Throughout my path to living a more intentional life, I’ve found my biggest struggles to be with my little ones. I remember as a kid I’d hold on to everything. And by everything, I mean everything. My room was such a chaotic mess, no wonder I was a pretty angsty teen. Maybe it was the ‘teen‘ part, but one can never be sure. Now that I’m older, letting go of stuff isn’t hard at all, but it’s usually an uphill battle to work with my own children on learning to let go. Today I’m sharing a few tips that have helped me to help my little ones live a more minimal life as well.
1. Don’t let stuff pile up in the first place. If you never buy it, they’ll never know what they’re missing!
2. No is a complete sentence. You’ll need to have control of your own self before you can help them curb their material wishes.
3. Remember that your end goal is not to control your children’s materialism, but to encourage them to seek a minimal lifestyle on their own.
4. Do not (NOT) ever go behind their back to clean out their rooms. Trust me on this one, they will find out.
5. Do a room purge together to start. Start with something that is not emotional for them, like clothing.
6. Work together with them to determine which items bring them the most joy. Remind them of this any time they question letting something go.
7. Lightly suggest items for them to get rid of, and ask questions together to help them decide whether to let go or keep. Some great ones are, “When was the last time you played with it?”, “Do you like it better than this other toy (a more loved one)?”, and “Do you think this toy is happy when you don’t play with it?”.
8. Don’t force them to get rid of their collections, instead give them a special place or box. When it’s full, the collection needs to let something go before it can get something new.
8. Give them an easy way to organize their belongings, and help organize with them until they can do it on their own.
9. Gently remind them that every item has a home in their room, and that the item will not be happy if it’s left out on the floor to be stepped on (cough, Legos!).
10. The more they learn that they can do it on their own, the less they will feel pressured and will do it naturally as time goes on.
You may need to help them purge their belongings from time to time. As they age they will naturally grow out of items and let go more easily. The major key here is #1. You need to break the habit of buying them stuff. If you put an emphasis on cool things you can do together, I guarantee they will choose time with you over having more stuff 99.9% of the time.
Do you do anything special to help your little ones curb their maximalist kid habits? I’d love to hear!