Decluttering with kids

One of the most challenging parts about trying to minimise with a family is decluttering with kids. I imagined, before having kids, that I would not let stuff pile up and keep the kids’ room tidy and clutter free (hahahahaha). But it turns out, it’s just not that easy. They outgrow their clothes ALL the time and toys and books pile up. In addition, as we live in Norway and temperatures during a year goes from 30 below Celsius to 30 above Celsius, we need to be able to dress for both these end points and everything in between (and almost during every month of the year- expect from this year, where we have been given an exceptionally warm summer).

I have often preferred doing decluttering when the kids are somewhere else or asleep, as it tends to become a bit chaotic if I do it when they’re awake. However, I thought I would bring them along this time. On my plan, was to go through their books and their winter clothes.

We first went through most of their books. I put all the books on the floor and I asked them which books they preferred to read. We kept a lot of books, but they decided that some books should be donated to other kids, as we rarely read them, or they are difficult to follow. I, as a mother, obviously had a say in the process, but I did not push too much to get rid of anything they wanted to keep.

Next, we went through their winter clothes. I had made a list of items I wanted us to keep for next winter, but if we had double of some pieces, I let them decide which to keep. They tried on various sweaters and looked at the colours and I told them that it is important that they keep the items they feel comfortable in and which they liked the most. Clearly, when I say I am talking to them, I mostly mean my 6 year old, as my 3 year old tends to go off track in these processes 😛

Nevertheless, I do think that including the kids in the decluttering process can be useful and perhaps help them in the future when they have to deal with clutter. I also hope it can lead to a minimalist way of thinking, that we should keep what we love, use and need, but not more than this.

Do you include your children in the decluttering process? How do you do it? Have you got any useful tips you want to share?

Kari

Simplified packing party

I’ve snooped around on theminimalists‘ blog and they have so many useful tips and interesting articles.

One point which really caught my attention on their blog was the packing party. This is where you pack away all your possessions (as if you are moving houses), only to find the items you need when you need them. So, first night, you want to find your bed and bed sheets, etc. In this way, it is possible to see which items you use and which items you only keep in your house unused. Though I think this must be an eye opener and a fantastic experience, we could not (or would not) pack away all our things.

Though I did a similar thing with some of the kids toys, which were stored in a box in the living room. The youngest (3 year old) would, every day (!!!) take this box, empty it (you know the sound of a load of toys hitting the floor) but proceed to play with his cars and blocks.

Because of this, I removed the box (in the picture below) and did not tell the kids about it. Normally, I would have included my 6 year old, but in this case I didn’t.

It has been a month since I removed these toys and none of them have reported anything missing. So we will donate these toys to someone else.

I think this was a great exercise and I will probably use this “technique” several times, if I am in doubt about tossing something out or keep it.

The kids seem to play better, when left with toys such as building blocks, as they use their imagination and can create things. My 6 year old often builds castles and my 3 year old likes to build roads and parking lots 😛

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately, too much sun and holiday going on. However, at the moment, we are trying to clear out more stuff from our house as we still have way too many things.

This week, I will take my eldest (6 year old) with me on the process when clearing out her room, and we will talk about her books and toys, and see if there’s anything we could donate / trash / sell.

I will try to make a post about her involvement in this.

Kari

April update

April has flown by and I have had some very busy weeks at work. Due to this, I am a bit behind my April decluttering plan. However, I will not lose all spirits. There are still some days left of April, and I will do my best to cross of a few more items of my list.

Here is my list, with the items I have managed to declutter so far. I have donated some white shirts and a black suit and I have also had a look at the kids clothes, to see if we could donate clothes that won’t fit anymore.

  • Give away white shirts and black suit (planned to give to theatre group)
  • The kids’ clothes: purge / donate
  • Winter clothes – make a box to go to attic
  • Get rid of 3 items which I find hard to say goodbye to
  • Sell black coat and skirt (mine)
  • Purge toys downstairs
  • Get rid of dresser upstairs (give away)
  • Dissemble linen closet and get rid of it
  • Declutter / remove at least one box under the bed
  • Start organising hobby cupboard downstairs

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The picture is of some of the clothes I removed from my 3 year old’s drawers. It is more spacious now, which makes it easier to see what is in there.

My aim is to see if I manage by Thursday,  to declutter / remove one box from under the bed and purge toys downstairs. I will keep you posted.

Have you decluttered anything lately? Do you manage to stick to your plan?

Lots of love,

Kari

Book review: “The joy of living with less” by Francine Jay

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I have just finished my second book on minimalism and it has been helpful, as well as inspirational in my process of decluttering and minimising. Francine Jay walks us through four main sections in her book, starting with philosophy in part 1, continuing with part 2 where she presents her Stremaline method for decluttering. In part 3, she guides us through room by room, giving us useful tips on how and where to start, and what to be aware of in the various rooms. She introduces us to the aspects of lifestyle connected to simplifying our lives in part 4.

In part 1, she walks us through a lot of the thoughts and expectations around things, where especially two of the subchapters got to me: “You are not what you own” (Part one: chapter 2) and  “The Joy of enough” (Part one: chapter 9). I think it’s easy to feel that we need more things, newer things and a bigger house to accommodate all these things in society today, as images of how we “should” live our lives often appear in social media and are orchestrated by advertisers. In addition, I have tended to keep things that I feel say something about who I am (or at least, who I want to be, or in some cases, who I used to be). After starting the process of minimizing, I still want to buy new things and keep my old things, however, I feel that I now reflect more about the things I buy and I want everything I buy to last a long time and to have a purpose.

