September 1, 2009

How to de-clutter your child's room without a fight

(Reposted from Arapahoe County Parenting Examiner)

Parents are often accused of being too sentimental, keeping everything from the locks of a first haircut to every Kindergarten drawing. However, the real pack-rats are the children themselves. There comes a time as you must hop and lurch across the toy-littered landscape of their rooms, when you say, "We need to get rid of this clutter!"

Suddenly, every item in his or her room becomes a holy relic to the child, and how could you possibly think of throwing it away? These tips will help you (and your child) through the figurative and literal mess.

Give Them a Choice

When children feel they are in control, they are much more likely to work with you. Let them be a part of the decision-making process. Make a game of it. Pull out two toys which they do not play with regularly. Ask which one they want to keep...and which one they want to give away. This process runs smoothly most of the time. In some cases when they cannot choose between the two objects, set them aside, and try re-pairing them with different objects. At the end, if there is a toy which your child still really wants to keep, eh, let them.

Appeal to Their Emotions

Many children will never have to spend the holidays in a homeless shelter or worry about whether they will receive birthday gifts. Dramatic but true. Oftentimes, our children don't realize how lucky they are, because they have never had to worry or go without. Talk to your child about those who are less fortunate. Explain that, by getting rid of toys they no longer play with, they could make another kid happy. Not only would these toys be more appreciated in another home, it would also give your child a sense of compassion.

One way to get your child in an altruistic mood is to let him or her help you deliver these items. Some places you may think of donating to include: Gateway Battered Women's Services in Arapahoe County, Crossroads Safehouse, and Champa House. Check ahead to make sure they have a need for toys and games, as well as clothing and blankets.

Teach Them the Art of Business

In a perfect world, charity would be reason enough for a child to give up some of their goods. However, some kids may feel less encouraged by giving, than by selling. Teach them the value of money. Show them that in order to make money, they have to earn it. First, let them come up with a goal for which they should save (a new toy, usually). Funny how kids are more willing to de-clutter when it entails the possibility of something new.

List the toys (books, movies, and video games are also possibilities) they decide to sell on eBay or Craigslist. Your child can help you write the descriptions. Or you can hold a garage sale and let him or her assist. They'll feel more involved and as if they have earned their goal.

For more info:

If you are a part of an organization which accepts used toys or clothing, please leave a comment and let us know! Tell us about your organization and leave a link.

1 comment:

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