Does your daughter’s bedroom look like the clearance section of your local dollar store? Kids have a knack for accumulating too much stuff—and then pitching fits when Mom and Dad suggest parting with any of it. So how can you help your tween learn to declutter her room willingly and wisely? Ask her these five key questions.
Does it still work?
What kind of shape is this item in, truly? For example—Is it broken? It could be her favorite flashlight in the universe, but a broken flashlight is no flashlight at all. Or she might just LOVE that totes adorbs sweater from two years ago but if she can’t fit it over her head anymore—it’s time to let go. Encourage your child to reasonably assess each item according to its usefulness. If it doesn’t work—you can almost always release it.
Does it have sentimental value?
Some things can be broken or useless but still retain high value simply because of their emotional attachment, and that’s fine. Allow your daughter a limited number of sentimental “keeps”—or consider buying a special keepsake container for preserving items of personal but not functional value.
Do you need it or want it?
“Needs” must stay whether your daughter likes it or not, such as her underwear, her retainer, the backpack she take to school every day. Needs, however, are not typically the cause of clutter. Chances are most of a tween’s room is filled with stuff she claims she “wants.” In which case, we need to ask—how much do you really want it? Which leads us to our next question.
If you didn’t have this item, what would you spend to get it?
Ten dollars? Twenty dollars? 50 cents? If your daughter insists she wants to keep that stack of Highlights magazines but admits she wouldn’t actually fork over any of her hard-earned allowance money to buy it brand new, then the truth is she does NOT want the magazines as much as she says she does. Help her to see that, and you just might have a shot at clearing out half her room without arguments.
Who would be blessed to have this?
Decluttering is a wonderful opportunity to inspire a heart of giving. Ask your daughter to consider who else might be blessed to receive what she has an opportunity to give away. Perhaps a neighbor child, a younger cousin, or a local thrift store would be delighted to receive your used items as new treasures.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Armed with these five questions—and a few hefty trash bags—tweens can learn to appreciate the process of decluttering. Good stewardship of earthy possessions will help develop a sound focus on eternal values. And that’s a reward far lovelier than a clean bedroom.