Friday, July 11, 2008

"Cluttering Down"

Kids like things. That seems to be a fact of life. Heck, we all seem to like things...probably much more than we should. In my ongoing effort to reduce clutter, I have tried a solution with my five-year-old that seems to be working. In addition to giving away something each time she receives a gift (let's call it "gift neutral"), I've implemented an even more novel system that I call "Cluttering Down." My daughter loves bags and purses and containers in general and I receive lots (read "too many") promotional bags and containers from various vendors. I initially resisted giving her these items as they just added to our clutter pile - until I saw an opportunity. If there is a bag/container that she wants (and I don't need it and think she might actually use it), I tell her that she can put 3-5 old toys or things in a bag for Goodwill. She does this willingly (with minimal whining) and she typically accompanies me on the trips to Goodwill to drop off the old things. This works well for a number of reasons:
  1. Some other kid will get to play with toys that she's not using.
  2. It reinforces the important concept of "Sharing" with others.
  3. It reduces the amount of nagging I have to endure at home.
It's arguable that number three is the most important because without it, this blog probably wouldn't exist. I might be locked up somewhere, muttering to myself about being overrun by an army of dolls, trucks and beads.

Let me know if you have any success "cluttering down," and remember that the ultimate goal of all of this is to reduce the amount of things our family accumulates and values.

Good luck.


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