Today my youngest sister overheard us discussing minimalism with my mom. She has been watching us remove truckloads of donations to centers in the area and the more positive moods that have been adopted recently. When sorting and decluttering in my mom’s house, she confronted us. “When are we going to do my room?”
We all know that it’s easier to go through an area when there’s interest in doing so. We also know that a 10-year-old can change her mind every 6 seconds, so we decided to act on it while we had the chance.
Like most American kids, a preteen at that, she took interest in something and requested a thousand accessories for it. Soon after, she would realize that it had become saturated and overwhelming and move on to the next thing. Doing this creates a lot of clutter. Fast.
All of this clutter piles stress on top of the stress from other areas in her life. If there is anything you want to avoid, it would be over-stressing a confused, full mood-swinging preteen. We could reduce that stress level, but some of the stuff would have to go.
The room was absurdly clutter with things like
- Arts & crafts
- Lego’s and Lego’s sets
- A million Loom bands
- Stuffed animals
- Mounds of papers and pictures
- American girl dolls & accessories
- Overabundance of pillows & blankets
…and so much more. What’s worse is the fact that she kept hauling in furniture to house all of this stuff. She was heading down the road to consumerism and materialism and we were ecstatic that she decided to make an effort toward minimalism.
The most difficult task when minimizing the stuff of a preteen, is having them be honest about their need of something. Everything is a necessity until they are asked “why?”.
Though, once she understood that not only did she not need most of the stuff, she also didn’t truly want it. Many things were easily trashed or donated without much hesitation at all. However, we eventually hit a wall. She was no longer motivated and we had over stayed our welcome. Had we followed my original set of guidelines, I think we would have had seen much more progress. But alas, that will have to be saved for another day.
In the end, Hailey was very open-minded and was able to rid herself of quite a bit of clutter. We were also able to give nearly everything a home, and allow her room to be much more open (we’ll see how that holds up).
How about you? Have you dealt with children, preteens, or even teenagers to help them understand minimalism? Have you had similar difficulties as Hailey did? Please share your experiences in the comments below.