Mini Mission Monday ~ Declutter kids stuff

Photo credit

Mini Mission Monday is about finding at least ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering

This weeks mini missions involve just a little decluttering of the excesses that have been provided for your children over time. As a mother I know that if they have too much doesn’t always mean that it is you that has provided it all for them. Grandparents sometimes don’t know when to stop either when it comes to indulging the young ones. Uncles, Aunts and even close friends aren’t imune to a little indulgence of their nieces, nephews and adorable little acquaintances either. So this weeks mini missions involve decluttering some items, getting the kids involved  as well as making you step back and consider what will help you to avoid this problem in the future.

Monday – Choose one child’s room to declutter and take ten minutes just to take a look through the room to determine the problem areas. Choose a few obvious clutter items and remove them.
Tuesday – Remove all the hanging clothing items in the closet that are now too small, too shabby or just aren’t being used. Decide what can be donated, if anything can be sold, what should be trashed and what, if anything, you can turn into rags for cleaning.
Wednesday – Remove any toys that are broken or have missing parts and are now unusable. These toys would normally be ones the child no longer plays with because of the very reasons they are being decluttered. Dispose of any useless stuff but consider advertising the ones with missing parts on Freecycle as someone may be after just the parts you still have.
Thursday – Now that you have spent a few days sorting in this room you should be able to judge whether your child has just enough stuff or whether they have been overindulged. If you deem overindulgence to be a problem give a little thought as to who is most responsible for that overindulgence. If it is you, vow that you will be more thoughtful in the future, as you aren’t doing your child any favours by over providing for them. They can become relient on you for a lifetime to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed. If it is someone else indulging them find a way to encourage that person to invest the funds in the child’s education future or the like rather than give your child more than they need.
Friday – Today go through their socks, shoes and underwear and declutter anything outgrown or worn beyond use.
Saturday – I think it is now time to encourage your child to be involved in the decluttering if you haven’t already done so. Get them to choose some things from their belongings that they no longer use or enjoy. It is good to teach them at an early age to declutter unused items and to donate those items to someone in need.
Sunday – Reward your child for their efforts in cooperating in the declutter process with an uncluttering treat. Perhaps take them out for ice-cream or the like or play ball with them at the park for an hour or two. You know best what they would find rewarding. Be sure that you aren’t tempted to bribe them ahead of the job but rather surprise them with the reward when they are done.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

Finally my Freecycle lady came to pick up the box of baseball items that hubby has been putting aside for a while. This is the first of the items and I am sure you will be tired of seeing them before I get to the bottom of this group of photos. It is a baseball card frame with only cards of Jay Buhner.

Things that made me happy, made me laugh, made me feel grateful, fascinated me or I thought were just plain awesome.

  • Driving around exploring my town.
  • Going to my local flea-market and talking to one of the young women there selling her stuff. I think I will go back next weekend and chat with a few more sellers and write a post about what they were selling and why. I will be cheeky and ask them if they are planning on replacing the stuff with more stuff and see what reaction I get.
  • Sitting by the lake, a light breeze coming off the water, a cup of coffee and someone to chat to.
  • Clearing the fridge of leftovers.
  • Hubby waking me with a cup of tea.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Memorabilia Items Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
  • Mini Mission Monday Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ This and that Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Ahhh this ties in so perfectly with my entry for today! If you don’t mind, I would love to link your entry?

  2. Ice-cream jummy! I’m sure you can get every child to unclutter something with the reward of ice-cream. The best one I ever ate was in San Gimignano, where the world champion has it’s shop. It was divine!

  3. I really like your idea of keeping the reward as a surprise until after the work is done, rather than using it as a bribe beforehand. I no longer have young children, but this would have appealed to me when I did.

    Any tips on getting a grown-up child to go through things when she is home only for a very brief time and not very often? Perhaps the only way to do is a bit at a time, like every other area.

    Also looking forward to those flea-market posts. I like to picture you with a microphone and a tape recorder, firing off questions to confused sellers, with a naughty gleam in your eye . . .!!!

    • Jo, is their stuff all contained in their former bedroom, in your own living space or in the attic?
      Do they have their own place or just a flat share?
      Is it stopping you from living in the way you want?
      I’m wondering if giving notice that you’ll be sorting and chucking gradually from specific named area from a certain date is feasable? (if you’d be prepared to do that)

      Or take out a large box of stuff from their room just prior to their visit and plonk it in fron of them and physically lift each piece out saying chuck or take back with you?

      • Good advice Katharine.

      • Great questions, Katharine. I want to tread lightly because this offspring does not come home often and has a health condition so I like to make as few demands as possible. But advance notice and helping to do it in small doses will likely work, and the results will make both of us happier. I appreciate your suggestions.

    • Hi Jo,
      I was always told that children should do things out of duty rather than for reward, and if you do reward them it should come after without expectation. I did however bribe my son not to make a fuss about starting school one year because his year before was a disaster. He made a fuss everyday for weeks and I had to deliver him the the vise principle everyday to pry him off me. Eventually one day he came home from school after a fussy morning and I told him to go to his room and that he wasn’t getting a treat for afternoon snack only a glass of water. I told him that is how it is going to be until he decided to got to school without a fuss. He never messed up again.