The streamline technique which is introduced in part 2 is extremely helpful when decluttering. Before I read this book, I followed these steps to a certain degree as I think many of these steps are natural in a decluttering procerss, but I have become more aware of the various ways of organising and of where clutter “lives”. Streamline stands for Start over, Trash/treasure/transfer, Reason for each item, Everything in its place, All surfaces clear, Modules, Limits, If one comes in, one goes out, Narrow down and Everyday maintenance. I will not go into detail into these, some are probably self-explanatory, however, I have discovered that I have tended to cheat on the first point; Start over. Sometimes, when I have decluttered a shelf, or some drawers, I have not taken everything out. It does really make a difference, when you do Start over.

Another point which I found useful from this book are the Modules. I have organised some of our things, to a certain degree into modules before, but I have become more aware of this after reading the book. Furthermore, the Outbox is a brilliant concept as well. You place an outbox somewhere in the house to encourage family members to get rid of things. I have for a longer period of time kept an outbox to myself, but I think it will be interesting to see if other family members will make use of it as well.

If you want to go on a decluttering journey or simply minimise your everyday somewhat, I definitely recommend this book. It is easy to read and you can easily jump to the points relevant to you, if needed.

I feel inspired by reading books on minimalism and decluttering. Do you have any books or articles or blogs you would recommend, please share, as I love to learn more.

Lots of love,

Kari

April is here – let’s get into “decluttering mode”

We had a lovely time up in the mountains on our cabin and I forgot all about decluttering and everyday life, and it was marvellous. In addition, the weather gods were in a good mood ☀️

However, now it is time to get back in business and get started on my April action plan.

On my first Trash and transfer Tuesday I went to the recycling station with glass jars and metal boxes. I meant to transfer some clothes as well, but I am a bit behind on work, so had to prioritise that, which made me feel a bit unmotivated on the decluttering front.

However, I have given away the dresser which was on my list and I am planning on giving away the white shirts and black suit tomorrow (and I will perhaps see if I can find time to have a look at the kids clothes this evening). So though my first Trash and transfer Tuesday was not as spectacular as I had expected it to be (haha), I have gotten started on my plan and I will try to get into “decluttering mode” again. I always find it a bit hard to get back into it after being away and coming back, as there are always more of the usual chores to attend to when returning from holiday. However, I have complete one task and at least it is something.

  • Give away white shirts and black suit (planned to give to theatre group)
  • The kids’ clothes: purge / donate
  • Winter clothes – make a box to go to attic
  • Get rid of 3 items which I find hard to say goodbye to
  • Sell black coat and skirt (mine)
  • Purge toys downstairs
  • Get rid of dresser upstairs (give away)
  • Dissemble linen closet and get rid of it
  • Declutter / remove at least one box under the bed
  • Start organising hobby cupboard downstairs

I hope you have had a good holiday! Have you started a spring clean / decluttering plan?

Lots of love,

Kari

Action plan April: decluttering

pexels-photo-938044.jpegThis is my action plan to continue to declutter in April. I am a BIG fan of lists and suggestions on how to declutter, especially lists which will get you through a lot of decluttering in for instance 30 days. However, I’ve come to realise that we rarely manage to carry out lists like this, as we spend a lot of weekends away.

However, I do think that making a plan and having a list to cross off will help me out in the process of decluttering. Part of what I find most difficult is getting rid of furniture and larger items, and in general getting things out of the house.

The picture I have chosen for this blog post, illustrates how I feel about my home these days. Overly stuffed with things, which shouldn’t be here. However, that WILL change.

To get more things out of the house, I will rename Tuesday Trash and Transfer Tuesday. On Tuesdays, I will try to gather clothes, trash and other things that needs to be moved out of the house to recycling points, second hand shops etc and actually take the time to get these things there.

In addition I want to sort out the following:

  1. Give away white shirts and black suit (planned to give to theatre group)
  2. The kids’ clothes: purge / donate
  3. Winter clothes – make a box to go to attic
  4. Get rid of 3 items which I find hard to say goodbye to
  5. Sell black coat and skirt (mine)
  6. Purge toys downstairs
  7. Get rid of dresser upstairs (give away)
  8. Dissemble linen closet and get rid of it
  9. Declutter / remove at least one box under the bed
  10. Start organising hobby cupboard downstairs

Furthermore, I am considering getting rid of more dressers, or wedding china (or parts of it) and I dream of tearing down my kitchen cupboards. However, this is the more challenging tasks, which I don’t think will be realistic to complete in April. But if I manage more than on the list above, that will definitely be a bonus.

Have you got an action plan for your decluttering?

I will try to post some updates on the progress as I start.

Lots of love,

Kari

“Organisers”

I don’t manage to declutter large areas these days, but I did go through one organiser with pockets, looking like this.

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I suppose these are made to help us organise things – but I apparently cannot use them correctly. I found all the items below in this one organiser, in addition to a bunch of clothes which I did not take any pictures of 😳

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Clothes, toys (and bath toys), hair product and lice shampoo and a first aid kit. All of these items have designated places and have been put in their places.

I’m left with an empty organiser and I’m wondering whether or not I should put it back up.

Part of this process of decluttering, is changing where we keep things and how many things we have. The more we get rid of – the less storage we need, which is wonderful. However, it takes time to get rid of things, and to get the things we don’t want, out of our house.

I am aiming at creating a Plan of action for April, when it comes to decluttering. More on this in my next post.

Have you taken the time to declutter anything lately?

Lots of love,

Kari