If you are following my 12 Days to Less Minimalism Challenge, you should be feeling a bit lighter (and perhaps a bit frustrated) right now. The last few days of this challenge are the hardest, as you have to work harder to find enough items to donate. The good news is, you have some good donating muscle memory built up from those early days. Yes, the donating habit is taking root in your psyche!
If you’re new to the challenge, here’s the gist: for the first 12 days of December, find unused items in your home you can donate. Give away one item on December 1st, two items on December 2nd, three items on December 3rd, and so on. When you reach December 12th, you’ll have given away 78 items! It’s a minimalist twist on the 12 Days of Giveaways that are popular this time of year, and a good way to declutter and do some good for those in need before the holidays.
Today is Day 8, and this is where it got really hard for me last year! I’m a person who regularly donates, and I consider myself a minimalist, so I don’t have that much stuff to begin with. Giving away an item or two the first few days was easy, but when I got to these bigger days, I struggled! This year, I anticipated this, so I enlisted the help of my favorite donaters… my kids.
Yesterday when my kids came home from school, they found this box waiting for them:
My daughter had gone through her toys a couple weeks ago, but I knew my boys needed a good pre-Christmas purge.
Here’s a pic of my boys sorting through their toys.
My kids are used to sorting through their toys for donations, especially this time of year. They know that Santa can’t bring them new gifts until they donate some toys they no longer play with. They’re actually pretty good at this and don’t bat an eye when I ask them to find donations. This is good news for those of you with kids–yes, you can teach them the donation habit! And they will be better at it than you think!
My only caveat: no judgment. If you tell them they can decide, let them decide. You will shoot yourself in the foot if you try to force them to give away items they aren’t ready to part with… or try to convince them to keep things you think they should keep. This is their choice. (And yes, I have plucked things out of the donation box to save because I knew they might regret it later. I’m a parent after all… I gotta have some tricks!) They might not give away much the first time you do this, but the more you practice, they’ll get better at it and learn that giving away items is a good and natural thing to do.
After about 20 minutes of sorting their dress-up clothes and toys, my boys came up with this box of donations.
- 4 hats
- 4 bandannas
- 1 construction vest
- 1 Lite Brite
- 1 beanbag
- 5 Matchbox cars
- 5 remote control cars
- 1 marble maze
There are more than 8 items in this box, and that’s great! I’m still going to count this as Day 8 and find more items for tomorrow.
So whaddaya say?Are you up for the challenge? Do you have family members you could involve? I bet you do! Even if you are coming late to this challenge, feel free to join in and catch up with us! You can do it, and I guarantee, you’ll be glad you did.
Rose Lounsbury is the Dayton, Ohio area’s up-and-coming professional organizer. She also makes her kids regularly donate their unused toys, and none of them have sought therapy… yet. After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. If you’d like Rose’s help with an organizing project at your home or office, please call her at 937-626-9030, email her at [email protected], or visit her online at OrganizeWithLess.com.