In the last post about clutter we talked about how to take small steps each day to get rid of clutter in the house. Purging toys from a child’s room, regardless of whether or not they actually play with them, can be a completely different story.
Try throwing away anything that a child has stored in their room and you could find yourself in a world of pain.
Children make emotional attachments to their belongings that might seem strange to us.
A child can collect a rock from a beach on the family holiday and it becomes their most treasured possession. When we as parents look at it, all we see is an ugly old rock but our children see things differently. It is not the rock in itself that is important to the child, it will be the reminder for them of the experience they had. It doesn’t matter if the rock is ugly or pretty, it is the memory they attach to it that is important.
It can therefore be very difficult to get rid of the things that we see as junk and clutter from our children’s rooms.
There are however a couple of ways to manage at least some of the things cluttering up our children’s bedrooms.
How to purge children’s toys from your home.
Step 1) Always involve the child in the decluttering.
It can be very distressing for a child to come home from school to find their most treasured possessions have been thrown away.
Step 2) Create a one in, one out rule.
This works particularly well for birthday and Christmas gifts. As children grow they naturally grow out of the toys they previously played with. Apart from a couple of sentimental items, others can be discarded as they grow too old for them. If the disposal of these things is timed with the acquisition of new toys, the letting go can be a lot easier.
Make it a rule that before a new toy can make it into the bedroom, an old toy must go into the charity bin.
Step 3) As much as possible, make cleaning up a game.
We can all learn a lesson here from Mary Poppins. Obviously we don’t have any magic to help us but if we try to make necessary chores as fun as possible for our children, it can be so much easier to get the job done.
Step 4) Keep a photographic record of your children’s art projects.
By taking a photograph of them and keeping an album of their creations, a record of the item can be kept without having to keep the item itself. That amazing but enormous cotton ball Santa can now go in the bin.
Step 5) Use 3 boxes when you tackle the room.
These are all of the items that are still in current use and will be stored and organized for easy access when the children want to play with them. It is important that there are not so many that the child is overwhelmed when in the play room and can’t decide what to play with. In this circumstance, less is definitely more.
These are all of the toys that have been outgrown or unliked but are still in good working order. They can be enjoyed by other children and should therefore be given away or donated to someone else who will enjoy them.
These are toys that are broken, very worn or unusable for some reason. It is important for a child’s safety that broken toys are thrown away.
Step 6) Remember that tackling something in a short energetic burst (15 minutes) will often achieve more than a long tiring clean.
This is particularly important when involving children in the task of decluttering and purging their toys. It will be much easier to encourage a child to do a quick sort, relocate, donate and toss than to devote hours to the task. Easier for the child, and easier for your patience levels too. Try to make the task fun and fulfilling rather than a chore.