Ask a House Cleaner, Permission to Toss, Savvy Cleaner

Permission to Toss – House Cleaning Closure

Permission to toss my kids old toys? “Why do I need permission to toss? I paid for them.” Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says when you ask permission of your kids, it gives them closure. 

In today’s Ask a House Cleaner hoarding prevention tips we make it okay to recycle. Give kids their own “donate bucket” and let them get rid of old toys. Give them permission to toss. Once the bucket is full, take the stuff to Goodwill. 

If your kid is too attached ask them item by item: “Can I throw them away?” These organization tips will turn your kids into a savvy cleaner.
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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Permission to Toss, Lego Tree HouseQuestion: Permission to Toss – House Cleaning Closure

 Now, today’s question comes from a mom. She is cleaning out her son’s bedroom, now that her son has gone back to school. She wants to know … “he’s got all these Lego creations that he hasn’t used in several years. Can I throw them away?” 

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Answer: Permission to Toss – House Cleaning Closure

That’s a lovely question. “Can I throw them away?” The answer to that is, I don’t know. Can you? 

Permission to Toss, Permission QuestionPermission to Toss

Now, whenever we are ready to throw things away in the name of organization there’s a question we have to ask ourselves and it’s this. “Besides myself, who do I need permission from in to throw these things away?”

Now the answer to this question is you need to ask your son. Because if you throw away the Legos and he’s not done with them, he’s going to come in and think that you stole his stuff. And you’re going to create animosity that doesn’t need to exist.

It’s the Parent’s That Can’t Let Go Permission to Toss, broken doll

It’s usually the parents that can’t get rid of the stuff. Kids are done with stuff long before the parents. The parents spent a lot of money on those toys. They’re like, “Well, if I spent all this money on these toys, you’re going to use them and you’re going to enjoy them for a long period of time.” 

Kids interest in toys and items and gifts, gadgets and gizmos lasts from three, six, and nine months. It goes in a pattern. Depending on what it is, their interest span will range in that window. 

After three months, they’re done with their new toy for the rest of their life. And as a parent, you spent an enormous amount of money on it. “So, help me you’re going to enjoy this and you’re going to leave it on your desk for years.”

Not necessary. So, who besides yourself do you need to ask? Do you need to give yourself permission to get rid of those Legos?

Ask Permission to Toss or Recycle or Save 

Permission to Toss, Lego House

If you’re ready as a parent, now you need to have a conversation with your kid. “Are you ready to get rid of these Legos?”

If your kid says, “No. I’d like to hang on to them,” then you need to ask your kid, “How long do you want to hang on to them?” 

When you give them that question, they have to stop and say, “Well, I don’t know. I’d like to hang on to them for one more year.” 

“Okay, great. At the end of the year, then we will get rid of them.”

Permission to Toss, Lego parent and kidsPermission to Toss or Sell

You might consider giving them an option because Legos are popular. Legos are not going out of style. They were popular twenty years ago and they will be twenty years from now. There will always be kids building and creating inventions.

If he wants to save those, you can box them up now. Put them in the storage unit, the attic, or the garage, or the basement, or a closet. Label them for delivery back to him twelve or fifteen years from now.

If he agrees to sell them, put them on and give your son the money so he can buy something new that he wants. 

This trains him to recycle items he no longer wants and isn’t using instead of hoarding them. 

Before Purging Get Permission to Toss 

Permission to Toss, How long to keep Question

So, there’s a conversation that needs to be in place before you toss any item that anyone in your family is using. 

If you yourself are using it and you are the sole decision maker, toss it. No questions asked. If there’s someone else in the house that’s using that item, ask them, “How long do you want to hang on to this item?” 

Now, in the organizational space, there’re lots of families that have a little bucket. The bucket is outside the bedroom door.

Permission to Toss, empty bucketEmpower Family Members to Recycle

Whenever your kid is done with an item, never going to play with it again, have them put them in the donate box. This gives you as the mom permission to come along at any time and empty out the basket. You can take it to the goodwill, or give it to people in the church. You can donate it wherever you see fit. 

Don’t just toss things because you’re the mom and you want to toss them. Toss them because you’ve had a conversation and cleared it with the family members using the items.

Create Life Long Habits EarlyPermission to Toss, Recycle Logo

 If the kid participates in recycling his own stuff, he gets closure on saying goodbye to that thing. 

If your kid is not involved, and his items mysteriously disappear, he’ll have a tendency to hang on to future items with dear life.

“Well, I wasn’t ready to give that away yet.” This is hoarding mentality.

Don’t hold on tighter to stuff you don’t use. Stuff cycles through our life in an organic pattern. So, you want to train your family in the concept of recycling. 

When you’re done with this item, it goes in the donate bin. It’s very simple. 

Permission to Toss, more gifts - need to make roomEasy Come Easy Go

Recycling stuff is crucial to household organization. Because every birthday, every Christmas, every holiday, you get more stuff.

If you’re going to get more stuff, you’re going to have to say, goodbye to some stuff. 

You have to let go of some stuff, because if you just keep consuming and you’re not recycling then you will become a hoarder against your will. All right, so, can I throw this out? My suggestion is you can but ask the family members first, “Who’s using this stuff?” and get their permission to toss. 

Alrighty, so, that’s it for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

Clutter Free –

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season –

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing –

What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You: Uncover the Message in the Mess and Reclaim Your Life –

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up –

How ADHD Affects Home Organization: Understanding the Role of the 8 Key Executive Functions of the Mind. –

Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home. –

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own –

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life –

Simplify –

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