Kids and Clutter

My client said that her son told her, "I'm so overwhelmed!"

Her son is ten. The floor of his room was covered with lego pieces, boxes and fully constructed models. His toy guns were on top of his dresser, also on the floor, and piled in a corner. These were mixed in with Star Wars toys, plastic soldiers, stuffed dolls, board games, nintendo, cards, posters, and books. It looked like the back store room of a toy store.

There's a threshold that's reached for all of us when there are too many things. The mind doesn't have a limit. It keeps wanting things. But on a physical living level, we can't process all the things we have in our life and we start to shut down.

This is the case for kids as well as adults. I've worked with a lot of clients whose kids are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in their lives. They often have a day care center's amount of things to play with. Kids especially don't know when they are full and have too many things. But they suffer under the negative effects.

I remember as a kid having a couple of board games, a few G.I. Joes, and a half-dozen hot wheels. I would trade off playing with them. Or I would play outside with friends, or go to their house and play. There were also only three TV channels and no cell phones. Because there was less, I think it was easier to be a kid.

I told my client that even though there were more things available now, she could limit what comes into her son's life. She could do this by buying less toys for him, and by telling family members to give less toys as gifts. He may want more toys, but she would by kind to him by reducing.

I talked with her about clutter busting with her son. I told her I do this with my girlfriend's son. Every once in a while, I help him go through his toys. I ask him which toys he still likes playing with, and which ones he doesn't. I keep the process light. I stay curious so he doesn't feel like I'm there to take his things. I want to see what he's interested in. She could help her son in the same way.