One of the simplest and best habits to keep clutter under control during the holiday season – particularly kid clutter! – is to have a big clear out before Christmas.
My kids actually really enjoy clearing out their stuff prior to the Big Day. They associate getting rid of old belongings with making room for new, better items.
They see decluttering as a good thing, not a bad thing.
We set aside an entire day to do the job. Like most decluttering sessions, we work by category and give the process plenty of time. The kids themselves choose what is to go and what stays – although I’m there to help with suggestions and advice if they need it.
We set aside anything that is good enough to give to friends or to charity in a separate pile, and make sure it gets delivered right away.
Electronics and computer games go into a third pile, as they can be resold or traded for extra cash. The kids love this! So do I, as it’s an excellent lesson in how little things are worth once they become second-hand. The kids have become much wiser and now shop for their computer games in the “trade and save” section of the electronics store. They’ve wised up 🙂
We’re quite ruthless with the pre-Christmas clearout. My kids and I know, from experience, that once the new stuff arrives the old stuff would largely get ignored anyway. So it makes sense to pass it all on, so there’s plenty of room to appreciate the new stuff.
And you know what? We’ve never once regretted getting rid of anything. Not one thing.
So here’s my short list of tips for an effective pre-Christmas clearout:
- 1. Give it plenty of time. Clearing out with my kids takes a whole day. Kids often take time to decide. Don’t push them.
2. Work by category. An example of this is my daughter’s art supplies. Instead of sorting them where we find them, we gather everything together in one place, then sort them through, eliminating everything she doesn’t need or use. This sort of stuff sure piles up through the year!
3. Suggest new owners. Help kids remember that their cast off items can be of genuine use to others. Their favourite shirt that no longer fits may make a friend very happy. A too-short jacket may keep another child warm through winter. Most children are kind by nature and love to know they are helping others.
4. Remind them that new items are coming. If kids are wary about passing their old belongings on, remind them that Santa is on his way, and room will be needed for the new items!
5. Teach them the value of trading and selling with high-priced items. Take the kids down with items to trade and sell and give them the money they earn from selling their items. They’ll soon want to get rid of more unused items, be sure of it!
6. Bag up items right away and take the children to the charity drop-off with you. Kids need to feel that their generosity is doing others good. They should be a part of the whole process.
7. Clean their rooms together, top to bottom, once the clearout is done. Teach your child to take pride in their personal space. There! Doesn’t that look terrific?!
Are you planning a pre-Christmas decluttering session? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, I’d love to hear them!