Get Your Kids to Clean Their Closets
by Hannah Keeley
My kids’ closets (and mine, too) were spilling over with clutter and chaos, and I was DONE! I had begged and pleaded. I had set deadlines and made idle threats. I had tried every tactic known to modern motherhood. Then I decided to try a new angle.
It all started when my husband and I found ourselves in a store looking for a new carry-on piece of luggage. My current one was hanging on by a thread. Well, not only did I find a carry-on, but I also found some beautiful clothes–for me and for the kids. I couldn’t rationalize getting the kids new clothes when their closets were in such sorry shape, but it was hard to resist the great deals. That’s when I got the bright idea of purchasing the clothes as INCENTIVE! And I included myself in it!
So, here’s how my fail-proof plan played out (moms, pay very close attention)…
1. I got a nice shirt for each of the kids. So, buy one item that you KNOW they will love as incentive. You can even let them pick it out. And, moms, this works on us, too. I picked up a smokin’ Michael Kors vest for myself. Yeah, it was a bit pricey. But I actually made money off the deal. Keep reading and I’ll show you how.
2. It was Friday night. When we got home from our shopping date, I showed each one of the kids their new gift. They were so excited! But, then I hit them with THE PLAN. Because they didn’t currently have room in their closet for anything new, they had to get rid of stuff. Now, the reason this worked so well is because it was Friday night, and I knew they would want to wear their new clothes to church on Sunday.
3. Saturday morning, we made some yummy breakfast, put on some good music, and dumped all the stuff out of their closets. We took this step-by-step. All they had to do was pick through their stuff and make two piles–one for giveaway and one for keeps. For the boys, we also had a pile for throw away. And if you’ve ever raised boys, you’ll understand why.
4. By then, they were on a roll. We decided to extend it to their dressers, too. Good golly, you’ve never seen such a mess. One by one, we dumped each drawer out on the floor and went through the same process–give away and keep.
6. After that, it was time to put away the clothes. We decided what we would put where, and then started folding and putting away the clothes. As they got about 3/4 of the way through the clothes, they realized they had more than enough clothing. So, they started filtering through them again. We managed this by saying, “If I had to part with ten more shirts, which ones would I give away?” And those headed straight for the give away pile!
7. After it was all over, we had SEVEN huge black trash bags full of clothes and LOTS more breathing room. And the best part of all–they got a brand new article of clothing!! It worked. Thank the Lord. It worked!
Now, where did I get this idea? It was straight from God. Here are some important spiritual concepts to keep in mind about de-cluttering:
* God can’t pour more into our lives when they are already crammed full.
God tells us in Psalm 81:10 to “open wide our mouths so He can fill it.” Well, He can’t fill a mouth that’s already stuffed. We need to empty ourselves out so He can fill us up even more. Think of yourself like a hose instead of a bucket. His goodness and abundance is supposed to pour through us, not in us. Everyone knows what happens when water remains stagnant. It gets rotten, smelly, and putrid. Just like those cluttered closets. But when we are vessels of His providence, it just keeps flowing, like a bubbling, perpetual fountain of fresh water.
* God wants to bless His children with the finer things.
This one is kind of hard for moms. We have the tendency to put ourselves last. But the truth is that God loves to dress His kids up. I’m not saying Prada is holier than Payless. All I’m saying is that there is nothing wrong with nice things. I had a REAL hard time with this concept until I read in Isaiah 54, “I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.” When it comes to His kids, God does not skimp or cut corners. Usually, the only thing that limits His gifts is because there isn’t room for them–both in our closets and in our minds. Think about it.
* God wants us to live ordered lives.
I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” And we are called to be “imitators of God.” This means we need to usher peace into our homes instead of confusion. This isn’t some high, lofty concept for spiritual people. This is a “roll up your sleeves and dig in your heels” way of living in every area of maintenance, whether you’re talking about your finances, your health, or your closet. Confusion breeds chaos, and chaos stresses us out. Whether we like to admit it or not, stress is a choice; and that choice happens moment by moment. The basic premise here is that God loves us too much to let us live lives that are characterized by stress. He wants peace; and sometimes that has to start in a closet.
Now….want to know how I made money? I bought that Michael Kors vest for $70 (it was originally $190). Then I collected seven black trashbags of clothing, which translates to a $30 deduction per bag (depending on contents). That’s a $210 tax deduction, which more than covers the cost of the vest and gives me some much-needed breathing room. How do you like that math?
So, now it’s your turn. How are you going to create order in your home and life today? Are you going to give yourself the freedom to enjoy the finer things? Are you going to do this same process with your own kids? Please comment and let’s get the conversation going!
Hannah Keeley was once in overwhelmed mom living in a cluttered house, deep in debt, out of shape, and barely hanging on. But one day, after finding herself sobbing uncontrollably into a pile of clean laundry, she realized God has bigger and better plans for her (just like He does for each one of His children). Beginning that day, she began making changes in her life that took her from overwhelmed to overjoyed. Today, she’s helping moms do the same. Hannah, her husband, Blair, and their seven children live in Richmond, Virginia, and are having the time of their lives!
Check out Hannah’s Website Here!