“And that’s how one-third of my closet ended up at the Goodwill, children.”
That’s me, literally every time we PCS.
I’m, honestly, pretty great at getting rid of EVERYTHING when we move.
My kids, not so much.
Even with just 2 small children, the amount of clothes, toys and books is astounding. The next time we PCS, I’ll be looking for them to help me out, using these tips.
8 Ways Your Kids Can Pitch In During Your PCS Purge
Throw Away Everything That Is Broken, Damaged or Missing Pieces
Kids break stuff, misplace pieces and lose interest. Before you start any sort of declutter, go through all the stuff your kids have together. Weed out everything busted, down a few bits or boring. This means kid’s meal toys, dried out markers, chunky Play-Doh and cars with only one wheel.
Then get a big trash bag and put it all in.
Regift Your Old Toys to Younger Children
Kids grow out of toys, it’s true. Instead of just shoving all the old toys in a bag at midnight, let your kids share the love to younger kiddos.
With your children, go through their stash and talk about which toys they are too big for now. Make a list of younger children you know. Try to match toys to children.
Then use up your leftover gift wrap and deliver the toys. Be sure to check with each child’s respective parents first.
Donate Gently Used Books to Your Local Library
Like toys, children can age out of books. Of course, there are the sentimental favorites that your kids will always want to hang on to. All of those other books can hit the road.
Instead of just trashing them, check with the local library or your children’s schools and teachers. Libraries usually hold annual book sales to raise money. Schools, and especially teachers, always need extra books. So drop off a few boxes!
Have a Mini-Closet Purge
This one’s for the girls (although, boys are totally welcome)! As you are going through your closet, have your daughter(s) go through their doll clothes. To make it even more fun, be super enthusiastic about watching the Barbie fashion show!
Figure out which shoes are missing partners, any buttons that are busted and if any Velcro has lost its grip. All of these can go in the trash bag.
Host a Clothing Swap with Other Parents
Get together with your other parent friends and swap out those clothes. This is great for you and the kids. With littler ones, you can lead the charge to declutter the closet.
For older children, have them help you. Do a fashion show together to check what fits or what your kiddo doesn’t like anymore.
Then host a party to do the actual swapping. Organize the clothes by size and/or gender, set out some appetizers and drinks, then go to town! Everyone walks away with new-to-you clothes. Everything left over goes to charity.
Decide to Keep Only Your Favorites
For those with stuffed animal (or any other kind of toy) overload, make decluttering into a game. Toss everything out into the middle of the room, turn on some tunes and dance like crazy. When the music stops, grab a stuffed animal and decide if it’s a favorite. Have your child explain why s/he likes it so much. Favorites go back on the bed or into the toy box. Everything left on the floor gets donated.
Create a Schoolwork Photo Book
School aged kids come home with reams of papers and projects and just stuff. Some of it is valuable, but most of it is not. Do some prep work throughout the school year by getting rid of the junk as you go.
For things that you or your child love, but don’t want to drag all over creation, take a photo or scan it. Later, pick your absolute favorites and order a photo book for the school year. A slim photo book is easier to bring with you than that living museum display.
For everything else, pick up an artist’s portfolio with pockets. Label each pocket with a year and stash a few of the best artwork and schoolwork in there.
Let your child lead the charge on which items to scan, trash or stash. Definitely put in your two cents and keep some of your own favorites.
Organize a Yard Sale
For older kids, let them pick items to sell at a yard sale. And then let them keep the money. Seriously, that’s it. Be sure to highlight the fact that selling more things could equal more money.
They can use the money for ANYTHING once you get to the new duty station. A little parental nudge encouraging them to not spend the money on more stuff is absolutely permitted.