So often when I work with client’s they are terrified to throw* anything of their child’s away. I am not sure where this fear comes from, but parents everywhere I give you permission to start to throw your kid’s stuff away. I am talking about gum wrappers, broken bracelets, one earring without a mate. torn books, pieces of half scribbled on paper and toys they no longer play with. I am not telling you to get rid of their prized possessions, simply the junk and clutter in their room that surround them.
This is my concern, if you don’t teach children now while you are living with them what is of value and what is not of value when will they learn it? Will you be visiting their first apartment and have to move the pile of clothes that they don’t wear off of the couch before you can sit down. Will you go into a bathroom filled with beauty products where only a handful are used?
Interesting enough when I have the children working with me, guess who is okay with getting rid of the stuff? It is true, it is the child. What I often hear is a mom saying, “but that this the stuffed animal that uncle Alan got you on your first birthday?” I hear the parent trying to talk the child into keeping the object. Who has the problem with clutter I wonder….the pack rat kids or the sentimental parent?
This lesson became laser focused on me when my husband and I were watching a youtube video from one of my boys’ favorite videos when they were young. My husband and I were laughing and saying how we couldn’t believe how much our boys loved that video. Both of our older boys looked at us and said they didn’t remember it at all. Then it dawned on me…..it was my memory of the video and the good times we had while watching it….it was not their memory.
So ask yourself when helping your children declutter, whose memory is it anyway? Learn how to give with purpose and show your children that when they drop off a load of clothes and toys to a battered women’s shelter it is going to have a direct impact on a child. Chances are your kids will step up and do the right thing….will you?
*I use the term throw loosely here. Please know that I encourage recylcing in every form and I encourage my clients to do so as well.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/ .
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