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Simplifying With Kids
Runner up post title was: How to Simplify When Your Daughter is a Sentimental Hoarder (hmm, that actually sounds like me when I was growing up).
One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is: I don’t need better organizing systems, I need less stuff.
That revelation was huge and ever so helpful for me and since then I have found myself constantly looking around my house for things that I no longer use or like. I have found that I would rather own less stuff than spend the time and effort into always cleaning it up and having it take up space.
My biggest challenge in all of this has been my daughter’s room. She has been very sentimental with everything in addition to being a hoarder of all things paper and cardboard for as long as I can remember. But even though she loves to hold on to her stuff, I’ve known for a long time and she’s recently realized that she does so much better with less. Maybe it’s her highly sensitive personality, or maybe it’s the fact that less options really are better, but too many toys (especially in her room) really overwhelms her.
We’ve been making an effort to simplify her room and her stuff in the last few months and I thought I’d share somethings that have been working for us.
01. rotate toys
This is not something I want to do forever, by the time each of my kids are ten I hope to be done with this. In my mind it is not a long term solution, nor is it the ideal one, but for now it is a compromise. We have one bin of general toys to rotate (if they want one out of the bin they have to choose one to put in) and then two smaller bins of specific toys (one has Playmobil and the other Jared’s retro Micro Machines) that we pull out when the kids ask and then put away once they are done playing with them.
02. put smaller toys and insignificant papers and junk in a time out
There are times where I will stash smaller, junky toys (like those from fast food restaurants) and put them in a box out of sight and if they aren’t asked for over the period of a few weeks I’ll either toss or donate them. The same thing goes for some of those insignificant papers (like my receipts) that seem to build up in my daughter’s room.
03. sell or donate toys
It was actually when Raeca had the idea to have a garage sale last fall that she started to be okay with getting rid of some of her toys, once she realized she could make some money from selling her stuff and potentially buy other things she wanted more she got really excited.
We had our garage sale this last weekend and she bought a new (used) bike with some of the money from her toys and earnings from her lemonade stand. After the sale was over she was okay with donating the toys that didn’t sell, so we boxed them up right away and brought them to the thrift store.
04. photograph papers & other items
Part of Raeca’s fears is that she will forget certain photos she drew or stories she wrote so I’ve recently started to photograph her best work with my phone and immediately upload it to an art & memorabilia album I made in our photo storage on the cloud (we have Amazon Prime and use their unlimited photo storage). This also works well for clothes or toys she has grown out of but doesn’t want to forget.
All of this is fairly pointless if we don’t start limiting the number of toys that come into our home. Personally we don’t do well with a strict one in one out rule, I like it in theory but it just doesn’t work for us. It is something we are working on, I’ll keep you updated and I’d love to hear anything you do with your family in regards to limiting the toys that come in.
That alternate title sound like you are describing my daughter! There is hardly room for her in her bed for all the junk she WILL NOT go to bed without. A few things from the highlight reel include, a toothbrush, the world’s smelliest old shoes, and an empty snack bowl.