SummaryTeaching children to declutter doesn’t have to be a big deal. With Abby Sasscer’s 5 ideas, everyone can kickstart a simpler summer, with more time for fun!
Every time I do my Project Nazareth talks, I always encourage parents to teach their children to declutter at an early age. While it is a bit challenging in the beginning, decluttering is an essential life skill that we need to instill in our children as early as possible.
Here are some simple tips to start:
1. Declutter As A Family
While summer is an ideal time to declutter, I always encourage families to do so at least twice a year, preferably during Advent and Lent.
Give each person in the family a bag to fill up, and yes, this includes Mom and Dad too! Our little ones need to see us declutter on a regular basis.
Our example is the most powerful tool we can use to teach our children the beauty and joy of sharing with those in need.
2. Offer It Up For A Higher Purpose
Another thing we do in our home is that we offer up our detachment project for a higher purpose. They can offer up their decluttering for the healing of a family member, the conversion of a relative or friend, or an end to abortion.
Whatever it may be, allow your child to choose a higher purpose that has personal meaning for them. Offering up their sufferings also teaches our little ones the power of sacrificing for the good of another.
In our home, we typically spend the entire month of July decluttering, organizing and simplifying. Then we schedule our vacation during the first couple weeks of August.
When we remind our children of our upcoming vacation, they are eager to do the job (no matter how hard) because they have something fun to look forward to. Another plus is that our family can come home to a clean and decluttered home.
Also, your incentives don’t need to be as complicated as a family vacation. It amazes me how fast my children fill up their bags when they hear the words “ice cream.” :-)
4. Fight The Desire To Acquire
In our home, we apply the “Buy One, Give Two Away” Policy to toys and clothes. If my child feels the need to purchase a new toy, I always ask which two toys they are willing to give away.
In this way, there is already an understanding before we even leave the store that they have some decluttering to do when they get home.
The good news is, most of the time, they simply end up putting the new toy back on the shelf :-)
5. Learn To Wait
When our family feels the need to go thrift shopping, there will always be something that will catch my daughter’s eye. When she feels the need to buy something right away just because it might not be there tomorrow, I always remind her to never buy anything in a hurry. I encourage her to pray about it first.
Then I assure her that if it’s meant to be for her, it will still be there when we come back.
Never Too Early
When we teach our children to declutter, we teach them so much more than just cleaning up. We teach them at an early age to practice the virtues of simplicity, holy detachment, generosity, patience, temperance, compassion and kindness.
It’s never too early. But it starts at home. And it starts with us.
Happy Summer Simplifying!