All-in-one Declutter and Money Management Math Lesson – Tuesday Tips

July 21, 2009

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The Story:

We’re on a declutter kick lately at our house.  It’s more of a panic response to the possibility of moving in the near future.  Suddenly the precariously balanced stacks of toys, books, boxes and more that cover all the flat surfaces in our home make me cringe much more than usual.  I can’t imagine moving it all.  We have to purge!

The only problem is that I’m on the ‘once-every-seven year’  cleaning schedule, instead of the usual ‘spring cleaning.’  Who knew that meant I was supposed to declutter every spring?!

If you want a laugh, you’ll love my husband, the engineer’s, solution:  Build pyramid-shaped contraptions to place of every flat surface in the house so nothing can be placed on them!  Yes, the anti-thesis to counter space.


Thank goodness I have a few amazing friends that helped me get started while a herd of all our kids ran rampant together.  After four days, we had filled five huge trash cans, and my kitchen and school room were whipped into shape.

Then came the kids, their toys, and clothes. . . and the tears, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  Who knew the old, tiny, bike my daughter learned to ride on was precious enough to deserve it’s own shrine and label, “Never to be given away, sold, or otherwise disposed of!”

So, we finally come to The Tuesday Tip:

  • Plan a garage sale.
  • Tell the kids that they get to run it.
  • And the carrot:  Tell the kids they get to split the money among everyone who is willing to do the work and help out.
  • THEN– start the decluttering process.  Hopefully they’ll see dollar signs instead of precious treasures being sold.

The Results:


  • The Prize:  The boys have drooled over a Nintendo DS for ages and I’ve refused to buy them one.  So, they decided to combine their resources and buy one together.  They had about half the money and hoped to earn the rest at the garage sale.  Boy, did the toys and clothes start flying into the garage sale boxes! 
  • Math, math, and more math!  After every sale, my oldest jotted down the amount, added it to the running total, divided it by the three kids working the sale, and then added his and his brother’s two parts to the previous total and their original money.   They even went hopping around the sale, making a running total of possible income if everything sold.  Whew!  That’s more math than they’ve done in a month.
  • Delayed gratification!  At the end of the day they were bursting with excitement because they had enough to buy the DS.  But I found a code to get almost $20 off a DS on  The $20 off was exciting for them, BUT they would have to wait 4 days to get it shipped instead of going straight to ToysRUs that evening.  I was so proud.  They reluctantly decided to wait and save the money, even though they had the extra $20 to spend.  If they can do that now, there’s hope they will do well with credit cards as young adults.

So, what do your houses look like this summer?  How do you control the clutter?  How do you mix housecleaning with homeschooling?  Have you had any luck getting your kids to do the “out with the old”? 

Or do you have any other ideas that have worked well for you lately and would help us all out?  Please share by commenting!

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Posted under Homeschool Life, Tuesday Tips


3 Comments so far

  1. Sisterlisa August 15, 2009 1:42 am

    haha what a way to teach Math! Very creative!

  2. Meaghan August 9, 2009 3:51 pm

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Brian July 21, 2009 8:26 pm

    Love it! I think you’re on to something. I hope the positive reinforcement lasts long enough to repeat it next year.

    Now I’ll get to work on those pyramid storage devices for my office!

    Brian (a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at )


  1. Teach Your Kids Math while They Clean | August 12, 2009 8:55 am

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