In this post, I shared the reasons I felt my family needed to declutter and showed the end result, but let’s really talk about HOW I accomplished this, with a husband, toddler and an eight-year-old.
1. I did not make my husband get rid of anything. When I told him what I was doing, he agreed that it was great, but “don’t touch my stuff.” I get it, he holds a high value and purpose to all of his stuff, and he even ended up getting rid of some of his t-shirts. My husband is a pretty purposeful shopper, and his stuff is neatly tucked away, for the most part, so I didn’t press the issue.
2. I got rid of all of my own stuff first. I let my family watch me go through my collections, clothes, bookshelves, kitchen, and drawers before asking them to do anything. I let my son help me make decisions and talk about memories with certain items. Then, I tossed them out, I wanted him to see that the decision to get rid of things was not effortless, but not really a big deal. We talked through why I wanted to keep some things over others, and it was actually really helpful to me.
3. The baby obviously didn’t have a choice. Her room was the easiest. At 20 months old, she has collected so much extra stuff. Duplicates of pretty much everything and so many toys that she doesn’t know what to do first when going into her room. I easily set aside toys I hadn’t seen before, clothes that were too small and left the things I thought she would love to play with most. Honestly, I kept things that I really liked to play with too.
4. I let my 8-year-old make all of the decisions regarding the stuff in his room. We started with clothes, and I did make him keep three nice outfits for visiting the great grandparents and going golfing with them, but other than that he kept the items he loved and we let go of the rest. Surprisingly, he was ready to let go of a lot of old toys and even less surprising, so much of his clutter was TRASH. Actual trash…an entire bag of it. (I did show him where our actual trash can was and let him know he is free to use it at any time. hahaha!)
5. This was only part ONE. My plan is to do this again right before summer is over (which is in TWO WEEKS now), to assess if we need to replace any clothing or find that we haven’t touched any of the stuff we kept. I may just do it quarterly till we run out of stuff. Personally, I had a rough time getting rid of kitchen items, and I know there is more that I could get out of there. So I will be doing another after the holiday season since I am sure some items are seasonal, so I want to see if I dig them out.
6. I am now asking our friends and family to stop with the stuff giving. I know it feels great to give children stuff you think they would like and see the joy on their faces and it makes you feel fuzzy inside. I get it, but as soon as it gets home it gets lost in the abyss of their other items and never seen again.
Instead, I am asking that our loved ones give our children the gift of spending time with them. Take them to the park, come grab them for a special visit, chat with them on the phone or Skype. Make a memory and create something far more special than a thing that will probably end up under my couch for six months. Also, I need to clean from under the couch more often, because that actually happens.
Do you all strive to clean out the stuff in your house, or do you have an organization of the items you have?