“What I know for sure is, when you declutter – whether it’s on your home, your head or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life and your family.” – Peter Walsh

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Let’s just be honest here for a minute. Decluttering with kids can be summed up into one word: difficult.

Have you ever tried to donate a toy that your child hasn’t played with or even seen in a few months? Yeah, not a pretty sight.

One thing that was very important to me when we started taking steps to living a more simple life was to include my daughter in the process. I didn’t just want to change my life. I wanted to change hers too.

It hasn’t been easy. She has put up a lot of resistance to embracing minimalism and decluttering our home.

You may also enjoy: How To Donate Stuffed Animals from Smart Parent Advice

There have been moments where I have contemplated just doing it myself and not explaining one more time why we are choosing to do this and what decluttering means. But, we have kept going.

We have continued to bring her along with us and I am so happy we have. I have started to see changes in her that make my heart smile.

She has started not asking for something every time we go to a store. She has started treating her toys and possessions with more care and respect. Her imagination has started shining through even more then before.

It has been amazing to witness.

If you have little ones, like me, and want to start living a more simple and minimalistic life, I want to share a few of the ways that I have included my daughter in this process and how we have helped her understand what we are doing!

1. Let them have a say about their things.

This is a big one for us which is why I put it as number one. Instead of just getting rid of things while your little one is asleep or at school, let them help you and have an opinion. Now, this doesn’t mean you will always agree with them. But if they are having a hard time parting with a book you know they don’t read, that’s okay.

Give them some time and keep working with them about decluttering. Giving them a voice when it comes to their possessions will make the process a lot easier and make them feel more comfortable with the changes.

2. Talk to them about minimalism and decluttering.

We have slowly started explaining what minimalism is, why it is something we are choosing to do and what decluttering means. We have had so many really wonderful conversations about embracing this way of life.

I have found that the more we talk about it, the more excited she is about it and the more interested she is in the process and the concept. She has even started doing it on her own!

3. Have them help you donate items and talk about what that means.

Similar to number one, include your kids in taking your items to donation bins, Goodwill or any place else you decide to donate them. My daughter loves helping get the bags in the bin and helping me carry everything to the car.

One thing I always try to do is explain to her what it means to donate things from your home. I want her to see that there are people who don’t have as much as we do and can really use that blanket or pair of shoes. Including her in this has opened her eyes to the way others live and is teaching her to be grateful for what she has.

4. Be patient with them.

Patience is key and probably the hardest thing to do on this list. Your little ones will not be on the same page or step as you and that is okay. Try not to get frustrated with them and let them get used to the changes you are making.

I found at first, it was quite overwhelming for my daughter. We were truly changing our lifestyle and she wasn’t sure what to do with it. Once I backed off some and let her understand it in her own time, I could see that she was able to be more comfortable which made all of us relax and embrace minimalism.

5. Read books about minimalism and simple living with them.

There are a few books that you can read with your little ones about minimalism and simple living. Embracing the simplicity in life is what this whole process is about and books have always been a great way to teach and introduce concepts to my daughter. Here are a few options for you to check out:

The Perfectly Orderly House by Ellen Kindt Mackenzie

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau (truly amazing book!)

Too Many Toys by David Shannon

The Biggest House In The World by Leo Lionni

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch & Michael Martchenko

Do you have any tips for including your kids in decluttering your home?