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Decluttering in the school holidays


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#1 ineedmorecoffee

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:07 PM

I have a few days off coming up over the school holidays and thinking about decluttering dd’s bedroom and play area in the living room.

How many toys and art/craft supplies does a 7 yr old need? Why is she still clinging onto her toys? Why is every flat surface in our home covered with her crap?

Should I involve her in it or do it when she is at my mum’s for 2 days? Previous efforts to get her to clear out usually means we hold onto 95% of the stuff.

Will she hate me if I do it without her or will she be happy and grateful? Am I dreaming?

Do you have a system that works?

#2 MissMilla

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:11 PM

I doubt she will be happy and grateful! But she  probably get over it. Dont toss it all right away, maybe just box it away in case there is something she really really misses.

#3 deedee15

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:17 PM

Seems cruel to do it without her, let her say goodbye knowing they will going to a child who will love it as much as her. Just so she knows she hadn’t done something wrong and is being punished by having her toys and belongings taken away from her

#4 JomoMum

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:19 PM

Anything that DS, 5yo, hasn’t played with in a month gets put in a big black garbage bag and put into the back of a cupboard.

If another month goes by where he doesn’t ask for it, we pass on/sell etc. If he specifically asks for something, we will get it back out for him. We routinely every 2-3 days ask him to go around the house and pick up his bits of LEGO creations, books, craft, paper planes etc and out them where they belong, which is all in his play room. If there is no home, mainly for drawings and craft, it gets binned/recycled.

#5 tenar

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:20 PM

I think at that age you have to do it with her.  You are partly getting rid of stuff and partly teaching her how to do so.  It's a work in progress for us, even though we've been at it for years.

It can be useful to box things into tubs and store them elsewhere (garage?), then if she doesn't miss them get rid of them at a later date.

#6 BornToLove

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:23 PM

We do this every school holidays so DD knows to expect it and parting with the junk has gotten easier over the years. with the exception of books, we still have toddler board books because DD won’t let them go.

Anyways, our rule generally is that if it’s broken, meaning physically broken and can’t be fixed, missing parts or otherwise not usable as intended, it goes in the bin.

We keep a box of toys that are good but no longer plays with in the garage for a few months before I donate it. 95% of this often goes (DD usually asks for 1-2 small things back).

Everything else is cleaned up, organised and properly put away in DD’s room or play area. I personally like involving DD in this process because it does help with her pack rat tendencies, it has also helped her learn to care and respect her things more. We we first started doing this (back in prep) there could easily have 2 large garbage bags in the rubbish bin. That’s quickly reduced to a small shopping bag’s worth.

#7 EmmDasher

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:26 PM

Do it with her but set rules and a framework first. Our rules are things like 1. We don’t keep things that are broken/missing important bits. 2. All the toys must fit in X area.

I write the rules on a page and say that we’re going to declutter so we can live in the space safely, enjoy the toys & have easier clean up. Then I help the kids go through the toys in a sensible order eg. All the dolls, all the musical stuff etc.

I get them to put it back in the allocated storage, most important stuff to them first. Usually it doesn’t all fit and they choose further stuff to cull.

Basically you have to teach her how to declutter and let go and hand hold her through that. It’s a process that many adults haven’t even mastered.

#8 Jenflea

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:39 PM

I'll be trying to do it with 9 yr old DD this break.
Most of the crap is her craft and it ALL sparks joy in her..but then she never looks at it and it all collects dust.  All these 'things' she's made out of clay..painted papier mache animals..
I'm not sure where to start frankly, so I'll try to start with clearing her bookshelf and going from there.

Send help and chocolate!

#9 byjingo

Posted 06 July 2019 - 10:59 PM

I have yet to stop procrastinating about this very thing with DD10. Apparently she likes sleeping in a pig sty, at least it’s her pig sty she tells me!

We still have a play kitchen from when she was 2, (and some other things) in fantastic condition, and I too, can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I’m not even near family to pass it down.

Surely there’s kids room cleaning fairies??!!

