The beginning of the school year is always a chaotic time. Between sleep schedules, school schedules and after school sports I feel like nothing short of a continuous tornado around this time of year. One of the things that I make certain to accomplish before we all go back to consistent daily schedules is clear out the clutter that’s collected dust throughout the summer. The kids are always swimming and playing outside with the other neighbor kids they seem to forget about toys and such that they have outgrown.
Once school starts soon Christmas, and all of my children’s birthdays are February, March and April. Our house fills up with an abundance of gifts that occupy them leaving the others we already have behind to take up space.
The week before school we clean up! Broken go to the recycle bin if possible, anything that is too young for them we donate to local donation offices or drop boxes. So thankful for those drop boxes, always convenient!
We started our cleaning last week. The basement of our house (in Ohio we have basements) is a giant playroom for the children. The kids wanted to surprise me by cleaning it themselves. They organized all of their toys and books in the bookshelves, gathered all of the broken toys and sorted them as I mentioned by recycle pile, trash pile, and donation pile.
When I went downstairs I was overly excited towards them, they did such a great job. I am so proud of them for it. They were proud of themselves. I rewarded them with a trip to the ice cream place for all of their help. Encouragement and praise I feel are a much needed high priority when it comes to teaching children how to help others and the family as a unit. At the end of the day what is in the four walls of this house is all we have. Literally.
Later that evening my 6 year old son was running around frantically searching for his Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet. The first thing that pops in my head is the trash. My oldest daughter was in such a hurry to throw things in the trash that I just had a hunch. When he was having this minor meltdown I was talking on the phone to my friend in Florida and I just decided to glance in the trash can, of course I found the helmet and of course that was also our trash day so it was in the very bottom. I didn’t hang up with her and the first thing I thought of was grab the longest thing you can and get the helmet. I went for the grilling tongs. Our trash can is one of the ones someone could live in. We have it parked out in our backyard by our patio. While hanging vertically over the railing of the patio, on the phone, with my feet in the in the air, grilling tongs in hand working on retrieving the helmet, SUCCESS! I got it. All of this while laughing hysterically. It doesn’t matter what I had to do to get that for him it’s all just another story in our book.
Tips for clearing the clutter;
Sort by piles.
Donate, recycle & trash (only if it’s absolutely necessary) we try to recycle anything and everything we possibly can.
Delegating who does which section (if dealing with multiple children)
We play music and take breaks to dance and have snacks and water.
Praise, Encouragement and Thankfulness for all of the work that their little hands accomplish. When we do those things it only makes the next time that much more “fun” they think.