This past week-end, my daughter tackled her annual ‘pre-Christmas purge’. Before my daughter completes her ‘Christmas Wish List’, I have her go through her stuff (toys, crafts, etc.) and weed out what she no longer plays with. Before Christmas and her birthday tend to be a good time to go through this exercise as, generally speaking, the idea of giving things away is somewhat easier when she knows there will be new things to take their place.
Having said that, she has been doing this for years now and does a pretty good job of ‘decluttering’. Truth is, she doesn’t really mind the process, since it gives her an opportunity to ‘find’ things she had ‘lost’ or reacquaint herself with things she had forgotten she even had. When she was done, both she and I had a much better idea of what should and shouldn’t be on her Christmas list.
Although she will perform this task on her own, her preference is for me to keep her company (after all, it’s more fun when you’re not alone). Truth is, it’s probably not a bad idea to be on hand so that you can provide some direction (and possibly a little focus…there’s a tendency to get distracted and end up playing more than purging). Having said that, it’s a good idea to make it a little fun, so that they aren’t turned off of the process completely. A little music and dancing can’t hurt!
I have my daughter divide things into piles – one for keeping, one for throwing away/recycling and one for giving to charity (thrift stores always appreciate donations at this time of year). Once she’s done sorting things into piles, it’s the perfect time to take the things she is keeping and to neatly organize them before she puts them away. Remember, you may love your child’s closet to look like it came out of the pages of Good Housekeeping magazine, but you might want to lower your standards a bit. Imposing an impossible standard of tidiness on your child is only going to frustrate both you and your child and cause a rift in your relationship (it’s best to choose your battles carefully).
I came across this infographic today (too bad I didn’t see it earlier!) and thought it would be helpful for anyone who is looking to declutter. When your children are doing their pre-Christmas purge, use these questions to help guide their decisions and teach them decluttering skills that they can use for many years to come.
Let’s be honest, most kids aren’t going to love going through their belongings and making decisions about what to keep and what to give away (to be perfectly honest, it’s not my favorite thing, either), but these ‘decluttering skills’ will benefit them throughout their lives (we’ve all watched shows on hoarding and seen the impact on peoples’ lives).
If you’re interested in teaching your children organization and personal responsibility, you may also wish to read my post on ‘Teaching responsibility at home: Implementing an after-school routine’.