With Christmas looming and the amount of time we are all spending in our homes lately, the extra clutter crunching underfoot can become somewhat of a grind for parents who would very much enjoy the odd bit of carpet to show through once in a while. You might be looking get things spic and span for Christmas or just to make some space in the toy box for some new items after Santa has been.

However, if there is one universal truth, it is that a long forgotten toy will suddenly become someones lifeline if there is the possibility of it being junked. No matter how grubby, broken or unused these toys are, removing them can be akin to pulling teeth.

How then do we get the little ones on board with a tidy and declutter before the Christmas deadline with as few tears (yours) as possible?

Observe first what is getting the most use before you start. The big annoying toy garage thats taking up half a bedroom is an eyesore with bleepy noises and flashing lights. But do they actually use it? As much as you want to garage the garage: toys that keep the kiddies playing and having fun are worth their weight in gold. If you happen to know that there is a toy coming that will easily replace the garage in your child’s affections then have at it. But, your task will be much easier when the new item has already arrived.

Talk it through. Why do we tidy up? What is the point of getting rid of old toys? Where will the old toys go? After a frank conversation you might find your babes chomping at the bit to do their bit or you might be met with some serious resistance. If your children are reluctant, its a great opportunity to address their concerns before you start, and maybe reconsider starting with their bedrooms. Ask them to clear out the kitchen junk drawer first to get a feel for the process, i.e.: do we need 12 out of date sauce packets? Nope – bin.

If your children are old enough, give them some autonomy with the task of decluttering. The reality is that although it would be easier to do it yourself, there might be some items that you simply wouldn’t guess at how special they are to your child. A stuffed toy from when they were born might be precious to you but its actually the scraggy sticker book given by a playground friend that holds much more sentiment for your little one. 

If your child is saving money for something they really want, encourage them to try sell something they no longer need. Its great to teach children the value of the things around them and how basic commerce works, all skills they will need as they go through life.

Appeal to their caring nature. If your toys are in good enough condition to be donated to a local charity to be enjoyed by other children, then get your children involved in choosing and delivering toys to your chosen charity. They will love the process of giving to those who have more need and more so if they get to actually hand them over to the charity. 

Use a one in, one out approach in the future. To avoid all of your hard work going to waste, ask your children to consider what toy they will donate when they want a new one. The ball is now in their court as they will need to really consider if they want the new thing more than the ones they already have?

End a day of decluttering with a reward. You’ll all be a little tired so its a great time to treat the kiddies to something they rarely get to do – if thats a takeaway and a movie so be it. Something to reward their giving natures and mark the day as done. 

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