Tips from Declutterella: Help your kids declutter

by Elena Nebreda,
August 21, 2015

Keeping things simple, prioritizing and making decisions are great skills to have for life that you can teach your children by practicing regular decluttering. One key to getting them involved is to make a game of it and let them see what they can get out of it. Having a conversation allowing them to decide which objects should go, why and what they should substitute them for is a great way to empower your children and give them room to grow. Here are some simple and effective tips:

  1. Encourage your children to take on their decluttering responsibilities. Many times adults want to impose their systems without asking children, who may have ideas for themselves. Listen and observe their reasoning and work with them. Watch them make their own decisions about what they no longer need of want.

  2. Have a donation bin or a space where they can voluntarily drop off some toys or clothes that they don’t want anymore. You will be amazed how well this works without even asking them. Give a good example and put some items you no longer want in bin!

  3. Let them have a garage sale. This excites most kids because they get to make a few dollars and interact with neighbors. Money handling, selling and negotiating are very useful things they can learn from the experience, and this will increase their sense of independence. You can even encourage them to donate their proceeds to an organization they like.

  4. Explain how some other kids can benefit from their donation. This is a great opportunity to foster a sense of caring for others, even though they may not know them or meet them. Bring your children with you to the donation center and explain how it works.

  5. Get them excited about the new materials, clothes and toys that they can get once they make room for them by decluttering the old ones. You can schedule a shopping trip at Goodwill right after the excursion to the donation center. If you ask them to get you a shopping list about what they want this will focus their attention on what they will be getting and the old items will be much more quickly forgotten.

Saying goodbye to favorite items can be especially tough for children since they haven’t gone through that many life transitions yet so be gentle and patient with them! You will see that a soft, gradual and consistent approach works much better with them than radical changes. Decluttering becomes a no big deal for them when you make it a regular habit!


Elena Nebreda is a decluttering coach at, where she helps people get rid of both their emotional and physical clutter through a relaxed process so they can make room for the life they truly want. She loves dogs, thrifstores and people.

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