I think it’s time to discuss this one important thing, before we all get too carried away.
Most of you likely live in a home that is also home to other people. Other adult people who have their own stuff and the right to keep or discard it at their discretion. Meaning…in no way do I recommend tossing out your spouses stuff. Period. You can encourage them to do so (encouraging and nagging are not the same thing, I have to remind myself of this often!), but you can’t make them.
However, I think there is a gray area here. Preschoolers. As in, people who are old enough to have an opinion (a very loud one), but not necessarily the decision making skills needed to discard excess stuff (Okay, maybe this age goes way beyond preschool).
Case in point…my four year old daughter.
My sweet girl forms an attachment to anything that is or what she thinks once was hers. I was recently going through an embarrassingly huge pile of baby girl stuff while she was home. Thinking it would be no big deal, because it was just storage stuff, I let her play along with me while I worked. What I didn’t realize was that seeing clothes that she wore and toys she used as a baby go away really didn’t sit well. I did my best to explain to her that there are other sweet baby girls out there who really needed her old stuff. I do think she understood, but there were still a few things she had a hard time saying bye too.
Sharing this process with my kids has been an incredible opportunity to teach them about what we need, don’t need, and how we can help others. (Even better if they get to see the people their stuff goes too!). The act of giving excess things away is a real-world memorable action that will stick with them longer than just talking to them about how “blessed” they are. I’m glad I get to share these moments and tough conversations with her while she is young and hope that she learns something from all of this.
But…at the end of the day, she is a human with choices.
Cue, the pumpkin bucket.
This is old, it’s broken, it was likely a free thing from McDonalds or something like that, but for some reason it is sooooooo important. I found it in a storage box and without hesitation tossed it in the junk pile.
One persons trash is obviously another persons treasure. So, despite my desire to get rid of EVERYTHING in this house we don’t need…I may have to flex a little on what I define as a need.
I need to flex a little here because the whole reason I’m doing this is to create some free space in my life to better enjoy the people in it…and I’m pretty sure creating division by throwing away their treasures is not going to help!
So, as I work to teach my kids about what they really need, how to manage their stuff and create order…I’ll also work to make sure they have healthy freedom of choice regarding the things they want to surround themselves with. Even if it’s an old, broken pumpkin bucket.
Any tips for encouraging kids to donate unused toys? That’s up next…