Once you declutter your own clothes, it’s time to tackle the kiddos outfits. You may be tempted to simply do the job yourself but this is such a huge undertaking and lifestyle change that it’s better to include your kids as much as possible. Find out how to declutter clothes with kids the KonMari way to include them in this new lifestyle.
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The kids had mixed feelings in the beginning of this. The oldest knew how big of a job it would be and that was overwhelming. Our daughter just took it in stride and the youngest saw the piles of clothes and thought of them as giant leaf piles.
However, once we got started the oldest really found his stride. After we finished, he remarked surprise at how much fun it was. That’s right, he totally thought it was fun to do. Pretty awesome, right?
The youngest one loved being included in something that his older siblings were doing which I think helped his focus. He lasted a lot longer during the process than I thought he would and I credit that greatly to everyone working on the same task.
Now that we’ve successfully completed the task, I have some tips for how to declutter clothes with kids the KonMari way that made the process go more smoothly and easier.
KonMari Clothes with Toddlers
When decluttering clothes with toddlers, be prepared to do a lot of the work. This is especially true if your child has a ton of clothes. Their attention span and patience will wane as the process drags on.
If they start getting restless, let them expel some energy. You can either take a break during this time or mom/dad can keep decluttering while the kiddos get active.
It also helps to have older kids going through the process at the same time. My youngest was much more excited and involved because his big brother was doing the same thing. Toddlers don’t get to do what the big kids do a lot so it adds an element of excitement for them.
Lastly, while toddlers can totally fold and put away their clothes, being faced with so much at once can be overwhelming. My little one loved the novelty of the task at first, but lost focus about halfway through.
KonMarie Clothes with Young Kids
Young kids are better able to determine what sparks joy for them. However, clothing is not going to be the easiest item for them to determine that feeling with.
For our 6 year old daughter, we had her pick out a toy that brought her joy, a small stuffed doggy. Anytime throughout the process when she started to struggle, we had her pick up the stuffed animal and remember that feeling. She went back to the stuffed animal frequently but it really helped her discern what to keep and what to toss.
Before you get started decluttering clothes with young kids, have them pick out a toy that truly brings them joy. Have them describe what the feel when they hold it and teach them how to search for that same spark during decluttering.
KonMarie Clothes with Older Kids
Older kids can do this pretty much autonomously. My 9 (almost 10) year old sorted through all of his clothes on his own. We did run into a few issues where guidance was needed, listed below.
Let your child know it’s okay to get rid of items that they just got. For example, he got a few items for Christmas that didn’t spark joy for him but he felt guilty getting rid of them since they were brand new. In this instance he simply needed validation that it is perfectly okay to let go of the item.
- I asked him if opening the gift gave him joy and he said yes. I asked him if he knew how good it made the person who gave it to him feel and, again, he said yes. Then I told him that the item had fulfilled its purpose and brought joy to both of them. It is okay to let go of it so that it can find a home with someone who loves it.
He also struggled letting go of clothing that held some important memory for him. For example, he had a teeshirt that a penguin painted from a vacation years ago. He didn’t really want the shirt but he treasured the memory of the vacation. In this instance, we talked about whether he needed the shirt to remember the joy of that vacation. In the end, he was able to let it go with love and without regret.
First, remember to go through the process with your clothes first. This helps for 2 reasons. One, it helps prepare the kids as they see you doing the same job you expect them to do. Secondly, it helps you prepare for helping them with the process. It’s much harder to teach something you’ve never experienced.
If possible, try to divide and conquer with your spouse. My husband helped our daughter while I worked with the boys. This made the process much faster.
Also, although older kids can totally do this on their own, it helps to have mom or dad there for support. Even though I didn’t have to do much for my oldest, the fact that I was there supporting and helping him meant a lot.
Lastly, I recommend allowing kids to make an unsure pile as well. This pile gets smaller as the process continues because they identify the feeling of joy more easily. Before that, though, it can be overwhelming to be forced into a decision before fully understanding.
Learning how to declutter clothes with kids the KonMari way doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember to have younger kids choose an item that they know brings them joy for reference during the process. Also, include the entire family. It brings you closer and also provides support so that kiddos don’t get overwhelmed during the process.
Don’t fall into the trap of doing it on your own. Not only will you burn yourself out on the decluttering process, you will miss an opportunity to see how amazing your kiddos really are. I guarantee they’ll surprise you.
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