So many adults struggle with letting go of clutter. Maybe you are one of them. And if you are, there is no need to feel ashamed of it. It’s actually hard to change the habits that you acquired over years of experience. Maybe you grew up with your parents telling you to value everything you are given.
Sentimental value is actually one of the main reasons why adults find it hard to let go of the things they own. You get reminded of relationships, events, and people you don’t want to forget when you see a thing. But at one point, all of these things actually contribute to the mess and the clutter around the house.
You will really have to let some of them go. It’s not easy, but if the mess and the clutter are at the point where it impedes your everyday life, it’s time to get ready for heartbreak. There is a study linking your decreased ability to focus with the presence of clutter in your space. When your place is not organized, it also affects your mood and self-esteem somehow. Other than that, clutter that stays in one place for an extended period is actually a recipe for disaster. Uncleaned spaces invite insects, which may require you to call pest control services. You might find out one day that your box of love letters has become a termite colony.
Seeing how difficult it is to let go of clutter as an adult, it’s never a bad idea to save your children from the same heartbreak later on. As early as now, teach them how to live a clutter-free life. They can retain these practices better the earlier you teach them.
- Teach them the value of experience over material things
It is common for parents to buy their children toys and gifts as a reward for doing something good. There is nothing wrong with that, especially when you see how their eyes sparkle when they receive a big dollhouse. However, you also have to make them see the value of experiential gifts. Don’t let their happiness depend on material things.
When they get perfect test scores, take them out to the park for some ice cream. Watch a soccer game with them on their birthday. You can also encourage your family and friends to choose these experiences over giving material gifts.
- Know what they actually want
It also helps if you know exactly what your kids want. Some parents just randomly buy things that they think their children would appreciate. When it turns out it’s not what they want, the toy just adds to the clutter.
- Teach them the value of things
When they do receive material gifts, let them be appreciative of the gesture behind them. But at the same time, let them know that they can hold on to the memory even when they have to let go of the thing. Adults have the tendency not to share the things that are most dear to them. With kids, let them share their favorite toys with other kids.
- Be a role model
You probably know this by now, that your children usually just mimic the behavior of the adults around them. Walk the talk and pick up things as you go. Be organized with your own stuff. Let your children watch you in the morning as you make their beds. Let them help.
- Give them incentives
At a certain age, a child develops a belief system. When they understand the idea behind rewards, use this to your advantage. Start giving them rewards for keeping their toys in the right place or for putting their laundry where it should be. You can even make it a little contest among their siblings.
- Respect your child’s ownership
What you see as clutter might be your kid’s most prized possession. So don’t go around their room and make the decision. Ask for permission and talk to them about which things they are willing to let go of. Disrespecting their choice may instill in them a fear that they might lose their stuff at any time. It will be harder for them to let go later on.
Telling Your Kids Why Decluttering Is Important
When they reach the age when they can understand concepts, teach them the benefits of keeping their space clean. Once they understand, they will become willing participants, especially if they see how the act will benefit them.
Teaching your kids the importance of decluttering may seem like a simple responsibility now. However, they will live a better life when they don’t struggle with letting things go when they grow old.