We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have,
but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
1. I work WITH my 16 year-old son and my 14 year-old daughter. Fortunately, they have both inherited my crazy gene... the "less is more" gene. My daughter loves cleaning out, but my son? No, he doesn't say, "Let's clean my room Mom!" I make HIM sit, tell him if her cooperates the torture will be over soon, and then I ask him 100 questions, "Do you want this still?" "Do you need this for school anymore?" "Does this fit you?" * I will tell him to do specific things.."Go through that drawer and take out the stuff you don't use." I make him try things on...torture but oh well. I sort through everything.
2. My 6 year-old and 11 year-old sons (I have been telling everyone my son is 10 for an entire year, and he is really 11...is that some sort of psychological-denial issue I have?), they are at the age where their room gets messy REALLY fast, and where they want to keep EVERYTHING. I go through their room the first time while they are at school. I do a thorough purge...almost all garbage really, and a few things I just know they will never miss. But if I asked, they might say, "Oh yeah, I want that!" Really? You want a half-eaten-by-the-dog-Nerf ball? I don't think so. BUT I do leave things I would love to get rid of but know I must ask first, just in case. I bring them in the next day or so, one at a time, and we go through things together...lots of questions, trying on clothes, asking if they like things, if they fit, if they will ever be worn*. I ask them to help me organize things, so they can learn, and also so they know how refreshing an organized room is vs. a messy one...they need to see that before and after process.
3. All my kids have special places to keep things. They each have a large "treasure box" where they keep mementos...a good place to throw that special rock, or some little object they love. These are left down and easily accessible. If they have a larger collection of something, (Pokemon cards, stuffed animals) I put those things in some type of container. I also have a large plastic container for each child called a "scrapbook box". These contain everything from first shoes, to special drawings, baby blankets, old journals, that type of thing. These are up in a closet and not very accessible...but they will often request that special things are put in their boxes.
4. On hand-me-downs: I have four boys, but there is a 14 year span between youngest and oldest....SO I keep some things, others I know it won't last. I have piles of khakis, blazers, dress shoes, uniforms, sports stuff, dress shirts, ties, and belts...all things that won't go out of style. Some things can make it to the next in line, some just end up looking too junky. I keep everything in a separate container or drawer, in my middle son's closets, which are roomy. I have a sports drawer, a shoe container, a uniform container, and a seperate section for the dress things. When they were all younger, I had the big plastic containers labeled and stacked in the basement according to size.
*While I am with the kid's sorting through and organizing their closets, I keep a notebook with me, so I can jot down who needs what for spring/summer. Do they have dress shoes that fit? In need of a couple fresh t-shirts or a new pair of shorts or swim trunks? This way I know what to keep my eye out for or what to get for birthdays with no excess.