#10 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 06 July 2019 - 11:06 PM

I’m doing this right now while DD’s having a sleepover at my mums. She’s 5, im tossing all the broken bits, squashed craft, kinder surprise rubbish and general miscellaneous rubbish. Most of her actual toys that she no longer plays with are good for DS. Although she rediscovers toys that he plays with, and he wants to play with her stuff.

#11 little lion

Posted 07 July 2019 - 08:39 AM

I have done similar clean outs with and without the kids. I try to do them with the kids so they can learn the skills of decluttering. But my most efficient (and ruthless) ones are when the kids are out. They always appreciate the clean space and it is a novelty to come home to an organised play space again. Rarely do they miss something I have thrown out. (Except for that one time I had to crawl into the oversized recycle bin to retrieve an artwork...)

#12 Octopodes

Posted 07 July 2019 - 09:00 AM

DS12 is a hoarder, gets it from his grandmother. I am a minimalist.

I declutter when he isn't around because it is too distressing for him if I do it while he is here. I do it in four stages.

1. get rid of anything that is obviously broken beyond repair or straight up rubbish.
2. sort everything else into piles of definitely keep and maybe get rid of.
3. the definitely keep stuff gets put away properly.
4. the maybe get rid of stuff gets boxed up and stored in the garage. If DS hasn't asked for the stuff back after x amount of time has passed, it gets donated or passed on to friends.

On top of this, I have DS go through the 2-3 tubs of old craft/art projects and make him reduce it down to one tub of stuff at most. I don't do this myself because I don't know which pieces he still has sentimental attachment to and which ones he is ready to part with. This system works for us because it eases DS into letting go of stuff instead of it just being gone all of a sudden.

#13 WaitForMe

Posted 07 July 2019 - 09:01 AM

I know its considered 'wrong' but I do it when the kids aren't looking. I've tried to involve them and gotten nowhere but extremely frustrated. It doesn't matter how broken or how baby it is, it is special.

So these days I have a big tub in the garage. Things that they don't play with or have multiples of, go in there. They know the tub exists, they occasionally ask for a look in it, on a warm summers day I might even put the tub on the lawn and they can go through the whole thing.

I then have a big cardboard box that I move toys into from the tub, although if its broken or some other reason it might go straight into the box. They kinda know about this one but seem to forget about it I suspect because its less 'interesting' than the tub. This, I go through at hard rubbish time and either put out or donate to charity depending.

I tend to do a big declutter at hard rubbish time (twice a year now) but will occasionally do it again in between. Could really do with a round of it now, just after a birthday.

#14 BeAwesome

Posted 07 July 2019 - 09:36 AM

I do this with the kids at the start of each school holidays.  This is probably one of the first holidays I've not bothered, as the kids haven't really seemed to accumulate much since Christmas.  Eldest DD (nearly 11) mostly only wants to buy clothes, bath bombs, or add to existing pop vinyl or pokemon collection, and I've pretty well put down a ban on 'surprise mystery open' type toys for the 7 year old, so she typically asks for books now, which are never clutter.

#15 Ayr

Posted 07 July 2019 - 10:09 AM

My 7 year old is the same. Toys everywhere. We have older kids who don't leave stuff around. If the youngest is away for any period of time, the house is spotless. She comes home and within minutes, her stuff covers everything. I usually take garbage bags in her room and lock her out. I am ruthless. Throw out anythinf and everything she hasn't touched in a while. Usually get 8-10 bags each time. Though it never seems to make an impact...

Always do it twice a year before council clean up.

Edited by Ayr, 07 July 2019 - 10:09 AM.


#16 Pocket...

Posted 07 July 2019 - 10:34 AM

We clear out with the kids who are 4 and 7. We do our at random intervals when their tubs of assorted oddments (their equivalent of crap drawers) are over full. They get one IKEA cube each they can choose to keep or get rid of but what they keep must fit in that one cube. The same goes for the dolls and characters tub.

We also do it at Christmas. And recently they've both asked for a large item to add to each of their sets they play with a lot so they needed to choose an old set of stuff to get rid of. Bye bye duplo, army men and a big dolly.

Same goes for craft, it must fit in their rooms.

I find saying it must fit in a certain space helps as it's a concrete concept.

