There are few things I love more than the rush of a good purge. I love to go through my stuff, declutter, and get rid of things I don’t like or use or need anymore. Out with the old! I also heavily endorse “in with the new” and so those two go hand in hand, I’ll admit. But there is nothing like taking a full car to Goodwill, and leaving it all behind. And what better time to do that than Spring?? When that weather turns sunny and the snow finally melts, it always inspires me to open the windows and do some spring cleaning – clear out the junk we’ve slowly acquired over the past year(s).
My child is of a sentimental nature. I recently tried to throw away a small piece of plastic she has literally not laid eyes on since she got it 3-years-ago and she was distraught, because she got that from a Chik-fil-A kids meal one time with a babysitter and it is VERY SPECIAL to her. Ok. Sure. Of course.
As the time for spring cleaning approaches, let me share a few of the tricks I have learned for achieving a productive purge – even with the most resistant kid. Basically, spring cleaning for parents of aspiring hoarders.
Out with the old, in with the new
This works pretty well with my little fashionista. As we approach a new season, we often spend a couple hours doing a “fashion show” – i.e. – try on all your clothes and lets see if you can still raise your arms without me seeing your belly. She has actually come to think of this as a little bit fun – and this way, we remember all the clothes we forgot she had (and can incorporate them into the lineup) and get rid of the clothes that no longer fit, or that she just plain doesn’t like. Whenever possible, we give them away same-day so there’s no time to change our minds, and voila! The closet has room for all of Gap Kids summer styles. And with as many grandmas as my kid is lucky to have, she’s going to need all the space she can get.
My kid also responds well to the idea of donating her under-used toys and books to kids who need them. Find a gently used toy drive, or a place that accepts your used books, and encourage your kids to give the things they have outgrown or don’t use as much to kids who would love to have them.
A less drastic approach
Sometimes there are things our kids are just plain not ready to get rid of. A baby book that was special to them, a stuffed animal with sentimental value. In order to purge we don’t have to get cruel and unusual! If you’ve got the space, offer to store some things for a while. You can do this to varying degrees. Some things you want to save forever? Great! Pack them in a pretty plastic bin and put them in storage, carefully marked, for your future reminiscing.
Are there things your kids aren’t ready to part with, but you’re thinking they’ll come around soon? Grab a packing box, and keep it in the garage. When some time has passed and they realize they are surviving without that thing, you can heave-ho to the Goodwill together. This way, it’s out of their room and not taking up valuable space – but also not ripped from their hands while they weep with grief. We aren’t monsters, after all.
Establish a filing system
We have a budding artist on our hands. And that means she is very, and I do mean very, prolific. We have art coming out of our eyeballs over here. And so? We established a filing system. We have a binder for school papers. We have one magnet on the fridge for her latest work of art, and a couple of frames we change out to display her pieces. Once they leave the display, we have a specific filing box in the top of the closet for the works of art she is not willing to part with. On any given paper, she has the option to keep or throw away. So, while the final word belongs to her, she’s also aware – hey – we can’t keep everything.
Desperate times call for desperate measures…
Plain and simple, sometimes you just have to THROW. CRAP. AWAY. If they are fighting you tooth and nail on every last thing, which some are wont to do, you have to take action. Send them on an errand downstairs and while they are gone you shove those mismatched Barbie shoes, crayon stubs, and assorted happy meal toys so deep in the trash they will never find them. This may seem harsh, but I firmly believe it’s a service we do our kids. We can’t let their rooms become a garbage heap of old plastic! If it’s between throwing away a few odds and ends and letting our kids live in filth, I’ll choose the former every time.
Spring cleaning is not for the faint of heart, but goodness does it feel good once it’s done! I hope these tips work as well for you as they do for our family.