This is a series on chucking the crap your kids have and hold on to — for better or worse. Click here for more.
Step 3: Send it to “Storage”
Ready for a more serious purge? It’s time to break out the laundry basket… and it helps to have a good poker face, too.
Here’s how it works:
If I’m cleaning with the “help” of my kids and know I need to get rid of some stuff, start by organizing. Items they are currently attached to can be organized (try little bins with these fun labels).
What to do with the stuff you are ready to toss? Put stuff they’ve lost interest in into a basket. Don’t put it in a trash bag, unless you really want problems. If they ask, just calmly say you’re moving some toys into storage for awhile, or taking this (broken) toy to be repaired. I was shocked that my kids didn’t react to hearing their toys were headed out the door. But after all, you are just sending it to go to “storage,” or to “be fixed,” or even “to Grandma’s.” It’s coming back, right? No need to panic.
More often than not they will be so excited to re-find their favorite toys among all the piles, that they won’t even notice the basket. They will be rolling around their newly clean room, or climbing under the bed that you took the effort to vacuum under, so a few toys in the basket won’t even be on their minds. I will warn you about this step:
you must take it out of the house ASAP.
The novelty of a clean, organized, toy-labeled room will wear off. If you’re me, you may have left the basket conspicuously in the living room. And sooner rather than later they will start noticing their “favorite” doll (the one that hasn’t been touched in weeks) or the broken remote control to a remote control vehicle you no longer even have. Their priority of getting those toys out of the basket will become a life and death issue for them.
Don’t be me. Get the stuff out. Now! Do it!
Go! Go! Go!