Inspired by the Minimalists’ “packing party”, here’s a great way to clear out a child’s room in one afternoon. Reduce their belongings to only the stuff they actually use!
Version A: Brutal, quick minimalism
- Boxes, containers or shopping bags. We used recycled plastic shopping bags from the supermarket.
- Separate box for “returns” Library books, sports club belongings etc.
- Rubbish bin Anything that will rot or smell (food rubbish etc.) goes in here right away!
- Clean, dry space. To store items away from child’s eyes for 30 days. A garage corner is ideal.
- An indelible pen. Mark the bags or boxes as you pack.
- Group similar items together. in your child’s room. For example, soft toys in the same bag with soft toys, Lego with Lego, dolls with dolls, computer games with computer games. Name each bag with indelible pen as you go.
- Group items. If your child has a lot of belongings, you might need to put each grouping into several bags i.e. “lego A”, “lego B” and so on.
- Clear the entire room. Bag clothes as well as electronics.
- Pack “clean garbage” too. Old artwork, pens that don’t work, little pieces of paper on the floor – anything that won’t rot or smell needs to be bagged. Why? Because you don’t want to make it easy for your child to just grab everything right back again!
- Return borrowed items. Anything that does not belong to your child and needs to be returned can be put aside into your separate “returns” box i.e. library books, school books etc. Ensure your child returns these items to their rightful owners this week.
- Dispose of “dirty rubbish” immediately in the bin. Anything that will rot, smell or attract vermin should be disposed of in the bin.
- Clear the whole room. Don’t sort it, or look at it too deeply, just bag it.
- By the end of the process, which should take very long (no sorting or tidying, remember!) you should have several bags of clothing, toys, games etc. all bagged or boxed. The only things to leave in your child’s room should be enough clothing for the next three days, school uniform (if any) and bedding.
- Store your boxes. Put your bags or boxes out in the garage, or wherever you intend to store them. Mark the date on the calendar.
- When your child needs something: Get it for them as soon as you can but only if they can name it and play with it / use it immediately. Retrieve only the named item.
- At the end of the month any unused items can be given away, sold or disposed of.
Version B: Soft, gentle minimalism
If the “packing party” sounds a bit brutal for you and your child, there’s a softer, gentler way.
- Choose a half a dozen items that you haven’t seen your child use in a while, bag them, and take them out to the garage. Do this every week, once a week.
- If your child doesn’t miss them for a month: Give away, sell or dispose of them.