Well, how does it feel to have a nice, clean kitchen? Fridge cleared out, and wiped out… pantry updated to current foods only. Congratulations!
How are you feeling? A big pat on the back from your old friend moxy.! Is it getting easier yet?
This next segment is partially difficult to me, for a few reasons. I don’t have kids, so it is strictly hypothetical to say how I would handle getting rid of their toys. Also, I am an avid action figure and game collector and seller, so I myself am reluctant to get rid of certain things because they do have value to the right person. I have enlisted the help and advice from some very competent and trusted Moms.
This first segment pertains to the toys, arts and crafts supplies, and hobby related equipment of the children. We all know that adults are just as capable of accumulating their own toys, so I will touch on that in a bit.
Toys belong to the children to whom they were given as presents. However, children can be very reluctant to consent and cooperate in regards to decluttering when it comes to their toys. One way you may achieve this, is by setting the rule that a trip to buy something new is always accompanied hand-in-hand with a trip to the Goodwill or Thrift store to donate toys they don't play with any more. If there are too many toys in your home, for a while allow your children only one new toy for every two or three donated. Remember Mom’s “one in, one out rule”?
One Consultant Mom offered, “During the Webkinz craze, I used this strategy -- one item per dollar value of the desired new toy. Since a new Webkinz, with tax, was about $15, she had to donate 15 items (items needed to be at least the size of a Webkinz toy -- no donating 15 hairclips!).”
If your house has been taken over by toys and you are dealing with a major need for decluttering you may use this recipe:
Make a date! Set some time aside on a long weekend or during some vacation time and… Make a plan! Sit down with the kids ahead of time and make an agreement. While the toys or other items are indeed property of the children, reasoning with toddlers about getting rid of toys is like trying to nail jell-o to a tree. One Consultant Mom said she did not really start asking her daughter until she was a little older.
“I started asking her around 8 or 10. I think after her room started getting ridiculous I also started with ‘get rid of x amt and you can get something else’."
They must commit to let go of specific things. This can be family specific, but general rule of thumb could be to let go of:
- Any toys that resemble people or animals that are missing body parts.
- Any puzzles that are missing pieces.
- Toys that are missing pieces if they are inoperable as a consequence (for example a shape sorter with no pieces to fit in the holes).
- Odd items, for example single doll shoes, or a hat that doesn't fit any doll.
- Toys that your child has outgrown for over a year, with the exception of a few loved toys that are worth keeping for memories sake.
Make a deadline! If you decide to have a yard or garage sale, keep in mind that any money that comes from sale of toys should go directly to the kids, either to spend themselves, put in a savings account. I personally try to encourage them (if it is a larger amount, say $20 or more) to spend half and put half in savings.
I also highly recommend having each child have their own little card table at the yard sale. This gives them a sense of responsibility and ownership, and they can see and keep track of any money that comes to them directly from their own sales. An additional proffer is to let them sell lemonade and/or snacks. It’s very encouraging and exciting for them to tally up their earnings at the end of the day!
It is my suggestion to be in unison with the kids before hand that anything that is left afterwards will definitely be donated. This will alleviate any confusion. Put these items in the back of the car or van and stick to the plan!
You know what comes next… celebrate! You know that the kids are now dying to spend some of that new found wealth! Give them the opportunity to decide what they would like to do, and do it! Build-a-Bear, the mall, the toy store… a treat for my nieces and nephews could even be a trip to the grocery store to get some ingredients to take home and show off their mad cooking skillz!
Once all the dust has settled, sit back, relax, take satisfaction in a job well done (don’t forget to tell the kids what a good job they did, too! It may not mean much to some, but it means the world to the kids!), and hunker down for what some people consider a bigger challenge than dealing with the kids… which is:
The big boy’s (or girl’s) toys (yes, adults, this is about you). I know. I just heard a resounding collective groan from all of you, faithful readers. My heart goes out to you, but together, we can do this! Come on, the kids can’t be the only ones to sacrifice!
Next week: Bagua 7, Part 2: (Clearing out the Adult's) Toys, Arts & Crafts Supplies, Hobby Related Equipment!