Get your kids or grandkids involved in sorting through toys they’ve stopped playing with. Yes, this might remind the kids that these toys exist and suddenly they’ll start playing with them again, but I’m thinking their excitement about their rediscovery of these items won’t last (long).
Explain that you want to give the toys to a charity that will give the toys to children whose families can’t afford toys; or, to a friend who has children who’d like some new playthings. Kids are used to the idea of sharing toys and will understand that they’ve outgrown these toys.
Allow the kids to make the decisions.
There are lots of suggestions for organizing kids’ artwork, these are some of my favorites. (I don’t have kids, however, as an art teacher, I’ve sent hundreds of kids home with thousands of pieces of art. In retrospect, I feel like I should have ended the week with a note home to the parents and kids with suggestions about how to deal with these creations.)
Have a cardboard file box for the current school year. Each time a child brings home a drawing, painting, or sculptural piece, put it into the box after you’ve viewed it and dated it.
If you want, you can display the most recent piece(s) on the refrigerator or in the child’s room using frames that allow you to change the artwork with ease. When a new piece comes in, ask the child if they want to display it or continue to show the previous work. This technique also gets kids in the habit of making decisions. When a piece comes down, put it in the box.
At the end of the school year, sit down with each child and sort through the contents of the box. Select the pieces the child is most proud of – perhaps they learned a new technique or developed a skill that allowed them to execute a project better than they had in the past; maybe they spent more time on this project than others.
Work down to approximately ten pieces. You can scan them, photograph them, or keep the actual pieces in a memory box. Three dimensional pieces can be photographed to save space. Even if you keep the physical objects, by making deliberate choices you could keep a child’s entire school age-related memories to a single file box.
If your child wants to display the piece throughout the summer, let them know that when the new school year starts, the piece will go away to make room for new creations.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Click on the button below to go to past day’s tasks and see if there is a task that you missed or could repeat.
Although I knew my parents had saved the cradle my brother and I had used, I didn’t know that up in the attic was a dresser filled with baby clothes. Neither my brother nor I had children, so it wasn’t until I was cleaning out the house, that I found all these things they had set aside.
These weren’t heirloom items but everyday garments. I’m sure a lot of clothes had been given away, but I was still surprised to find that my mother had kept a chest of baby things.
Now, I’m not saying that if you have a Christening gown or another family heirloom that you need to get rid of it. But, unless you are planning on having another child, consider if you need to hold onto baby items or if you can give them to another family that you know or a charity that can help young families.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Use your 15-minutes of decluttering to delete 3-5 unwanted computer files.
Gather in one place any sports equipment that you own. Encourage your family to do the same.
Do you still participate in these sports?
If so, do you have duplicate equipment because you upgraded without getting rid of the older items?
Do your kids have equipment that they’ve outgrown? (Could you sell these items?)
Is the equipment in good condition?
Do you use everything you have or are there pieces that could be sold, donated, or, perhaps, tossed? If you are telling yourself that you will get back to participating in a sport, when will that be? Can you block out your schedule … or, is it time to acknowledge that your life has changed, and you can enjoy your memories and release some expectations?
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate one kitchen gadget you don’t use.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.