Now that the kids are back in school it’s a great time to streamline their rooms. Children are much more likely to keep them neat if they don't have constipated drawers and closets. Parents have to be the laxative here, because kids can't do it alone, it’s too overwhelming to them. You may or may not have heard my warning: KIDS GROW QUARTERLY.
It needs to be a bumper sticker to remind parents that the reason their kids’ rooms are a mess is because they haven’t been culling quarterly. (I like to think that God made seasons as a sign for parents to go through their children’s clothes every three months.)
As we embark on a new calendar quarter that should mean as much to parents of growing children as it does to Boeing Inc. I received an email from a very shocked mom telling me about being at her wit’s end with an eight-year-old son. She said she and her husband had HAD it and they made a drastic move! They gutted his room (including the closet and dresser drawers) of everything but the clothes that were currently in the laundry (in other words the clothes the child was actually wearing on a regular basis), every toy except for a collection of small Army men the child played with regularly and every book except for one his father was currently reading to him each evening before bed. They left just a bed, a table with a lamp on it, an empty bookshelf and a dresser with the clean laundry in it. (It sounded like the description of a prison room to me.) They took the twenty garbage bags of belongings to the attic. They expected this event would be a punishment, but to their surprise, the child saw it as relief!
Here’s the deal; let’s say you have a five-year-old and here it is October 17 the gateway to fall. That adorable, sleeveless white dress with the pink piping trim and embroidery done by hand, still fits her as do her fashionable bathing suit that Grandma bought her when she was in Cancun, the shorts, tank tops and sandals in every color and the silky nighties. They probably would still fit the child well into winter although they’d start to hurt and the child would tend to be cold running around in the snow in shorts and a tank top. BUT it’s fall now and ALL the summer clothing is out of season and by next summer when it’s back in, your five-year-old will be six and into a bigger size. So buck up and have the courage to face that cute baby porpoise on the bathing suit and say, “Goodbye, it’s been fun, but it’s time for you to move on.”
Relief is just a trip to Goodwill away. Bag up every shirt, sock, shoe, coat, pair of jeans, underpants, pajamas, slippers, bathrobe, swim suit (see even this sentence is getting cluttered) that don’t fit, from your kids’ drawers. Also take everything that is out of season and head out to Goodwill. Goodwill will thank you and so will your kids.