In my experience the majority of children are not keen to part with their things. I know the general thought in this post Marie Kondo world is to have them involved with the purging, but I can guarantee you that every single toy will bring them joy (even the ones they haven’t played with in over a year). So, what to do? You want to downsize but your small human belongs on an episode of Hoarders.
Here’s a couple of recommendations:
- A simple way to downsize and have your children involved is to have a set container/basket side for things. For example the stuffies (because everyone has too many) – if they don’t fit in the designated basket then they don’t get to stay. You’re giving your child control but with very clear perimeters. They may still need help talking through letting go, and almost certainly they won’t choose the toys you would keep, but it is a really easy way to downsize with your child’s help.
- The other step, is to purge while the kids are away (be brutal, like for realz). Start boxing/bagging up toys you know they don’t use anymore and put them out of sight. I can guarantee they won’t notice anything but their play space feeling easier to play in. If they haven’t been desperately missed in a couple of weeks, donate away!
- When purging, low hanging fruit are toys that come with kids meals and all the plastic crap you get at birthday parties. Unless your kids have a huge attachment to them, these should go. Toys your kids have aged out of using is another easy one to remove.
- Make sure not to forget books (this one can be hard, I get it). Start with books you hate reading (we all have them), books that were gifted and nobody enjoys, and books they are too old to read anymore. Little Free Libraries make donating books so easy and anxiety free.
- Finally, find a task you can do together. At my last install, the five year old of the house was very keen to get involved. We sat together and worked intently for over an hour sorting beads, craft materials, and testing old markers to see if they still worked (which ultimately meant minimizing materials). Being involved helped her feel ownership to the new space and made it easier for her to see how having an organized, cleaner, more minimal space made it easier to play and created.