Kids Stuff - Toys/books/etc -how to handle?
So I'm getting further through my own stuff with the Marie Kondo method (still have to do the kitchen and some other things, plus want to help DH sort his stuff if he wants). But then I look at my house and realize how much STUFF I have for my kids. Or how much stuff my kids have. Trying to figure out how to declutter it in a fair manner. My kids are 5, 7, and 9. Not babies but not really big kids. I confess that I've never been good about getting rid of their stuff. I used to sort it a few times a year and toss anything broken and unfixable and some horrible loud toys, but overall I've let quite a bit accumulate.
Another mom at school (whose house is amazingly clutter-free) told me that she held 3 garage sales. I hate to hold garage sales (haven't done it for myself ever, only did it for my mom when I lived at home). But I'm thinking about it--it might encourage the kids to be willing to part with their stuff if I let them keep the money from the toy sales (which is all I would plan to sell--my own stuff I just give away). I
've had other moms tell me just to be ruthless and toss/give away what I know they don't use and to do it when I'm alone in the house. The thing is: they use SO MUCH of it. Yes, some more than others, but if they see it, then they want to keep it. I did manage to sort through much of my daughter's stuff over the summer while I did my big Konmari cleanout kickstart, and that was good, but there is so much more. And Christmas is coming -- with more stuff (different topic--not going there now).
How have those of you with kids handled this? Those without who were kids--how did your parents handle it? Or other thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Maybe I'm asking just to keep stalling and putting this off!!
I thought craploads of plastic stuff was just one of the things you have to bear with children the age of yours. Soon they will be out of that stage, wanting expensive electronics, clothing, sporting equipment. While those present their own storage challenges, they are not as bad as the toys you now have.
I would do it when they were not home as my 3 boys would not willingly part with stuff. Foster kids are really hard on toys so I gave it to foster homes and they were really grateful to get it.
Well il, there's craploads and then there's CRAPLOADS. I'd prefer to have the former.
Teacher Terry, did you ever get any pushback from your kids when you got rid of things?
I often had my kids choose a bunch of their toys to give to the church nursery. They still got to see their toys when they were at church.
No but I only got rid of stuff that they did not play with or were too old for.
My kids were always more willing to get rid of stuff than I was, so it wasn't really a problem for me, but I never tossed stuff without their input. I believe in treating kids as fellow humans and respecting their property rights, so unless I would think it was ok for them to go through my stuff without permission and give away whatever they thought I had outgrown or didn't use, I wouldn't do that to them.
I think learning how to sort through stuff and decide what to keep and what to let go is an important life skill that parents need to teach their kids.
My parents didn't. They would wait until we weren't home and go through our stuff and throw things away. They did not always make good choices.
And as a result, I'm more of a packrat than I want to be.
So my suggestion is to figure out a limit for the toys and other stuff. All the books that fit into these two bookcases, for example. All the Lego that fits into a specific bin. The top 25 stuffed animals (either for the household or per kid).
And then work with the kids on how to choose which toys to keep and which to let go. This time of year, you can use the argument that they need to make room for the new stuff that will be coming with the holidays. Or that a new year is about to start, and part of getting ready for that is passing on things they've outgrown.
And you can make blanket rules, like anything that is broken has to go.
One of the problems you are facing is that with three kids close in age, things the oldest might have outgrown are still attractive to one or the other of the younger kids, so do keep that in mind.
I agree that having the kids do this themselves is an important life skill. My kids did a pretty good job at it, I worked it different ways. One time I had them get to keep a certain amount of stuff, like a laundry basket of stuffed animals. Other times I would have them pick a certain number of items or just decide what they wanted to share with other kids. My middle kid had the hardest time getting rid of things, and my girls couldn't have a lot of stuffed animals in their rooms due to allergies. So I got creative and had her pick out many stuffed animals that went on a 'cruise to the Caribbean'. They went into a storage tub for a long time and she could trade toys in and out of the box. When she got a little older she had no problem getting rid of them.
So I say start with the kids having a voice in this and see if you hit any roadblocks, then get creative!
None of my 3 kids hoards at all as adults. Also they had input once they got old enough to help make decisions. But I never consulted with a 2yo. My oldest would often help me decide when the other 2 were too little.