Admittedly, many of us live in excess hence there should be room for regular clear out sessions! Challenge your household: what do we really need or in fact, what do we actually use and what can we dispose of? Why not introduce your kids to this somewhat liberating and definitely stimulating exercise?!
How to go about it?
Decision-making – Start with defining what to tackle first! Toys? Clothes? Books? Children’s furniture and random stuff? Get a box and fill it! Do not be defeated if the box ends up almost empty and your kid is defensively arguing that all toys are quintessential and must be kept forever. Sit down with him/her and go through a drawer together. Make three piles: one for the definite keeps, the ones to go, and the undecided. This process triggers what might be the most important step in the entire exercise – sorting!
Sorting – This is such a key developmental process activating memories and emotions in children – really the same applies for us as adults too. Therefore, make sure that your kids have enough time for sorting and that you have enough time to review the outcome calmly together. Kids love to sort things – whatever it is and according to whatever pattern seems plausible to them! I remember our two-year old daughter re-stacking about 25 toy dinosaurs in the gift shop of the Dinosaur National Monument (Utah, US) according to size rather than species. The joy on her face as she proudly presented her new order was rather convincing!
Recycling – Already from an early age these days, kids are made aware of the importance of environmental protection and consequently learn about waste recycling. Go through the different waste recycling categories and ask your kids to sort the things accordingly. With some materials, it may not be clear-cut so make an extra pile and decide later on those items together. Before you start sorting, make sure you have enough space to store the things you want to discard until disposal. In case you need to store the items in your apartment, make sure that your kids do not have direct access to them as it is a perfect invitation to reclaim the items!
Disposal – Mind the national recycling regulations as not all items can be disposed of instantly and some items will need to go to your local waste disposal location. At times sorting takes less effort than disposing, but do not despair. Take your kids to the local rubbish dump, they will love it! Huge containers full with fridges, washing machines, rows of old bikes, piles of scrap metal… all fascinating to look at for the big and small!
Upcycling – Before springing the upcycling idea on your kids, adjust the outcome to your kids’ ages, likings and abilities. For the younger ones, it is the process that counts, not so much the actual outcome. Older kids are more aware of what is regarded as a successful outcome and thereby become more critical of their abilities, which may dampen their enthusiasm. It is therefore best not to introduce too much complexity; after all, it is a creative activity. Remember safety and choose your material carefully to avoid cuts and injuries.
Kindergartens and schools typically have a fantastic and endless pool of upcycling ideas! Random pieces of textiles become colorful garments for dolls (easily stitched together by hand), lonely socks decorated with colorful buttons become the new favorite soft toy and paper towel rolls are just perfect for impressive rockets ready for blast off….so the list continues.
Donating – There are plenty of local institutions to donate kids’ items to in Vienna. Charitable donations are a great way to show your kids compassion and caring. Just make sure that you familiarise yourself with the standard regulations of your charity, meaning how you have to prepare and sort the items for donation. It might cause additional work for you, but it is worth the effort to make sure your well-meant donation is used in the most efficient way.
The Rabbit wishes you and yours a fun sorting-session and … prepare yourself as you might pass on your favorite t-shirt to the next generation!
Hannah Zeibig-Walker from The Rabbit – Children’s Party Atelier is a VFN member, mother and offers tailor-made premium children’s party concepts and organization in Vienna.
The Rabbit – Children’s Party Atelier, kindly provided this post and associated pictures. www.childrensparties.at