The Rest

Simplify for Spring With the Whole Family

April 21, 2017

Sometimes it seems as if simplify is the buzzword du jour. Books on the subject can be found all over e-book retailers and in bookstores. Television talk shows expound upon the topic while interviewing experts on the subject. We’re all inundated with the notion that if we just get rid of the majority of our stuff we’ll lead happier and healthier lives.

It’s true that the average family has way more stuff than they need. Little items pile up only to be forgotten in a junk drawer or a box tucked in the back of closet. Clothing that you haven’t worn for years hangs listlessly in the back of your closet. You may even have a storage unit filled with larger items that you promise you’ll get to someday.

While it can seem like an unsurmountable task the fact is that decluttering your home and simplifying your life has benefits beyond just freeing up space. Studies have shown that children can also feel overwhelmed in the presence of an abundance of clutter and removing that from their lives can create a better sense of stability.

If you’re ready to begin the process of simplification in your home this spring these are several ways to involve the whole family in the process.

Implement Fun Cleaning Tools for Kids 

Kids aren’t always thrilled when asked to chip in on cleaning projects so lots of encouragement is needed. Their age plays a big factor as well. Your teen might be much harder to get on board than younger children so asking them to participate might require some creativity on the part of the parent.

One way to get younger kids involved in the spirit of cleaning is to provide them with their own child-sized cleaning tools. Brooms and mops that are sized for children are easy to find and generally come in fun colors that kids love. Since younger children generally like to emulate their parents they’ll be excited to sweep and mop alongside you, even if they don’t do a perfect job. You can also give them small spray bottles filled with nontoxic cleaning solutions like vinegar and water to encourage them even further.

If you have teenagers, be sure to tell them in advance that spring cleaning will take place on a certain date and set clear expectations. For instance, ask them to tackle one or two areas of their room or the house and don’t pressure them too much. The end result might surprise you.

Invent Fun Cleaning Games and Incentives 

Not many people would describe cleaning as fun but if you implement games and challenges with rewards or prizes your kids will enjoy the experience much more, and may even be more motivated. Making chores as fun as possible will save you the headache of prodding your kids on spring cleaning days.

Decorate boxes with paint or contact paper and challenge your kids to a race. Ask them to sort through their toys and set a time limit. The child who fills their box first can receive a prize but remember to offer a consolation prize for the runners up as well. This can further motivate younger children to participate.

When it comes to clothing arrange an impromptu fashion show. Set up a runway and lights if possible and take pictures as well. As your child walks the runway you can assess the fit of the clothes and decide if the particular outfit stays or goes.

Discuss the Importance of Charitable Donation 

When spring cleaning is done you and your kids might wonder what will happen to the things that are slated for removal. This is a great opportunity to explain to your kids the importance of charity and where their things will go. You can tell them that their outgrown clothing and toys will go to families and children who are less fortunate and they can feel helpful and generous by letting their items go.

Young children won’t understand the meaning of a tax deduction but this can be a teachable moment for older kids and teens. It’s never too early to learn financial lessons. Donating extra furniture or even larger items like that boat in your garage you never use anymore to charity can spark a discussion about taxes, the filing process, and how charitable donations fit into the grand scheme of income taxes.

Disposing of unused items and tidying up your house can have many beneficial impacts on your life and the lives of your kids. If you’re ready to simplify your life and start the process with decluttering be sure to involve your children in a fun yet productive way. You’ll likely be surprised at the level of cooperation you receive and your family may even be inspired to make this process a way of life.

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