was actually some room to add to it (if absolutely necessary).
We also did this very quickly with their books mainly getting rid of ones that were either to young for them or in really bad shape.
The ones that were really out of shape were tossed in the trash. Unless you can fix it, don't donate it. No one wants broken stuff.
Next stop, since we were already upstairs, was the bath.
Again, only keeping what would fit in the container.
Phew, that was some work but well worth it. There is something so freeing about getting rid of stuff. That was all we did for the day. I would have kept going but with kids things take quite a bit longer and they tire and get distracted easily. So we ended on a positive and told ourselves we'd start more the next day. Stay tuned for the remainder and what steps I take once we have gotten everything sorted.
Here are some quick tips when purging--specifically with kids:
1. Start in small doses. Do a room or section of a room at a time.
2. When the kids start getting distracted or tired, it's time to take a break.
3. Make a game out of it. Tell them they each have to get rid of a certain number of items in a certain amount of time (say by the end of a song).
4. Use music. It just lightens the mood and can energize as well.
5. Use signs to show where things should go as well as reasons for why things belong in each category.
Here are the signs I created for you to download. Feel free to use them and teach your kids the importance of ridding themselves of clutter. Such an important lesson to learn and can really benefit them as they get older.