Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing, especially containers. She is addicted to the high that comes with living a life of order and simplicity and is always looking for her next “fix”. You can find her blogging regularly and sharing her passion over at I’m an Organizing Junkie, and her organizing book, Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, will hit bookstore shelves in December 2010.
This post isn’t so much about how to organize and contain your kid’s toys before Christmas but rather how to get your kids to part with their toys before new ones invade their space. Think it’s impossible? Are you ready to just grab a garbage bag and head on in to their rooms while their at school to get it done yourself. Not quite so fast. My experience has taught me that the only thing that teaches your children is not to trust you. Let me assure you that the more you involve your children in the process of organizing (and purging!) the more they’ll acquire the necessary skills to make it an ongoing habit that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
So as we prepare for the upcoming holiday festivities set aside a couple of hours one morning to work with your children armed with the following tips in hand and watch the magic happen.
First thing you need to do is collect all toys along with all the bits and pieces that belong to the those toys from around the house into one area. Sort everything into piles so that all like toys are together in one pile. Kids love sorting so this step in the process typically goes pretty quickly. The next step which involves letting some of those prize possessions go is a little trickier especially when you are first starting out.
Organizing is about making decisions and the younger children learn to flex this “decision making muscle” the easier it will be for them to execute on a regular basis. Presenting them with choices is an excellent way to do this.
Here are a few questions to help them decide:
When did you play with this last?
Why is this so important to you?
Rather than this toy sitting here neglected do you think another child might like to play with it now? (this is a particularly good one at this time of year)
Give them a choice between two things and ask them which one is their most favourite? I see you have two stuffed horses, would you like to keep this one or this one?
Your Lego container is full and you don’t have any room to add more. We need to make room in case you get some more for Christmas. Let’s go through the box and decide which ones we can part with so the box isn’t so full.
When you first start out with this process and having them to make their own tough choices, you will more than likely be met with resistance. Expect it but stay firm. I promise you this step get easier and easier with practice. You might not always agree with what they want to keep but remember your favourites don’t need to be their favourites.
You empower them to make these decisions themselves alleviating potential power struggles. It’s your boundaries and limits but their choice what stays and what goes within those boundaries.
Do you struggle with getting your kids to part with their toys? How have you handled it in your house?