When we worked through our Big Purge a couple years ago, Dream and I focused mainly on our items and shared household items. Items were purged from our closets, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Our daughter Faith got in on the action to an extent, but was hesitant to let go of too much. We didn’t want to push her too much. I kept imagining her as an adult lamenting over the time her mom and dad made her get rid of all her stuff.
She was able to part with some of her things, but she also kept a lot. In our house we had a dedicated playroom where all her toys lived. We knew we would have to downsize her toy collection in order to fit into an apartment when we eventually made the leap.
One hard part for us was the fact that she really did play with almost every toy she owned. It’s very difficult to get rid of toys when you know your child really does play with them. One day it would be princesses, another day it would be My Little Pony, another Strawberry Shortcake, Squinkies, Barbies, mermaids, and so on.
When we were purging from our house we left her with the final say in what stayed and what was donated or trashed. All in all, she did pretty good and got rid of maybe a quarter of her stuff.
When moving day finally came, toys took up a large percentage of our boxes.
Moving into a two bedroom apartment meant the loss of a room dedicated to toys. Now her toys would have to share space with her bed, dresser, and night stand. We managed to cram most of her toys into her new bedroom; all except for a couple of boxes that sat in a corner of the living room.
Over the past couple of months, we let her get accustomed to her new space while doing some mini purges here and there. She actually enjoys decluttering and has fun with mini purges. It makes it easier when the child actually enjoys cleaning out some of the junk, broken, and unwanted toys.
The mini purges just weren’t doing enough. It seemed like every day her room would get messier and messier.
Here’s how it would go down:
- Dream and I would help Faith clean and organize.
- She would get excited about having a clean space to play.
- She’d pull out her toys and play.
- Messy room all over again.
We needed a more drastic approach. Something that would give her more floor space and still be less clutter.
We decided that two improvements were needed.
- We needed to get rid of some of the big items that took up too much floor space.
- We needed to get rid of many of the lesser used items.
Big items taking up floor space
We realized that she just had too many big items taking up too much floor space. The big items in her room included a Little Tykes Kitchen, Arial Vanity, Barbie Dream House, two baby doll cribs, Rapunzel Tower, doll sized barber chair, tea set, toy grocery cart, and two kid sized chairs.
We talked with Faith and came to an agreement on the vanity and the kitchen. The kitchen would go to her two year old cousin, and the vanity would be donated. That is all she would agree to, but we knew more would have to go.
Getting rid of the lesser used items
Based on some inspiration in a blog post titled Your Child’s Messy Room is Your Fault by Faith Janes of Minimalist at Home, we decided to do a room purge while she was in school. Faith went hard core and removed 80% of the stuff from her kids’ room. She did this with the kids locked out of their room while she purged. We took a similar approach, but to a lesser extent.
We tackled her room while she was in school. We threw out broken items and junk toys like happy meal toys and such. The grocery cart and chairs were set aside for donation. We also bagged up a bunch of lesser used toys to donate.
Some items we weren’t sure about. We didn’t think she played with them much, but we weren’t ready to just give them away without her knowing. Those items were packed into two large boxes and stashed in our closet.
How did Faith react?
We didn’t quite get finished before Faith came home from school. And we didn’t make it to Goodwill, so we had a pile of items sitting in the living room ready to be donated. We did, however, make drastic progress. The result was lots of floor space and Faith was really excited to see it when she came home. She said “now I can play in my room.” That one statement cast aside any doubts I had.
She really liked having some floor space to play in. She could get to her Barbie dream house without tripping over a bunch of other toys. The purge took place about two weeks ago, and ever since she’s been spending a lot more time in her room. She really enjoys her own private retreat much more now that she has space to play.
We may repeat this exercise at some point to pare down her stuff even more, but we’ll give this purge time to soak in first. We’re also planning to donate the toys we boxed up if she doesn’t ask for any of that stuff within the next couple of weeks. If she does find she’s missing something, we’re planning to do a trade, where she finds something else to box up in exchange for the toy she wants.
All in all, operation bedroom purge went well, and Faith was very pleased with the results.