I think I was born a “pack rat” because for as long as I can remember, I have collected things, I’ve had a cluttered living space and I’ve had a difficult time letting items go. Unfortunately, I think I’ve passed that gene over to my daughter, as she is having a hard time letting things go as we clean out our house. A perfect example is when we sorted through her doll collection that she never plays with anymore.
I remember my parents having a Garage Sale when I was younger and when I saw certain toys/games that I wasn’t ready to give away in the pile for sale, I quickly brought them back into the house. The reality was, I was never “ready” to get rid of any of it, but this is a skill that we all must learn to to develop and a fact that we must come to terms with.
I shared my difficulty of being emotionally attached to items with my Mom recently and she had some good advice to share. These tips will help me as I begin helping my kids learn how to declutter!
My Mom shared a story about a special item that she kept from when she was a little girl: her teddy bear.
This is her story….
“When I was a very wee girl, I received a stuffed bear, Teddy, made of curly lamb’s wool. My dad had stayed with a family, in England, during the Second World War. They sent the bear for me. It was a very special bear, that had significant and comforting memories. Over the years, it had many repairs, including adhesive tape to hold his leg together. I kept it in a bag, until I was married and finally had to reluctantly let it go to the garbage. It had deteriorated and was all stuck to the bag. Some things are worth keeping and cannot be replaced.
Just saying……. From my side of the fence.”
Reading my Mom’s memory of her stuffed bear made me wonder if perhaps I was making my children get a bit too ruthless with donating their unused toys. Times are different now and children have many more toys than my parent’s generation did. I wish that my children had even a small idea as to just how fortunate they are with everything that they have. I feel like my children don’t have a concept as to what they should keep and hold onto for memory’s sake and what they should donate. This is a decision that is being left up to me, but it is challenging because I like to hold onto everything!
My Mom’s advice for Helping My Kids Learn How to Declutter:
- Consider keeping your child’s first special toy (perhaps a special stuffed animal).
- Keep items that have an interesting story.
- Try listening to your inner voice. If the item gives you feelings of joy, put it in a pile to consider keeping. If not, give away.
- Teach children to ask themselves questions like:
Can it ever be replaced?
Will I regret letting it go later?
How much does it really mean to me?
Who gave it to me?
Is it of monitory value?
It is definitely hard helping my kids learn how to declutter and purge when I have trouble with it myself, but we are learning together!
For MORE Decluttering, Organization and Purging Ideas, visit my first Decluttering Post!