Sorting, donating, recycling and up-cycling
Admittedly many of us live in excess, hence there should be room for regular clear out sessions! Challenge your household: what do we really need or in fact what do we actually use and what we can dispose of. Why not introduce your kids to this somewhat liberating and definitely stimulating exercise!
How to go about it?
Decision making – start with defining what to tackle first! Toys? Clothes? Books? Children’s furniture and random stuff? Get a box and fill it! Do not be defeated if the box ends up almost empty and your kid is defensively arguing that all toys are quintessential and must be kept forever. Sit down with them and go through a drawer together. Make three piles, one for the definite keeps, the ones to go, and the not sures. This process triggers what might be the most important step in the entire exercise, sorting!
Sorting – is such a key developmental process, activating memories and emotions – really the same applies for us adults too. Therefore, make sure that your kids have enough time for sorting and you have enough time to review the outcome calmly together. Kids love to sort things, whatever it is and according to whatever pattern seems plausible to them! I remember our two-year old daughter re-stacking about 25 toy dinosaurs in the gift shop of the Dinosaur Natural Monument (Utah, US) according to size rather than species! The joy on her face as she proudly presented her new order was rather convincing!
Recycling – from an early age these days kids are made aware of the importance of environmental protection and consequently learn about waste recycling. Go through the different waste recycling categories and ask your kids to sort the things accordingly. With some materials it may not be clear cut, so make an extra pile for them and decide later on together. Before you start sorting make sure you have enough space to store the things you want to discard until disposal. In case you need to store the items in your apartment, make sure that your kids do not have direct access to them, as it is a perfect invitation for them to reclaim the items!
Disposal – remember the national recycling regulations, not all can be disposed instantly, some items need to go to your local waste disposal location. At times, sorting takes less time than disposing, but do not despair, take your kids to the local rubbish dump, they will love it! Huge containers full with fridges, washing machines, rows of old bikes, metal stuff… all fascinating to look at!
Up-cycling – before springing the up-cycling idea to your kids, adjust the outcome to your kids’ age, likings and abilities. For the younger ones, it is the process that counts, not so much the actual outcome. Older kids become more aware of what is regarded a successful outcome, hence become more critical of their abilities which may dampen their enthusiasm, so do not introduce too much complexity, after all it is a creative activity. Also, choose your material carefully, so to avoid cuts and injuries.Generally, kindergartens and schools have a fantastic and endless pool of up-cycling ideas! Random pieces of textile become colourful garments for dolls (easily stitched together by hand), left-over socks decorated with colourful buttons become the new favourite soft toy, kitchen rolls are just perfect for impressive rockets ready for take off….and so the list continues.
Donating – there are plenty of local institutions where one can donate one’s kids’ stuff. A great way to show your kids compassion and caring. Just make sure that you familiarise yourself with the standard regulations of your charity, meaning how you have to prepare and sort the items you want to donate. It might mean additional work for you, but it is worth the effort to make sure your well-meant donation is used in the most efficient way.
The Rabbit wishes a fun sorting-session and … prepare yourself as you might pass on your favourite T-shirt to the next generation!