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This has probably been asked before…

My daughter's room is chaos. She is 8 y.o. She has so many stuffed animals that they take up the entire lower bunk. Of course – they all end up on the floor when she has a sleep over. Each one is named and has a story that she could easily tell you (i.e. each one is precious to her).

She has tons of books.

She has every McDonald's happy meal toy ever made.

She has every pokemon card and toy every made

She has every Polly Pocket ever made

She has every EVERYTHING ever made.

She is a budding artist. LOTs of pictures and drawings and ??? :-)

I tried to clean her room yesterday. It certainly looks better – but everything is now in several large plastic bins stacked neatly on top of each other and under the bed as well.

Approximately 18 months ago – we moved. I was able to purge quite a lot back then by telling her “Oh – it must still be in a box somewhere” when she inquired about something. That won't work this time…

Also – her room is *very* small. Her closet was converted into shelves/desk space. All completely covered with “stuff”. She has a bunk bed and one tall dresser. Not much wall space left for any additional shelves.

I eagerly look forward to any suggestions you may have…

Thanks! :-)
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I am not very good at this, so take my advice for what it is worth! That said, here are a few things that have helped me:

(1) I let my daughter know that her stuff is being given to the poor children rather than thrown away. It is a lot easier to part with Mr. Bunny to a new home than to a trash can.

(2) when we go through stuff I hold up items and let her decide - poor children, keep or "say goodbye to." She finds it easier to throw things away after saying goodbye.

(3) when she brings home a huge stack of papers from school, I ask her to pick out a few for me to save, to remind us of what she was doing the year. The rest I get rid of.

(4) when she wants to get some new piece of junk, I ask her where she plans to keep it.

I guess I am saying that kids have a hard time letting go of their stuff just like we do. Honor the grieving process for Mr. Bunny. Let her have as much power over the process as possible, without going so far as to keep everything. Help her understand the relationship between the amount of stuff and how crowded her room is.

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Have *HER* do it with you...I did that with my DD.

I don't think it's fair to declutter without some input. However, make explicitly clear that decluttering WILL be done, but that she'll be allowed to pick out what to toss/donate.

I made it easier by telling DD that poor kids needed toys too and she had so many.
Kristi
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Disclaimer: There may very well be HUGE amounts of information that I don't have. I am only reacting to what you've offered, so forgive me if I'm completely mistaken. I am going to get yelled at and make enemies with my answer. I am ready for that, but I really hate it when it happens. So I'll try to say it gently, and I hope you can yell at me gently. And if my mistakes are because of lack of information, I'd rather you just give me enough to make a better decision instead of telling me off. Please? Pretty please?

Let me try the indirect approach first:
Nearly all of our posters here have started by lamenting the amount of stuff they have. The first piece of advice is ALWAYS to stop bringing in more stuff. It does you no good to purge things if you're replacing them just as quickly.

Okay, now the direct approach:
WHY does your daughter own "every one" of anything? It sounds like she needs to learn the value of not having everything she asks for. If you are keeping the entire collection of (fill in the blank) for its value as a collection, then box it up somewhere safe. Otherwise, you are raising a child who will live WAY beyond her means as an adult (not to mention teenager) because she's used to having what she wants, regardless of budget.

In this case, her budget is based on space, not money. But it's still a budget.

Or is it that YOU are unable to say no to cute things?

Whatever the underlying issue, the problem isn't lack of space. That is simply the constraint. The problem is an unwillingness to live within that constraint.

I don't want to see you go through this de-clutter/re-clutter cycle more often than necessary. You'll have to do it often enough as her tastes change. There's no reason to do it when she still loves her things.

Sorry for the tough love. I just think that any other response is a band-aid.

Hugs,
Frydaze1
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I don't think it's fair to declutter without some input. However, make explicitly clear that decluttering WILL be done, but that she'll be allowed to pick out what to toss/donate.

Amen to that.

YOU are the parent, and you get to decide HOW MUCH stuff goes in the room. SHE gets to decide WHICH stuff goes in the room (within limits.)

Tell it to her just like that and I think you will be amazed at the results.

I have also been known to get rid of things without asking, but only after repeated attempts to get a kid old enough to handle the task to clean his or her room. At some point, I think that leaving stuff on the floor gets to be an indication that you just don't care enough about it to put it away.

bookaholic
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At some point, I think that leaving stuff on the floor gets to be an indication that you just don't care enough about it to put it away.

Mostly it's the school work and clothes that get left on the floor. I hate to shop, so there aren't many extra clothes.

Vickifool -- same problem with one kid.
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You seem to think this is an organization problem, and I think of it as a parenting one.

What limits have you placed on what she can get and what she can keep?

One of your jobs is to teach her can't have everything. It will be hard to start, but do you want her to learn to declutter now, or when she's 27?

The first thing you have to do is to limit things coming in. Tell her that her room is full, and if she wants new whatevers, she'll have to get rid of old ones first.

Before her birthday, Christmas, whatever present-acquiring opportunities, help her pick things that she is ready to send to a new home.

Approximately 18 months ago – we moved. I was able to purge quite a lot back then by telling her “Oh – it must still be in a box somewhere” when she inquired about something. That won't work this time…

One technique many parents I know use starting from when the kid is quite small is to have a box of stuff that's away. Every couple of months the parents put some toys away and put out new toys from the box. This seems like a great idea to me, and something one could involve a kid in at a reasonably early age.

Good luck!
- Megan
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She has every McDonald's happy meal toy ever made.

She has every pokemon card and toy every made

She has every Polly Pocket ever made


Since she is 8, it is unlikely that she hass all of the toys. If you are serious about having everything, then you need to consider the value of her collection. Some "toys" are now valuable collectibles.

Lying is to her is bad. My step-son still remembers his stuff that was thrown out/given away by his grandmother while he was school. I suspect that many collectors were created by parents who discarded their children's stuff without concern for the child's feelings, although some of us where just born collectors.

Debra
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If you are serious about having everything, then you need to consider the value of her collection.

On the other hand, if you are serious about decluttering, you could offer to sell things on ebay for her and let her keep the money. I do this with my kids all the time, and it really helps keep the computer/video games under control, as well as the paperback books. Sure, they just take the money and go buy another video game, but you have to sell two or three games used in order to buy one game new. Do the math--it works for me!

bookaholic
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I do this with my kids all the time, and it really helps keep the computer/video games under control, as well as the paperback books. Sure, they just take the money and go buy another video game, but you have to sell two or three games used in order to buy one game new. Do the math--it works for me!

Sounds like a good idea. If she does have any of the really valuable toys, it might be good to set a limit for how much of the money she could spend. It might not be good to put $500-$1,000 in the hands of an 8 year old collector.

Debra
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There are good suggestions here, including putting things away and swapping them out after a while so toys seem like new. But what seems to be working with my 6yo (who does NOT like to pick up her things... because her 2 little sisters don't do it enough) is the threat of "If these dolls (toys, objects, whatever) aren't picked up by bedtime tonight, they are going in time out."

And I follow through, when I pick them up I put them in a box in the garage. So far, I've packed away three boxes of her things that she neglected to pick up. And to date, she's never asked for them again. So they're about to be shipped to Good Will.

Not to seem like I'm pulling the wool over her eyes, but she obviously doens't care enough about them to a) pick up after herself or b) miss them once they're gone. Proof enough to me that she has too much stuff. The stuff she really loves she is careful to put away. Leason learned.
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