      My grown up daughter comes home only every now and again but I give her a box of stuff to go through every time she comes. I know what I am going to give her to sort through before she arrives and she complies quite willingly. She does read my blog quite often though so she knows that it is important to me to deal with her stuff when I ask.

      I had to laugh at your imaginations of me at the flea-market. You are getting to know me too well I think.

  4. Now that is a very difficult mini mission monday! I have a 3 year old and a 1 one year old. I don’t know how to declutter their excessive toys! I have done it once and forbade (sttrong word, but had to be) people to give them any more toys. But they want to give toys, and they kept coming. I’ll start with the one in one out. Now, I only buy toys on special ocasions (birthday and Christmas), but I have over indulged. I’ll follow the steps, but it may take a bit of learning for me and then for the kids. 😀

    • Hi Andreia,
      twice lately in conversation I have said that when you are trying to teach anyone something you have to explain not only how to do it but why it is important to do it that way. It is no different with children so as they grow explain to them why it is important not to overindulge. Also try to explain to the people that keep insisting on buying them toys why it is important to you that the children aren’t overindulged and they may be more receptive.

      Just like the decluttering one little step at a time works for making changes no matter what the subject. Good luck sweetie! Being a parent is not an easy task and it is far easier on the outside looking in than when you are the one trying to do the right thing. I made plenty of parenting mistakes but I know my kids love me and they know I love them and that is what is the most important.

  5. How do I get my 21 year old DD who is an out and out pack rat to declutter her pit ? any suggestions gratefully received

    • Hi Cathryn,
      speaking from experience you can’t get a 21 year old young woman to do anything they don’t want to. My daughter happily declutters the things I ask her to when she comes home to visit but I know that her room is a cluttered disheveled mess at her Grandmother’s house where she lives. Like I said to Andreia, don’t just ask her or demand that she declutters explain why it is important to you and why she should think it is important to her. Owning a lot of stuff is not a problem and to some people they are happy that way however not keeping the stuff in an orderly state screams laziness and disorganisation not only of the clutter but of their time management skills. Past the age of eighteen I feel that they are now living in a home not as a child but as a contributing adult member of a community and they should be respectful of the people providing them shelter. Trying to find a way to explain that to a 21 year old can be a challenge though as I well know but that is what you need to do. Sometimes when you have these sorts of discussions with young adults they will show all signs of rejecting your opinions and feelings but they go away with a thought planted in their heads and if left to consider what has been calmly explained to them they will come around in the end.
      Offering to help with the task also helps because sometimes they just don’t know where to begin. Use the 365lessthings approach and ask them to declutter one small area at a time. If they see that the task is easily managed it may just inspire them to continue with less prompting.

      • Good advice, Colleen, for me as well.

        You’re right when you say young adults may look like they’re not open to your opinions but given time they may subtly change how they do things.

        • Hi Jo,
          unfortunately it is usually after they leave home so we don’t get to benefit from it but better late than never. Ultimately we have done our job I suppose.

  6. Those tips are great, thank you! I am visiting your site for the first time but I will definetely be back (hopefully after having de-cluttered my daughters room 🙂 )

    • Hi OLS,
      thank you for dropping by to check out my blog and I am looking forward to having a little time to explore yours too. I extend to you a warm welcome and hope you enjoy what you find here. Good luck with the de-cluttering task in your daughters room.

  7. Hi Colleen. Kids clutter is the hardest clutter to get under control in my house. We’ve made huge strides over the past several weeks, but there is still more to declutter. My oldest son (six) is attached to many of his toys and has just recently started parted with some things. It’s made a huge difference! We were able to get a LEGO table out of our dining room and put it in his room. It’s progress!

    • Hi Jenny,
      good for you! Any progress is good progress and now if you just restrict the amount of stuff coming in you will find it easier to keep under control in the future.

  8. Looks like I’m off the hook this week 😉 But I missed 3 days of last week’s mini missions, so I can revisit those. I have a busy week this week any way!

  9. This is very good advice, Colleen. When my son was growing up, we’d periodically declutter his room together throughout the year, especially if I was planning a garage sale. I would entice him to get rid of some things by reminding him that whatever he sold would be replace with money that he could use. He would price his items and set up a small table with a money box so he could handle his own sales. Sometimes he would also make cookies and lemonade to sell. He was very excited about the money he would make from selling his unused/outgrown possessions, so it became that much easier to get him to declutter. This was also a great tool in teaching him money skills. Another strategy I used with toys was to limit the toys in circulation. Some toys would be put away for three months or so, then put back into circulation to replace another batch. When the toys were brought out from storage, it was like getting new toys and kept boredom from settling in. That was also a good time to declutter outgrown/unloved/broken toys. Now when he visits, I’ll ask him to go through one of his “boxes”. It’s funny, but some of the things I think should be kept for sentimental reasons (mine, I suppose), he has no interest in keeping, while other things I consider junk, he decides to keep. Sometimes it seems that he has an easier time decluttering than I do! 🙂

    • hi Di,
      great comment! You used some great strategies with your son and taught him some valuable lessons while he was growing up. I did the same things with my kids when it came to having garage sales, they loved being involved and were happy to declutter their stuff in the hope of raising some extra pocket money. They loved playing shop keeper on the day too.
      I find also that my children are prepared to declutter things that I would have thought held more sentiment to them.