In this post we will be tackling one of the biggest challenges that moms face when they decide that they want to declutter: How to get their family on board.
This is Part Two in the series How to Completely Declutter Your Home. If you missed Part One, you can check that out Here!
The reason that this is such a hangup for so many people, is that they miss one crucial step:
They don’t get their family excited about decluttering from the get go.
So today I’ll be showing you some tips and tricks to make getting your family to help you out simple.
Now just to be clear, I mean this in a realistic way, I don’t think that everyone in your family is going to start bringing you boxes of things to declutter without even being asked.
But when you are ready to start decluttering, they will also be ready for it to happen, they will be somewhat excited about it, and most importantly, they will be able and hopefully willing to help with the process and relieve some of that burden from you.
That way you can Completely Declutter Your Home as quickly as possible.
So, let’s get started!
And if you would prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video:
How to Get Your Family Excited About Decluttering
1) Start the Conversation
Once you have decided on your start date, you should start talking to your family about decluttering.
Let them know the date that you have set to start decluttering, how long the decluttering process should take, and what exactly it means to declutter.
This will give them a chance to ask any questions that they might have; and give you a chance to explain everything to them before you are knee-deep in clutter.
Sometimes people are resistant to change simply because they don’t really understand what will be happening and why you want to do it.
So, giving them as much information as you can up front will help to win them over.
2) Adults Declutter Their Own Things
There are several reasons for this one:
1: You Avoid Stepping on Toes
To get things started on the right food, let the other adults in your house know that you aren’t going to declutter their things.. but that you’re available if they would like any help with decluttering their stuff.
This will help the decluttering to start on a positive note and will make everyone more open to decluttering.
2: You Aren’t in the Same Place
Keep in mind that people may not be in the same place as you are when it comes to decluttering.
More than likely, you will have had more time to prepare and think about what you are going to get rid of, but other people may not be mentally or emotionally ready to part with some of their things the way that you are.
Forcing anyone to get rid of something when they aren’t ready to is just going to create a lot of resistance about decluttering in general.
3: Different Things Have Different Meanings to Different People
The last reason that I don’t declutter other people’s things is because I don’t know what the items mean to that person since they aren’t my things.
Some things might be useful to them, they might have sentimental value, or they might bring joy into their life.
3) Take Charge of Decluttering Your Kid’s Things
The next step is to get over any mental barriers that you have about decluttering your kid’s things.
Now this might seem like a double-standard compared with what I just said, but the difference here is that the parents pay the mortgage on the house, not the children.
So if an adult wants to fill their house with clutter, then they have the right to do so. The only reason I think that a child should get a say in decluttering , is if they are helping financially with the house.
But most children will need more guidance on what is best for them.
There have been many studies done on the negative effects of clutter on children. Now children may not fully realize how clutter is affecting them, but as parents we do.
A child won’t know how to articulate to you that they would like help with decluttering. Instead, they will show it in other ways; by becoming stressed, frustrated, or having a meltdown.
I know this because having too much stuff in our house growing up caused me a lot of stress.
I couldn’t articulate this at the time, but looking back, I can see that I would instinctively do certain things to help manage the stress all the clutter was causing me.
For example, whenever we moved, I would set myself a limit of just one large U-Haul box for all of my possessions other than clothing. If something didn’t fit, I would get rid of it.
Another example is how I used to spend my school breaks. I was homeschooled so we did school most of the year round. We would take breaks for vacations, and we would also take a couple of weeks whenever we finished our books for the year to just relax and unwind at home.
During these times, I would usually find a place in the house that was especially cluttered, and I would ask my mom if I could organize it. Of course, she always said, “well sure, you can do that if you want.” So, I would spend the next several days organizing all the stuff in that space… only for it to be completely messy again in a couple of weeks.
It was so frustrating to see all of that work undone.
I always figured that I was just a really weird kid. But then I read Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
In the book, she shares how the clutter in her home hugely impacted her stress levels. It was reassuring to know that clutter had affected someone else in the same way, and I wasn’t just a crazy child!
