First thing you have to remember when downsizing your kid's stuff is that it's not your stuff, it's theirs. They have to be a part of the process and you are there to help. Even though our daughter was only two when we did our major downsizing, she still had a say as to what stays and what goes. With her we didn't necessarily ask her what she wanted or not, but we started to pay attention to what she played with most and what were her favorite things. Sometimes if she had two of something, or two similar items, we asked her which one was her favorite between the two. From this careful attention of her play and simple choice questions we were able to make clear decisions of what stays and what goes for her. Here are some more tips for downsizing with kids especially the older ones.
1. Be an example: Don't start with your children's stuff, start with yours. By going through your own stuff first they see what you are doing, and that it's not so scary. Let them help you put your stuff in piles. Get them involved. It's a great way to get them ready to go through their stuff.
2. Favorites aside first: Find out what their absolute favorite items are first. What they are not willing to part with at all. Put that aside and assure them it will not go anywhere. Keep your promise and help them build trust in you and the process.
3. Respect their decisions: Even if your kids want to keep something you don't like, remember it's not up to you. These are their things and you don't want the downsizing process to scar them for life. If they want to keep something that is broken set it aside and go back to it later. Sometimes it just takes a little time to realize they won't want to play with something that doesn't work.
4. Give them alternatives and compromise: Sometimes holding onto stuff that you don't really need comes from fear. The same goes with kids. Downsizing is a lot of change to handle even for adults, so make sure that you give them alternatives. "If we give this away then we will have more room for this...If we sell this then you will have money for this...etc." Explain that owning less will make more room for other things like vacations, special nights out, or that really expensive special something that they have wanted for a long time. Compromise a different toy for that broken one.
5. Take it slow: If at any point during this process your kids seem to have had enough, take a break. That break could be a couple hours, or a few days. Either way don't rush it. Rushing will only make you all hate the process and regret your decisions. Take it slow with them and with yourself.
Want tips on downsizing your stuff? Check out this previous post!
If you have any tips or advice on downsizing with kids please share in the comments below. I know there are lots of things we haven't even thought of.