Decluttering and Organising with Children
I recently had the joy to work with a lovely young girl teaching her the rules and benefits of decluttering. She was at first a bit worried but quickly started to enjoy the process and in the end was thrilled with the results. It got me thinking that it would be a great topic for a blog.
Children often drag their feet at the idea of having to tidy up their activitities, let alone their bedrooms. However it is also the best time for them to learn valuable tools that they will keep for a lifetime.
Here are my tips for to introduce not decluttering and organising but also mindfulness to children.
Start early with easy tasks:
Children as early as 2 years old can learn. Tidying up time is part of every nursery’s curriculum. After each activities, ask them to join in the tidying process by putting things back where they belong: crayons in their pot, cubes in their box and so on… They will feel proud and actually enjoy it.
2. Don’t put them off:
Often kids get freaked out when told about decluttering. Tidying up is bad enough but you want them to give away THEIR stuff!!! Suddenly the discarded 3 wheeled based up toy car becomes the most precious toy they ever owned. ‘But I LOVE it mummm!’. Of course we all have different reaction when it comes to the attachment we form with our bellongings, but some kids can hold on to them with dear life. Letting go is difficult at any age but it is incredibly important.
So, the Formula I have found is to start by reassuring them. We won’t ‘force them’ but we can:
Explain to them that their unwanted toys won’t be thrown away but will make another little child happy. Whilst the idea might not appeal to all, it will reassure them to some degree.
Create a ‘Treasure/Memory box’ where they can store their favorite old toys, drawings, books you name it, that they really don’t want to part with but don’t use anymore.
Have a ‘6 Months box’. This one is for the items that the kids aren’t sure about, that they are holding on to without using them. Like the toys they don’t play with anymore but are not ready to discard just yet. Decide together to put them in this box with the idea that if they don’t use them within the next 6 months, they will then give them away (without opening the box if possible to avoid any temptation).
Explain that in order to bring new things into our lives, we need to make room. When we don’t follow the flow of life, we end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Whilst they won’t understand it in such a word, they will understand the concept of making room for the new.
For the older kids, tell them that that they can keep the money when they have sell their old doll’s house or car electric circuit. This will appeal to their sense of responsibility and the idea of making pocket money is always a winner.
I am always surprised at how quickly children understand the benefits of decluttering. At home we rarely buy stuff apart from craft and books so we were never overwhelmed by stuff. I am trying to teach my children that owning objects, buying stuff won't make them happier or more fulfilled. I want them to consume responsibly in a world that is drowning under stuff we don't need. I believe that kids get it and I hope that this will help them grow as responsible adults.