As a mom trying to maintain a sense of order and a decent amount of cleanliness around my house, I can get pretty frustrated and down right angry over the stuff that my children leave all over the house: shoes under the coffee table, jackets on the kitchen table, notebooks on the island. With four children, the amount of stuff left behind can feel overwhelming and it can turn me into a screaming mimi to get it decluttered especially when my kids know better. clutter
I don’t want to be like this. I want to be a calm parent that loves my children even when they are a mess. I want to teach them to pick up after themselves in a sane and productive way. And I want to guide them into a better way to live in community with others.
And then one day it came to me…the Dollar Buy Back concept.
I cleared out a shelf in the kitchen cabinet over my desk and deemed it the Dollar Buy Back. I then calmly and methodically walked around my house picking up the stuff left behind by my children the day before. I grabbed several pairs of shoes, a fleece, someone’s hairbrush, and a couple of water bottles and peacefully placed them on the Dollar Buy Back shelf. I then closed the cabinet doors. Viola! My house was picked up, I didn’t feel like the maid, and a lesson in responsibility was about to land in a powerful way.
As each child came into the kitchen frantically looking for their stuff, I was able to calmly tell them that everything was safe and sound, tucked away in the Dollar Buy Back.
Dollar Buy Back? What’s that?
The Dollar Buy Back is the new place created for things you’ve left behind.
As they rushed to the cabinet to reclaim their stuff, I let them know that it was going to cost them.
Each item in the Dollar Buy Back will cost you a buck. If you want your shoes, you’ll need to pay me a dollar to get them back. If you don’t have any money right now, it’s no problem. Your stuff will be safe until the end of the month when you get your allowance. I’ll put everything from the Dollar Buy Back out on the dining room table then and you can collect it then. I’ll subtract your Dollar Buy Back total from your allowance before I pay you. If you choose not to collect your stuff, someone else can buy it. Anything left over, must not be important so it will be thrown away.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone.
Yelling and clutter are much improved. And as a perk, when they do leave stuff around, I have extra money for coffee.
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach