Spring is in the air – which means it’s time to clean out those closets, drawers and cabinets! Sometimes, our kids have a hard time letting go of their stuff, even the things they don’t use or play with any more. But we have a few ideas that can make the process easier for everyone. Here are 4 ways to spring clean as a family:
Choose a Cause
Often when kids are able to focus on an outcome rather than the act of “giving up” a toy or possession, it is easier to part with the item. This is also a perfect opportunity to put empathy into action.
Making a family decision about what happens to all the items you no longer need is a great way to get everyone focused on something other than the items. There are lots of options; items can be donated to a charity, sold in a yard sale and then the proceeds used for a family item or event, or donate the yard sale proceeds to a good cause. Agreeing on the course of action as a family will give everyone a goal to work towards and clean closets too!
Find a Home
Once you’ve parted ways with all the items you no longer want or need, make sure that everything left has a home. Organize toys and games into boxes, bins and or containers. Store the items used most in convenient places to access them.
Have your kids help by creating labels for each bin of toys, games or other items. They can draw a picture or write the word – or both! It’s a great way to keep small hands busy and feeling included.
Make it a Game
If your kids are getting antsy and having a hard time with the purging process, create a game. One of the easiest (albeit a little crazy) is to make a mess. A HUGE mess! Have them pull out every single bit of clothing from their closet. Or drawer. Or toy bin. Let them spend a few minutes enjoying the chaos then start to help them sort. Make piles of clothes that don’t fit. Toys that don’t work or they’ve out grown. Or have them pick out their favorite items from the pile. Keep creating new categories for them to sort into. They can even practice colors by pulling out all the red shirts or yellow toys. Have them count each item as they go. Adding in a layer of fun to the organization will make the task feel like less work.
Photograph Rather Than Store
Are works of art and craft projects taking over your refrigerator door? Consider pairing down a few items. Keep items up for a period of time and then make room for new. Create parameters around what is a keepsake and what you can part with. For example; anything with a hand print as part of the art is a keepsake. A coloring book page, is not. Whatever parameters works for you is great – as long as it results in being able to get to your refrigerator!
Consider using an app that you can photograph the art to create a book of artwork – which takes up considerably less space. You can even have your kids help make decisions around what should go in the book. Or create a digital version with a photo app.