Looking for declutter tips? Here's an interesting perspective on helping your kids clean up clutter and why you shouldn't give their stuff away without their knowledge or consent.
QUICK BUT IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Holding on to stuff is one of the ways in which we procrastinate and then getting organized never happens. There is a specific formula
that will not only reverse this detrimental
thought process but will stop the disorganization cycle altogether. With
this specific formula, you will be able to get out of your own way and
stop disorganization at the source...your mind.
Here's a personal story along with lessons learned, implementation tactics, helpful communication tips and an extra resource for you. Enjoy!
I looked for it in my room. Not there.
I looked for it in the game room. Not there.
I looked for it on the third floor. Not there.
Where in the world could it be? After all, I was very organized (are you surprised?) so I knew I didn't misplace it. I was an only child, so no one else was playing with it. Hmmmmmm.
Me: Mom?! Do you know where my chalkboard is?
My mom: Yeah. We gave it away...you weren't using it.
My heart sank.
But...I'm looking for it right now to use it, I thought. Why would you give it away?!
I was so upset. How could she make that decision without asking me? And how did she come to that decision anyway? I used it enough to seek it out. What an invasion.
A little bit of trust was broken.
I couldn't count on my things to stay where I left them (in their specific spots...like I said, I was an organized child). What would be next? Which prized possession would soon disappear without my knowledge?
Because of this resulting uncertainty, I started to hold on to things.
I started getting attached to my stuff. Everything was a prized possession. Everything was important memorabilia, even if I couldn't remember why or if I didn't play with it anymore.
I mean, why would you ever give your stuff away?
Thinking back and now this makes a lot more sense, I didn't have much practice in regards to giving stuff
away. I'm guessing that up until this point, my mom gave away the toys I
was no longer using but I was too young to notice. I don't remember there ever being charity drop-offs or conversations about how giving my unused stuff away will help children who don't have any toys.
Fast forward to my
9-year-old self having a break down about the chalkboard being donated
without my knowledge or consent, and you've got the makings of a child who can't let go.
It wasn't until after college that I started being really selective and super mindful of the stuff I was keeping in my life. My mom had sold her house, and she sent me all of my "memories" and childhood possessions that I had kept over the years.
Woweee! It was too much crap. And most of it really was crap.
I went through each box trying to figure out what most of it meant or why I had kept it with no such luck. I lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment at the time with boyfriend (now my husband) and had no room for this excess, so all of the unnecessary had to go.
I decluttered ruthlessly keeping only the items that truly meant something. This included photos (which I later scanned), a handful of my favorite childhood books and stuffed animals that will be passed on to my children and year books.
It felt good. It felt really good. It was a much-needed cleansing of my soul and my space, and that light feeling I had afterwards was intoxicating. I was hooked.
Fast forward to the fact that I'm a professional organizer and now one of the declutter tips I preach is keeping your kids organized from the get go so...
As an adult, a professional
organizer and a logical human being (well, for the most part), keeping
everything your child acquires doesn't make sense. However, as a child
who knows what it feels like for your stuff to disappear without your
consent or knowledge, just giving away your kid's possessions isn't
It all comes down to age.
When they are really young (age 6-7 and under), I think it's safe for you to analyze whether or not your child is using something and make the decision to give it away. Once your child reaches a certain age however (age 7-8 and up), they should be in on the decision-making.
This is an important part of upbringing. Your child will learn to let go of the unnecessary, will be conditioned to donate and be charitable, will practice making decisions and will understand the decluttering process. Benefits all around!
Now you might be thinking to yourself, "That sounds great, Nealey, but that's a lot easier said than done."
Yes! You're right. What kid wants to give away their stuff?
That's why communication is key. Here are some ideas to relay to your kids that may help with this process.
One last thing...is there anything that YOU are holding on to unnecessarily?
I bring this up for a few reasons. One, we could all use a little decluttering. Two, it's hard to teach your kids something that you're struggling with in the first place. Three, keeping too much stuff may be the culprit as to why you can't get organized.
Click the link in the red box below to read more about how to remedy this.