Let’s clean out your room! Time to get rid of some toys! I guarantee your child will give you the classic eye roll or completely ignore you. Do you blame them? That sounds overwhelming to me (and I love this stuff). IMHO, children need to and can develop the habit of letting go, reducing their emotional attachment to things. Few children (adults, ahem) want to do this work, let’s be honest. Here are some tricks to help get everyone moving in a less is more direction.

Instruct your child to pick 15 books/stuffies/toys to share with other kids. Have a gazillion Legos? Hand them a gallon Ziploc bag (or two) and ask them to fill it. In their little minds, you are going to get rid of everything (I’ve threatened this once or twice, you too?). Assigning a number gives them more control and a goal to achieve.

Let’s clean out your room this weekend. I’m tired just typing that sentence. Try - we are going to spend 15 minutes cleaning out this bookcase/dresser/toy chest. Let’s set a timer so we don’t go a minute longer. Making it a race against the clock keeps kids (and me) moving. A complete edit of a room will take more time and most likely, will fall on your to do list. BUT the goal here is to get your kids comfortable with and in the habit of letting go.

My 5-year-old son wants to be older (oh to be so young). The phrase, “Is this too babyish?” will fast track books or toys to the donate bag. I’ll even throw in, “Oh, that’s suuuuuper babyish” for dramatic effect. Consider this a realistic kid-friendly version of “spark joy” – and we know how that’s working out for the world.


Our children watch our every move (scary thought). If you’re having a hard time letting go, then you can’t expect more of your children. Time to walk the walk, my friend. Read steps 1-3 again and put them into action for you. Show your kids what you are doing. Take them with you to the Goodwill. Then all go out for ice cream…just don’t go buy another toy.

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PACK: Travel much? Then never leave home without these. One per kid, literally, for the majority of our trips (when w/d are available). The largest size packs the biggest punch with the medium coming in handy but skip the smallest size.

LIGHTEN UP: House rule #1 – every room needs a table lamp. Add this, this or this to brighten the room…and your mood.

UNPILE: Your beloved made the sweetest Valentine for you (maybe?) and it’s piled on your desk. Keep memorabilia in these bins (document size for the win). Label one for each family member. Voila. One less pile.