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This time of year I feel the urge to declutter. Something about being stuck inside for months on end makes me want to clear my home of anything that we don’t need … or really even want… and often have forgotten that we own. My 2018 word of the year is ‘clean’, not just company clean, but really clean. For the past few weeks I have been working my way through closets, shelves, cabinets, and all of the other places that things go to be forgotten.
So far 10 bags of ‘stuff’ has left my house, but it doesn’t really look any different yet. That means I still have too much! I have no problem weeding out old clothes or kitchen gadgets we don’t really use anymore, but anything that seems even the least bit educational is so much harder. No one wants to get rid of something only to find that it would fit perfectly with a future lesson.
I do have a couple of tips that are helping me sort through old puzzles, cabinets full of craft supplies, and board games.
Tips to Clear the Kid Clutter
Check your curriculum map
Checking your curriculum map helps you see what topics are on schedule for the rest of the year. This only takes a few minutes, but insures that I’m not donating an outer space puzzle a month before we learn about the solar system. If an item fits in with an upcoming lesson, it stays.
Many times I end up with toys, manipulatives, and craft supplies left over after teaching a unit. On a case by case basis, decide what will realistically get used and get rid of the rest.
Set it out and let your kids take over
When in doubt, let the kids lead. Left over craft supplies? Set them on the table and let the kids create. Forgotten board games? Pull a few out of the closet and see which ones get used.
Sometimes kids just forget what they have. Seeing it out in the open reminds them of an old favorite and they will start playing with it again.
Sometimes kids have outgrown old toys and supplies. If an item sits on my dining room table for a week without so much as a comment, it needs to find a new family.
Consign or sell
It is easier to let go of educational items that are no longer needed if you have the incentive of a little cash. I like to take my old curriculums and educational toys to my local homeschool consignment store. It is a win-win-win. I earn a little money, the local store owner earns a little money, and another homeschool family gets a new-to-them curriculum at a deep discount.
There are online alternatives to selling curriculum. Check out Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook groups.
Donating is a great option for quickly clearing the clutter. There are many charities that are happy to give you a receipt for your taxes in exchange for all of the things you don’t need anymore.
Many donation trucks will come right to your house to pick up donations. Right now, while in major decluttering mode, I schedule the donation truck to come by every other week. This prevents me from giving the donation bags a tour of our town while they ride around in my trunk for months.
How do you clear the kid clutter?