I’ve heard that when you have children, your life starts to accumulate things along the way.
Toys. Clothes. Hand-me downs. Arts and craft stuff. Even extra furniture. In essence, a whole heap of clutter. So what do you do when it begins to take over and you’ve no room for anything more? You sort it. Declutter it. Get rid of it. And sell it.
But if you think you don’t have the time, nor the energy or effort, or that it’s something achievable only when the kids are at school or out of the house then you may need to think again. Sorting through a garage, room or even a box of stuff doesn’t need to be a huge and stressful affair. Especially if you have children. In fact, the more you include them in the process, the easier it actually is. Not only does it teach them responsibility for their belongings and encourage them to develop a sense of responsibility in general, it is a more bearable feat for you. With a long weekend and another week of school holidays, it’s also the perfect time for some spring cleaning.
Now it doesn’t have to be a case of handing your two year old a garbage bag to fill but rather involving your children in the process of letting go of unused toys, outgrown clothes and discarded books by talking to them about what it means and how it might be of use to someone else. It may take a little longer but it will definitely be more rewarding.
So where to begin?
Sit your children down and explain to them what you’re doing before you start tossing things out and throwing them into the ‘To Sell’ box. You’ll find that once they know what’s happening they’ll be more receptive to the whole process and will probably give away more than you think.
Mother of two young girls, Naomi Merritt has joined the nationwide Garage Sale Trail after realising that her two backyard sheds were overflowing with unwanted items but says that it was easy to involve her daughters in the process.
“Astrid and Zara have been part of a garage sale before and so they understand the concept of getting rid of things we don’t need anymore or that someone else might want,” Naomi explains.
“We involve our children with everything, we’re a family and it’s how we operate.”
“It our family things that we’re moving on and so they get to have a choice in that.”
Something which Well Sorted decluttering expert, Virginia Wells says is important.
“Even if it’s just you sorting through items in the garage, I encourage all my clients to ensure they have the permission of the item’s owner to either donate, throw away or sell,” she says.
“If you don’t permission then have a box that you can place those items in and put to the side.”
Spending a lot of time at Tiny”s Green Shed has taught Naomi’s girls that it’s better for the environment if they can pass things on and purchase things that someone else has finished with, and believes that by encouraging Astrid (7) and Zara (4) to participate, it empowers them to understand the need to upcycle, to be part of a community and to support people who aren’t as privileged as them.
“I think it’s important they get that message right from the beginning,” says Naomi.
While the benefit of having a garage sale means that you empty your house of your unwanted wares, it doesn’t hurt to make a little extra pocket money either. Although it wasn’t a hard sell to involve her girls, Naomi says that it was Astrid’s charitable and generous offering that surprised her and her husband.
“We talked to the children about keeping the money from whatever items they sold unless of course it was an extensive amount, in which case we would split it between giving it to the girls and putting it into savings,” explains Naomi.
“But it was this that prompted my seven year old to say that she would like to donate some of her money to charity instead.”
“So we, as a family, have now agreed to donate some of the money we make from the garage sale to Karinya House.”
With everything on the table, including the kitchen sink, there is a lot of sentimental value in the sheds of the Merritt family, and so they are looking forward to seeing items go off to a new home and someone who can enjoy it just as much as they have.
“Along with the relief of having our sheds back, it’s going to make us feel good too,” says Naomi.
If you’re thinking of having a garage sale on 25 October, be sure to register it online so people know where to come. Or if you’re interested in snapping up a bargain or two you can check out the sales in your area and create a Garage Sale Treasure map of those you want to attend.
For more information head across to the Garage Sale Trail.