Knowing how stressed I felt with clutter, I decided that once I had my own house, I was going to keep the amount of things that we had to a minimum.
Because of this, I feel so much less stress and so much more peace.
And since we parents know that our children will also be much happier and more at peace once the clutter is gone; we need to help them with decluttering.
4) Provide Support
Children may find the decluttering process overwhelming, so it is important to let them know that you will be there to help.
Each child will be different. Some might not understand exactly what decluttering means and others might fully embrace throwing things away.
Let them know that you will be there to help them as little or as much as they need.
They will probably need some help to get started, so you can show them the Steps for Decluttering that I talk about in Part Three.
If they are not sure about if they should declutter something or not, put these items aside in a box and write a date on it.
If they don’t ask for those things within the timeframe that you agree on together, the box can be donated. This gives them control of the situation and allows them to think about their decision, knowing that it is ultimately their choice.
5) Create Some Incentives
There are many kinds of incentives that you can use for your family depending on the ages and personalities of everyone in your house.
I suggest setting incentives that are attainable and that can be given throughout the decluttering process, rather than just at the end. This will keep everyone interested and motivated, and hopefully excited!
Here are some ideas to get the brainstorming started:
- Order pizza whenever one room gets completely decluttered
- Have a movie night whenever one room is finished
- Eat out as a family when a room is completed
- Allow them to earn a commission when they bring you an item to sell
- Pay a set amount of money for every item they offer to get rid of
- Give them all of the money for everything that they sell
- Ask your family for ideas on what incentives they would like
Explain to your kids that once the decluttering is done in their rooms, they can use that money towards something that they would enjoy much more than all of that stuff just laying around.
With my own children, I give them all of the money from any item that I can sell. And then they can use that money towards anything they like – within reason – such as a hobby or something they are saving for.
One of my girls has been motivated by this incentive (a little too much in fact!) and brings me more items than I ever thought she needed to declutter simply because she would rather have the cash.
6) Give Older Children Accountability
I recommend letting any older children attempt decluttering on their own before you step in.
If this still achieves your overall goal of a more peaceful and less stressful home, then mission accomplished!
If your child is able to manage their room on their own, if their stuff isn’t spilling out into the common areas, and if they are able to get to the point where you aren’t having to constantly ask them to declutter their room, then it really doesn’t matter the number of things they have in their room, as long as they can manage it.
However, if their room isn’t finished (see #7 below) then they made need some help.
7) Decide What ‘Finished’ Looks Like
This step has two parts. The first is letting everyone know what the end date is for the decluttering process to be completed.
This will give everyone a goal to work towards, but it will also encourage them to accept that while the house may be a little chaotic for a while, there is an end in sight.
The second part is agreeing on what the finished version of the decluttering process looks like. Some examples of this are:
- When their room is manageable, and you no longer need to ask them to clean it every day
- When their things stay put away when they aren’t using them
- When their mess and things aren’t causing anyone else in the house stress
- When they aren’t leaving their things around the house
Agreeing on what a decluttered room looks like will help to get your children on board,
They will know that as long as they take care of their things and keep them tidy, they get to be in charge of their rooms…and you won’t be asking them to declutter anymore.
8) Get Everyone Excited
And lastly, you want to start getting everyone excited about the decluttering process and letting them know of all the benefits of decluttering.
Ready to Stop Feeling Stressed About Clutter?
Then check out Cluttered to Calm!
In Cluttered to Calm, you will learn how to
- Completely Declutter Every Room of Your Home
- Get Your Family on Board with Decluttering (and maybe even Excited about it!)
- Set Boundaries so that you will NEVER have to Declutter Again
- And Do It All In 8 Weeks or Less!
Cluttered to Calm walks you through my unique method for Decluttering Your Home once and for all!
Plus you will receive the Cluttered to Calm Decluttering Workbook and Spreadsheet and email support from me anytime you have questions.
I hope to see you inside the course!
(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Decluttering Resources!)
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- Declutter Your Home
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(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)