Monthly Archives: March 2013

PARENT WORKSHOPS – Organizing Clutter

Mary Beth & Helen from Fragile Earth flanking Jessica from Organize by Design

Mary Beth & Helen from Fragile Earth flanking Jessica from Organize by Design

Last night, we held our first Parent Workshop. Jessica from Organize by Design came in and talked about getting toys (and clutter in general) under control. We had wine and cheese and Helen made cookies and brownies. Clive got very excited about the food!

Clive! Get away from the cookies!!

Clive! Get away from the cookies!!

We had four parents attend which is a modest amount but it worked out well because Jessica could focus on their specific needs. Here are the highlights from her talk:

1.     Minimize what you have

  • Do you have more than one of a toy?
  • Look at the quality of the toys you have. Are the little pieces that come from happy meals worth saving? Hold onto the good quality toys.

2.    Keep your kids from adding to the clutter by using the Buy One Purge One Rule.

  • Every time something new comes in, something old needs to be donated. Have your kids think carefully when they want a new toy – what will they give up in exchange? 
  • If you are cleaning out clutter, donate four or five items and then they can get a new toy or stuffed animal.

3.    Educate your children about how little less fortunate children actually have.

  • If they have a toy that they haven’t played with recently, maybe they would like to donate it to someone who has less. Put a face to those in need by having your children volunteer at a local shelter with you. Make it personal for them
  • Help them want to share what they have.


  • We all want to keep everything our children make and love, however this just promotes clutter. Get a crate/chest/box with a top. Everything you will keep for them over the next 18 years must fit into this box. Evaluate exactly what you want to keep – does it deserve a place in the box?

 If you are near Red Bank and have toys to give away, but don’t know what to do with them, Fragile Earth and Jessica want to help out. On the 15th of each month, Fragile Earth will have a bin available for donations and Jessica has a large network of shelters and schools that welcome gently used toys. We will make sure they get to deserving children. Jessica is also putting together pictures of some of the children who have received her donations in the past that we will have in the store so your children can see just who gets the toys they give away.

Jessica Varian-Carroll from Organize by Design speaking

Jessica Varian-Carroll from Organize by Design speaking

There were some great questions from the parents and ideas exchanged. It was a really fun night. We are planning our next workshop and will let everyone know when we have the details finalized.