My kids are 13 and 6. So I don’t have to tell you how much “stuff” we accumulate around the house. If there are not a thousand small stuffed animals, then there are an ever growing collection of Legos. And just when I think I cleaned up all of the Legos, I find some small plastic thingamabob that one of them won as a “prize” in school.

Just more “stuff.”

I’ve watched. Neither one of them is even aware of how many things they have. There is no way to play with all of it. And to be honest, they don’t realize they have it until I’m knee deep in toy soldiers, bouncy balls, and plastic clackers while I attempt to declutter.

“Oh wait, I need that.”

“Really?” I ask. “What is it?”

The response is never valid. They didn’t know what it was when they won it. So I don’t feel bad about throwing it away. I used to make them go through their own things and toss what they weren’t going to play with. But that doesn’t work. The pile of things to keep always ends up bigger than the pile of things to toss.

So I’ve started to reserve my declutter process to when they are gone to school. I can then feel good about tossing that t-shirt that was too small two years ago, but they could not get rid of. It’s much easier to toss that little plastic toy that they have discarded at the back of the closet. Because if they were home, they would swear they need to keep it.

And before they come home, I have tied up the bag of clothes that I’m going to consign and I’ve discarded the broken trinkets and bagged the other toys to go to a shelter for kids that could use and appreciate them.

The kids haven’t complained yet. They just come home and see their room looks a bit more organized. I have my sanity, and the house is clean. And that to me, means the day was successful.

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