Many of us that struggle with keeping a clean and clutter-free home, do so because we either have a skewed view of how to do it (if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all!), or we were never taught the routines to accomplish it.
I’ve talked to people who had parents with immaculate houses and we saw the negative impact it had on their homelife.
I’ve talked to people who were never taught how to do the task and they have no idea where to begin.
For many people, the task had such a level of perfection required of it, they never believed they were capable of accomplishing it, so would allow or expect their
expert parent do it when it needed to be done.
With so many facing clutter on every surface of the home, piles in the garage and all the various housekeeping tasks, I’ve come to realize that we can do better by our children. We can teach them how to face clutter and how to build cleaning routines into their life, so having a home won’t be as overwhelming to them as it has been for us.
Now, there is no guarantee that if we teach our children a certain way that they will grow up and keep a clean and tidy house, but it’s important to give them the tools they need so that they have confidence in their ability to do it.
Teaching children how to purge clutter and develop home-maintenance routines means:
- They can face housekeeping without fear or overwhelm. We want our children to have confidence when they leave home, to know how to take care of themselves and their surroundings, so they have the best opportunity to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
- They learn how to take care of the earth. With having a proper view of material possessions, they won’t need to buy bigger and better or more and more. If they grow to be comfortable with just the right amount of things, that will keep so much excess out of the landfill, it will benefit the entire world.
- They learn to think of others. As you declutter, you know that you can donate almost everything to different organizations. Helping others makes giving away so much easier, knowing that someone else can get joy out of what you share.
- They gain a healthy materialistic view. There is nothing wrong with owning material items. The problem comes when all those material possessions control your life, rather than helping you live it. When our children learn to let unnecessary things go, they are much more free to do what they need in their life to live authentically and do what they were created to do.
So, how does one teach a child to declutter?
- Talk to them about your why. Do you know your why? What is the end goal in decluttering your home? Less cleaning, more fun times with family? More hobby time, travel time or the ability to invite people over at a moment’s notice? Having pleasant surroundings when your home? Talk through it- talk about the pros and cons (wait, what cons would there be??) of simplifying your possessions and eliminated excess.
- Involve them in decluttering. Even when you’re decluttering your kitchen or your books- get the kids involved. Have them put things in the donate box or the trash, have them count out the checkboxes on your decluttering chart and mark them off. Let them see you making decisions and letting things go.
- Talk to them through the process. When you’re decluttering, compare duplicate items and talk about which one you will keep, why you don’t need both of them, etc. Let them know when you have purchased something that you thought would improve your life, but you see that it’s just taken up space (which is actually a hindrance instead of a help). Talk through your feelings- are you sad you didn’t complete a project? Did someone special give you an item that you feel bad about giving up? Is that an appropriate feeling? Your children are going to face those same situations. But when they are present while you are sorting your items, it will make it easier for them to face those emotions when they are sorting their own items.
- Lead by example. Work in your space first. Tackle the kitchen or your bedroom. Do one thing every day- it won’t be long before the children start asking what you are going to declutter today, and if you can work in their room next!