Dear K & K: My daughter has lots of various collections in her bedroom that she’s accumulated over the years. It’s cluttering everything up. Any ideas on how to cull kids’ collections? Signed: Mayhem in Manhattan

Dear Mayhem: Collections happen because they make us happy. We don’t accumulate things because they make us miserable. They might end up doing so later. But in the moment that we bring them into our lives, they make us joyful. Sometimes each unit in the collection reminds us of a place, a triumph, or a person. There’s so much talk about decluttering — ourselves included — that we forget the integral part of WHY we collected so many things in the first place.

First, tell them the reason you want to cull their collections, whatever it may be. It’s their stuff and they’re people too. They have a right to know a “Why” behind this exercise. Next, there are two main ways to cull kids’ collections — or actually anything — with kids. You can either ask them to pick out 10-20 favorite items from a collection and you’ll donate the rest or ask them to pick out 10-20 items they want to discard. For us, the former way is the easiest with kids. They’re so focused on what they’re keeping that they forget the losers are taking a long trip off of a short pier.

Finally, there’s a third way to cull collections. It’s just slower. My son’s bunny collection is technically out of hand but I know it brings him great comfort. The photo above is but a sampling of it all. He has about two overstuffed hampers. So, I pick my battles. BUT, every so often, I ruthlessly cull an unloved stuffed animal with the goal of getting it down to one bin eventually. If you’re worried about them noticing and having a meltdown, hide it for a while. See if they notice. Always use black garbage bags. They’re the organizational equivalent to spy agency’s black sites. Ha! Hope that helps. All Our Best: Katie & Kelly

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