The girls and I cleaned their room today. They decided what to keep out, what to pack away, and what to give away/throw away. I held up each item and asked, “What do you want to do with this?” They would answer, “Keep it out,” “Pack it away,” or “Give it away.” It’s taken all day, partly because I had to take lots of baby breaks. We still have to go through all the puzzles and books.

We came up with this method because of a disagreement. My inclination is to get rid of stuff I think they don’t need and won’t miss. Charlie does not like that at all. He wants the girls involved and he doesn’t want them to distrust me because I’ve been throwing their stuff away. Ultimately, this is what evolved. It’s arduous, but it has definite advantages.

I’ve been surprised at what they’ve chosen to pack away and give away. Without any prompting from me they’ve packed away more stuffed animals than they’ve kept out. They also packed away some dolls I thought they’d take to college. They packed away several larger items, like the doll house and barn, with accompanying figures and furniture. They chose to give away the toy sewing machine and the play kitchen. I did not encourage either of those choices, but didn’t discourage them either, once they’d been made.

I do hope this helps them keep their room cleaner. I need to do this in the rest of the house, too. Except I need to prohibit myself from packing things away to be dealt with later. Will it help me keep the rest of the house cleaner? I bet so!