How is it going? Is it spring where you live yet? We might get a little snow today (CRAZY!) but at the end of last week it was 85. I decided that I have had enough and switched the girls seasonal clothes in protest. They still have pants and sweatshirts if they need to layer, but I got out the shorts and sundresses. In the process, I whittled down their clothes even more. I think everyone's things fit comfortably in their drawers and closets now. There is less in storage, also. Let's face it... some things that my oldest daughter wore are horribly outdated until the younger sisters grow into them. I actually found a red skort (yes, skort) that had a MaryKateandAshley brand tag! (My daughter loved that skort when she wore it... 10 years ago!)
I also did some major cleaning in the girls' bedrooms. I was pretty ruthless. I got several garbage bags out of each room and no one has seemed to notice anything important missing. That is my rule, though. If their bedrooms get so messy that I have to clean them, I will toss whatever I want. I don't think they mind. Instead, they are happily arranging the tops of their dressers. My 4yo insisted that I take a picture.
I hit up quite a few different areas of my home in my binge decluttering last week. I am now up to 20 garbage bags decluttered during the Spring Decluttering Challenge! My biggest accomplishments were definitely in the girls' clothes and bedrooms, so I thought that I would put together a list of some tips that are working for me. They may not work for you, but maybe they will at least be a start for something that you can adapt to fit your home.
- Don't store junk. When I am saving clothes for hand me downs, I save very few items of "play clothes." I consider that hand-me-down storage tote space to be valuable real estate and it is not worth it to me. I can go to the thrift store or a yard sale and buy a new play shirt for 50 cents if we really need them, but my kid generally get stains and make their own "play clothes" pretty quickly.
- The rule of 5. When their drawers seem to be full of junky clothes, I implement the rule of 5. I have them go through their clothes with me and choose their 5 favorite shirts, shorts, etc. (It is an arbitrary number I picked based on how fast I can get things washed and back in their drawers.) The rest get thrown away or used for rags. They get more "good shirts" but we go through them together and they are free to get rid of anything they do not like or wear. I also pick arbitrary numbers for other items like pajamas, socks, undies, etc. In the winter, they each get 3 hats, 3 pairs of gloves, and 3 scarves. It helps them to choose what is really their favorites and I don't have to keep storing things that no one likes.
- Find 3 things. If I don't have time to go through clothes with each child individually, but I know things are getting out of hand, I will send them each to find 3 things that they no longer wear. I am trying to encourage my daughters to make decisions and train them to declutter on their own, so I rarely question what they bring to me, even if it is something that I made for them. I then decide whether to store it for the next daughter or just get rid of it.
- Get it out of the house FAST. The longer things hang around, the longer they junk up my house. Yard sales are not worth it where we live. I donate anything decent that we do not need because many people have given us things over the years. I am just paying it forward. Most of the time I use a grocery bag because it fills up faster and then I take it straight to the back of the car. It is ready to be dropped off the next time I go past the thrift store or a donation box.
- Memory boxes. I have one tote for each of my children to store special items. To warrant space in the tote it must be really special. My children also have their own boxes. They tend to hoard things that they think are wonderful so I have gotten each of them a box to store their "treasures" in their own bedrooms. The junk is contained and they cannot exceed that box. I won't "accidentally" throw anything away that they consider important enough to place in that box. I got the boxes with coupons at Michaels.
Don't forget about the Spring Decluttering Challenge! Only a few weeks to go! If you want to join in it is not too late!!!