Tough Love: A Guide to Throwing Out Your Child’s Old Belongings
July 25 | by Jamey Vick
Give them everything…especially toys…they pile up and ends up being just clutter…problem
is, there’s still emotional attachment for them…
As parents, our natural instinct is to do whatever we can to support our children’s development and make them as happy as possible. Often, that means providing a continuous stream new toys to support their evolving play.
Unfortunately, when these toys are added up with the what they get from others for birthdays, Christmas and other occasions, the result is overflowing bedrooms, basements, closets and play areas. In other words, clutter. Clearing out these old toys is a necessity. Not only will it help keep your home tidy, it also makes room for all of the new things they’re soon acquire.
Unfortunately, while they may have outgrown the toys themselves, their emotional attachment to them may remain. So, where we see clutter, they may see nothing but fond memories. Obviously, this can turn a simple decluttering process into a scary and emotionally overwhelming experience. To help you, and them, get through the process, here are some valuable tips on how to use a little tough love while also teaching a few life lessons along the way.
- Offer Clear Explanations: Be clear with your child about why you need to get rid of old
belongings. Explain to them the necessity of keeping a clean and clutter-free home and offer them reassurance
that only old items that are no longer used will be removed. Offering simple but clear explanations about the
reasons behind your cleaning project and how the process will work will make your child feel more involved and
will give them a better understanding of the entire decluttering process.
- Timing is Everything: When you choose to declutter is significant. If possible, try to do this
right before a birthday or holiday so that you can position the experience as “making room” for
their new toys. Children will be more likely to agree to get rid of older things if they’re looking
forward to new ones that will be coming soon. Also, it's important to plan your cleaning project over the course
of a few days to avoid overwhelming little ones. So, consider a few days of cleaning with only a few items being
removed per day.
- Include Your Child in The Decisions: Make sure that your child is an active participant in all
decluttering decisions. Allow them to go through their things and decide what they want to keep and what they
can part with. Giving them this power will make the process that much easier and enjoyable for both of you. It
will also show them that you trust them to make good decisions and that can help to foster a stronger bond
- Pick Your Battles: It’s likely that you’re going disagree with your child about
what or how much needs to be removed. There will be items that you want to dispose of but your child wants to
keep. Understand that you don’t have to win every battle to win the de-cluttering war. Knowing this
beforehand will make the cleaning-up process a lot easier and enjoyable for both of you. You will need to decide
which items are worth fighting over and accept that, for good reason, you will lose some of these battles.
- Use The Power of Negotiation: Negotiating with your children can be a powerful tool. If your
child is dead set on keeping a specific item, negotiate with them to choose two other items that must be
disposed of in order to keep one. This will give your child some sense of control over their world and the
decision-making process. It will also help make tidying up more manageable and less stressful.
- Be Firm but Gentle: There will be situations where negotiation simply doesn’t work.
Either you can’t come to an agreement or your child simply refuses to participate at all. Patience is key
in this case. Whatever you do, avoid getting worked up or becoming angry or emotional. Instead, take a deep
breath and use a firm but gentle tone to let your child know that despite the tears and tantrums, cleaning up is
something that still must happen. Make them understand that it’s better for them to participate in the
process so that they can see the “win-win” outcome. This will show your child that you are serious
about the decluttering process and that it’s better for them to participate.
- Teach Your Child a Valuable Lesson: Use the decluttering process to teach your child about how
fortunate they really are relative to others. Often, children are much more receptive to getting rid of old
items when they realize that they can pass them on to another little boy or girl who needs them more. Allowing
them to donate old toys, books, games, and clothing will teach them about the power of giving and will show them
that their decisions can make a big difference in the lives of others.
Removing the clutter that develops over time from unused toys is a great way to free up extra space in your home and
to make it that much more enjoyable for your whole family. Unfortunately, the process can sometimes be a difficult
and emotional one. However, with a little tough love in the form of some planning and some open and honest
communication, you might actually be able to turn it into a positive, learning experience for you and
If you are ready to empty out the closets and clear out the storage spaces, VaVia is here to help. Our dumpster
rental service can provide you with the perfect size dumpster for your specific needs, and we can have it delivered
right to your driveway – hassle-free. To learn more about our services or to rent your own VaVia dumpster, contact us today!
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