Decluttering, with kids

I’ve been doing my annual January declutter lately.  The boys and I spent a couple hours one day digging out their long low attic closet in which still resided treasures from Eldest’s childhood.  We bagged up what she’d want to sort herself, threw away lots of things we knew no one would want, and found a few treasures I’d been wondering about, including a down blanket we’d been missing for awhile.  In the farthest recesses of the attic space, we even found a whole Rubbermaid bin of Christmas decor that hadn’t seen the light of day for at least five years.

Although January is typically when I get the declutter bug, I try to chip away at it all year long as well.  An idea I read recently on Becoming Minimalist has proven to be an easy way to assign bedroom-decluttering to my kids.

Here’s the assignment:

  • Throw away 12 things
  • Put away 12 things
  • Give away 12 things

The list is short enough to accomplish in half an hour or less.  And giving a child that same assignment several days in a row can make serious inroads on the mess before I even have to walk into the room.  Which, depending on how many Legos and Barbie shoes are strewn around, could be a very good thing indeed.

Here’s how to decide what to keep and what to let go

Decluttering can even help you get out of debt



  1. I LOVE that tip. Of course my kids, in the past, have decided they should give away broken matchbox cars (I guess they think if THEY play with it even without wheels, other kids can) and the like. But that was just when I told them to find things they don’t play with anymore and want to share with others. I think we’re going to be trying that now.

  2. On one occasion I had my kids go through their rooms to find things they’d be willing to give away. They were to make a pile in the hallway outside their bedrooms. When they were finished, I came down the hall to find a silly band, a lego head, and 3 pairs of underwear.

  3. Decluttering with kids… Try very very hard to not bring anything into the house that isn’t absolutely needed.
    But we all have to give away items once in a while and for us it has always been a rule of thumb that if you haven’t worn, used, or played with something at least once in three months—give it away to someone who will and if it is broken it doesn’t count because it is thrown away.
    When living with 12 bodies in 1,200 sqaure feet it is absolutely mandatory that only what is needed for daily living is kept in the house.