The other day, on the way home from church I told my sons that as soon as we got home I was going to set a timer for two hours. All four of us were going to clean the house. I said their task would start in their bedrooms.
My sons like to keep things on display on their shelves. There is a lot more on the shelves than I'd personally like to have and it's more than I want to dust off. I told them they were to start with their shelves.
To avoid problems due to miscommunication I spelled out what to do. "First, make your beds. Then take every item off the shelf and dust it off with a soft cloth, then put it on your bed. As you dust each thing off, decide if the thing is something you really want to have there or are you done with having that on display. When the shelf is empty use a cloth damp with water to dust it. Use a clean dry cloth to dry it, then return the things you want to the shelf."
I also asked them to consider what they are finished with on their bookcase shelves. I asked them to figure out if they really want those books and magazines any longer.
I left them alone to sort it out while my husband and I did work in other parts of the house. One of them turned some music on to help pass the time.
After that if there was more time left in the two hour period, I'd give them more work in the house to do. (They dragged that task out so there was no time left to do something else, does that surprise you?)
My thirteen year old decided the Star Wars book collection (DK books mostly) were out. All the manga was out. All the Yu-Gi-Oh! books and magazines are out. The Shonen Jump's stayed (they have some teen level manga in them). The Boy's Life magazines are out as are the LEGO magazine and various LEGO instruction manuals that were on his shelves and in a drawer.
My ten year old removed all the stuffed animals, every single one of them. His room is pretty sparse as recently I'd done decluttering in there removing all the picture books and outgrown games and puzzles from the closet's shelves.
My older son is a collector and feels sentimental towards material things that have a memory attached. My younger son could care less about material objects and tosses them quickly. This can be an issue such as when he gave his entire Yu-Gi-Oh! card collection to his brother but then didn't have a card deck to use to play against a visiting friend with.
I think it's a good idea to have my kids involved in decluttering their lives. I want them to start early with taking responsiblity for their living space and their possessions. I am still battling packrat tendencies after having been raised by two packrats and with grandparent packrats, all who encouraged me to save everything and to never get rid of anything that might potentially be used again. I still trying to break myself of those habits that are ingrained into me.
Each day my son's rooms morph more and more to be the rooms of a teenager and a tween-ager. Gone are the signs that the bedrooms belong to "little boys".