#17 marley*and*me

Posted 07 July 2019 - 11:38 AM

I have 2 full days with no kids, no fees at my local tip and a Ute.  I will be making several trips to the tip and donate centre and my kids get absolutely no say.  

And you know what, none of them will even notice anything is gone.  That said my oldest ds12 really doesn’t have much stuff in the house anymore anyway, the two girls.....well different story there.

I do it every time they go away to visit grandparents in the holidays.

#18 JoanJett

Posted 07 July 2019 - 12:53 PM

With craft and art school projects that come home, I limit it to one piece kept per term.  If there is a really good piece, I frame it for their bedroom or the playroom.  For all the others, they can take a photo and keep it a folder on their iPads.

I usually go through their toys with them first, then do another sweep when they're not there.

#19 PrincessPeach

Posted 07 July 2019 - 01:29 PM

Mine are only 3 & 5 but so far I've managed to declutter a massive amount  of stuff & they haven't even noticed any of it being gone yet.

They take after DH in their hoarding tendencies, so I have to do it without them otherwise nothing gets out of the house - even the broken truck which they have a replacement for was wanting to be kept last time i tried to declutter with them.

#20 Romeo Void

Posted 07 July 2019 - 02:01 PM

I've had great success when my children were younger with saying 'is there anything you might want to give away so another child can have them to play with'. When slightly older this worked...' is there anything you'd would be ok to sell and you can have the money to buy something new'. The turn around at the idea of scoring a little cash was crazy...if the floor wasn't nailed down they would have offered to sell the floorboards :rofl:

(I didn't sell it, I just gave it to charity and gave the children a random amount of money..like $32.15)

#21 Pooks Combusted

Posted 07 July 2019 - 04:14 PM

I’m using the school holidays to examine exactly what is getting used, and what isn’t. So far I’ve been surprised with how much they are using given the opportunity.

#22 Pocket...

Posted 07 July 2019 - 11:20 PM

View PostRomeo Void, on 07 July 2019 - 02:01 PM, said:

I've had great success when my children were younger with saying 'is there anything you might want to give away so another child can have them to play with'. When slightly older this worked...' is there anything you'd would be ok to sell and you can have the money to buy something new'. The turn around at the idea of scoring a little cash was crazy...if the floor wasn't nailed down they would have offered to sell the floorboards :rofl:

(I didn't sell it, I just gave it to charity and gave the children a random amount of money..like $32.15)

Actual genius right there ^^

#23 Overtherainbow

Posted 07 July 2019 - 11:48 PM

Talk about where things will go and stick to it.

Mine have some items they give away, others we store for their own chn, some we just display and others are well used.

I’ve found best cleanup happens when we strip the room right back to basics, and then add things back into the right spots.

Make sure the laundry is up to date before starting and have a bag for op shop, bag for general give away and a plastic tub for future storage.

Right a list of items needed too, eg. bigger dressing gown, new pillow, hook to hang xyz, etc.

I believe children need to be a part of it.

Also consider how to display things of value to them like their art work.

#24 SplashingRainbows

Posted 08 July 2019 - 06:16 AM

View PostJenflea, on 06 July 2019 - 10:39 PM, said:

I'll be trying to do it with 9 yr old DD this break.
Most of the crap is her craft and it ALL sparks joy in her..but then she never looks at it and it all collects dust.  All these 'things' she's made out of clay..painted papier mache animals..
I'm not sure where to start frankly, so I'll try to start with clearing her bookshelf and going from there.

Send help and chocolate!

I’ve not finished the thread so someone’s probably beaten me to it, but would she be ok if you took photos of her creations and printed the photos into a book / a4 display folder?

So she’s still got the memory without the space of the physical item?

#25 Elsegundo

Posted 08 July 2019 - 08:22 AM

My kids were adamant that they didn't have anything they could give away. So we got it all out to 'sort it'.  When it was all out and we saw how much there was it qas a bit full on. Then they chose their top 10 things and put them in. Then they chose one to go then one to stay until it was all allocated. Then we had a big pile to go and I took it straight away so there wasn't time to look through it again.

I've tried to get them to collect things to sell at garage sale but hasn't worked yet.




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