I really feel like I could do that. I do. But I won’t. We still have quite a lot of stuff.
In Marie Kondo’s book, she stresses that you should not declutter your family’s things, just yours. Kondo says that even a three-year-old child will get the decluttering bug if you’re setting a good example and they see how happy it makes you. With my kids, this didn’t happen. They saw how nice my room was and then just hung out in there. (hahahah!) Going to their own rooms just had them feeling overwhelmed.
I asked my kids a few questions about their rooms and their toys. I figured out that, yes, they DO use it all….but only because it is there and not necessarily because it makes them happy. They would be just as happy without that stuff to play with. I went up with 6 garbage bags and a plan. I took away the things that they used less, got rid of the books below their level, and made the things they actually play with easier to access.
Hunter plays with EVERYTHING he owns. However, I noticed on vacation that he is happier with less to play with. He creates more elaborate games and plays a lot LONGER when he has less stuff around him. Maybe it is because his imagination feels more free? Or maybe it is simply because he has more floor space? Over the years we acquired a lot of hand-me-down toys and Christmas presents have piled up. I was hesitant to get rid of any of it because he enjoys it all. Until it became an epic battle to get him to clean up his room. It was just too overwhelming for all of us.
Last Monday I went up there and got down to it. I kept only what he LOVES. Ponies and some of the barbies had to go. Yes, he still plays with them, but not as much and he doesn’t NEED them. I put Mashables in their bin. Doll clothes are a fave, so I put them in a big bin under his bed so they are easier to sift through and don’t end up dumped on the floor. Cars he doesn’t really play with. Very rarely. I mostly kept them around for playdates….until I found out that Hunter always guided his friend away from playing cars because he would rather do something else. They got chucked into a bag and the potato head stuff put in their place. I even got rid of a lot of colouring books.
I got rid of 3 bags of stuff, 1 bin and 2 garbage bags in Hunter’s room alone. I found that before the declutter he would say he had “nothing to colour in” because the shelf of 10 colouring books was too much to look at, making it hard for his eye to settle on any one thing. Now that he has 3 prize colouring books, he sits in his room and colours for an hour at a time. The same would happen with his toys. He would complain he had “nothing to do”. Since I decluttered his space, I haven’t heard him say that. Sometimes, more is more. Not better.
Next, Isabella’s room. Her room wasn’t reflecting her interests. Dolls she no longer plays with and books she no longer reads were taking up too much space. Her room was an assortment of piles she would “deal with later”. Since she mostly reads and draws, I sorted through her art stuff and gave everything its own shelf. (For example: This shelf is ONLY drawing supplies (pens, markers, paintbrushes) and this one is ONLY paper (drawing or construction paper).) I labeled each one and the easier categories made it possible for Isabella to pull things out and put them away. I even tackled her closet and got rid of the board games they’ve outgrown and got rid of extra backpacks and bags….which were full of stuff by the way. If you give a kid a bin or a bag they will fill it with JUNK that you didn’t even realize was in your house in the first place!! So bins and bags and little wallets were taken out. Everything that was left had to fit on a shelf, clearly displayed, and easy to put away. Her bookshelf was filled with little toys and books smashed on top- a disaster. I weeded out the books she wasn’t going to read, won’t read again, or were below her level. Now, everything fits! The few toys she does still enjoy included a yo-yo, Lalaloopsy dolls, Pokemon figurines, Shopkins, Tsum Tsums and dominoes. Those fit nicely in a three-drawer plastic bin.
In Isabella’s room, I got rid of 3 bags of garbage and filled 2 large garbage bags with donations. I doubt they will even miss what was there.
Both kids say they feel like they can breathe again! They come out of their rooms happy and giggling; not exhausted and disheveled like they used to.
“But they play with everything!” is a common sentiment I hear all of us moms saying right after we complain that cleaning up the kids toys takes us all day. I know that they will if it is there…… but I swear they won’t miss most things if it goes “missing”. Instead, they will play with what little is left and I bet your kids are like mine- they will play more calmly, quietly and for a longer duration than before!
I was so inspired by the transformation in the kid’s rooms that I did my own dresser. I barely had room to put down a hairbrush on the top of it before! It was so piled on top with hair ties and makeup and stuff to sort. Now it is a clear space for me to get ready in the morning. I smile when I see the top of my dresser now. I didn’t realize how much that small crowded space annoyed me daily until I cleared it off. Once I had gotten rid of the stuff on the top that I didn’t use, the remainder fit in the top drawer in an organizer. I am very pleased with myself.
The next room I really want to tackle is the living room. I did each category as Kondo suggests, rather than rooms, but now I just need to do room by room to tweak what got missed. I want to hit that spot where I feel a satisfied click and feel perfectly centered in my own home. Where I give a happy sigh and a smile when I walk in.
Have you decluttered? Any tips on organizing what is left?
What do you think of the minimalism movement?
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