Day 261 Decluttering with kids

A guest post by Cindy Bogard

This summer in May, I discovered Colleen’s blog and committed to a 365 decluttering on June 1. I keep myself honest (and hopefully inspire others) by writing about my journey daily on Facebook. I was already partly on my way when I discovered the 365 day challenge: I’d been doing some heavy organizing and decluttering on my own, and when my girls (8 and 10) got out of school at the end of May, I told them that we would be cleaning one area a day.

At first we were just cleaning and tidying. Perhaps one girl’s room, perhaps one of the areas they use often like the living room or their bathroom. We would certainly “move things along” if we encountered something we no longer needed, but we were neither diligent nor focused on decluttering until I took the challenge.

Since my eldest daughter’s birth, our house has been pretty shamefully messy at times – long stretches at a time. I had not always set a great example for them. Nonetheless, in beginning decluttering with them, I did start out with a few advantages:

1)   My children do not watch commercial TV, which keeps the “want its” at bay. When we do see a commercial or a toy that looks cool at the store, we discuss: 1.)What is the purpose of advertising? 2.)Are those kids really going to enjoy that as much as it seems like they are? 3.)Is this a good price for this item? 4.)Do we know anyone who has this item so that we could try it out first?

2)    We primarily shop for durable goods (clothing, furniture, accessories, etc.) at thrift and consignment stores.

3)   I do not particularly enjoy shopping, so neither of my girls considers shopping a hobby.

4)    As part of our faith, we talk about the need to give to and care for those who have less than us, and I often emphasize how fortunate we are because we have everything that we need and many, many of things that we want.

5)   I realized one day that I tell the girls (and my husband) “no” and they probably didn’t realize that I tell myself “no” too. So I got in the habit of discussing my purchases out loud with my children. Now they see that I sometimes see things that I desire and tell myself no and walk away.

If you want to get your children involved in a journey that will be lighter on your wallet, lighter on the planet and will leave more than just a path through the living room, what advantages do you bring to the table? None? Of course not!  At a minimum, I know that you bring two important things with you, things that you can build from:

1)   a desire to make do with less and

2)   a supportive community here on 365lessthings


This light glode was faulty when I recieved it I am not sure why I didn’t throw it away then but it is gone now.

Light Globe

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Day 262 Decluttering with kids Part II Motivating your Children to Declutter A guest post by - Cindy Bogard On day 261, I shared how I got ready for my decluttering journey and the ways in which I had readied my children. So […]
  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • Mini Mission ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more. With the holiday season here you will likely need every inch of spare space.
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. These are excellent ideas. My girls are 2 and 8 and we are already encouraging them to think of “less” as being a good thing. I particularly like the commercial less tv; we do that also in addition to no tv during the week, and the involving of faith. It’s important for kids to see the bigger picture of “stuff” in their lives!

    • Hi TheSimplePoppy,
      Cindy has some good ideas here and it is never too early to teach your kids the difference bewteen need and want. I was not too bad at this with my kids but I could have been better.
      They did get sick of me telling them I could make this or that better or cheaper when they were younger though.

  2. Really good point about making sure your family knows there are things you want but decide you will not get, just like they do. So true that they can’t read your mind so discussing it out loud makes it clear to them.

  3. Hey Cindy I’m not a stage where I have kids yet, but I would like to one day. I think it’s really good that you talk with your kids about advertising and wants and whether those things ultimately add happiness. I think I can see myself doing the same practice when I do have children.


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