365 days. 12 months. 52 weeks. You could do ANYTHING in that time, couldn’t you? Renovate a house? Declutter a house? Let’s do July.
Have you seen the video of the dad scooping up mountains of tiny plastic toys with a big shovel? You can barely see the carpet for the volume of Little Plastic Things.
This is not uncommon in Kiwi homes! Cute and fun toys are so affordable. So easy to have delivered. Browsing the toy section is fun! And it makes you feel so good to see their excitement and happiness at seeing a new toy.
You’re busy! You barely have time to get the basics done, who has time to declutter? Especially when the toy owner gets really upset when they think you’re going to Throw Away All Their Toys!
Grandparents, friends and family give SO MANY gifts. It’s almost like it’s a competition… It makes them feel so good to buy and give things to your kids too.
But is it good for your kids?
How many toys is too many toys? How many toys should your kids have?
There’s been quite a bit written about kids and too many toys. Their attention spans. The effect of too many choices on their feelings of dissatisfaction and overwhelm. How it impacts their emotional development, independence, creativity and decision making as adults.
Decision fatigue in kids is a real thing. They might not be able to articulate what they’re feeling though. They might become irritable or frustrated, say they’re feeling tired and get distracted. Even if they have made a choice.
And it seems like most toys come with so many bits! They immediately get muddled up. Who has to sort out the LEGO princess castle pieces from the spaceship pieces? Mum and dad of course.
You know that big toy box? The one with all the bits in it? Big and little cars, Barbie bits, LEGO shrapnel, puzzle pieces, balls, the plastic palm tree and farm animals that belong to those other sets, that’re somewhere… As you dig down you discover more and more things that haven’t been played with (or asked for) in AGES. Out of sight out of mind.
What to do with them? You have choices of course but bear in mind, just because you own something, doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.
How To Declutter Toys.
Talking to your kids.
Maybe try some of these:
- Talk to your kids about children who don’t have any toys.
- Talk about the difference between needing and wanting.
- Discuss how good it is to give.
- Sit down together and decide which toys could be gifted to charity.
- You make a Maybe Box together, cardboard is good (so no one can see what’s in it), tucked away safely. If a toy is requested in the next 6 months, it comes back. If not, it goes to a new family.
Fill a donation box or bag or two. All of this is great!
But then… it has to go! No little people digging about in the donations bag. Once a toy is in there, it’s someone else’s toy. Better the bag leaves the house ASAP.
Secret Mum Business (S. M. B.)
You know your kids. You know their toys, like no-one on this earth could know. You know that the funny little red plastic thingy belongs with this set. And you know the green cap bits belong in this kit…
You also know which toys they really love.
Secret Mum Business means knowing Toy Categories:
- Toys your kids love and ask for and play with often.
- Toys YOU love and want to keep as keepsakes.
- Junk toys that have somehow gathered in your home.
- Toys they have outgrown or are inappropriate.
- Toys your kids really don’t care about and wouldn’t even notice if they were gone.
Secret Mum Business is NOT about being mean. It’s NOT about tossing toys they love in the bin. It’s NOT about taking their choices away from your kids. You can do both Talking To Your Kids decluttering and Secret Mum Business decluttering.
S. M. B. is a very effective way of decluttering toys. You know in your heart what is right and what is wrong when it comes to decluttering your kids toys. Kids on the other hand are quite likely to want to keep everything simply because they can suddenly see it.
Always do S. M. B. when you are alone. Gently does it. Successful toy decluttering requires Mum or Dad Smarts. Strategically decluttering, every now and then, makes the process an easier one to introduce to your family.
You might want to start this way:
~ First, just declutter junk toys that are covered in dust. You know, fast food and supermarket knick-knacks.
~ Another time, put toys they’ve outgrown in a box in a cupboard for a few months. Donate the whole box when you’re happy the toys aren’t wanted.
~ A wee way down the track, decide if gifted toys that are too advanced for them are worth the space they’re taking up. Realise that of course your kids are going to get a LOT more new toys given to them as they get older.
~ When you have some time go through the toys your kids really don’t care about. You’ll know the difference, trust yourself. There might be dust on them. Or they might be at the bottom of a basket underneath toys that are actually played with. They might be broken, have missing parts or simply not been played with for months or even years.
~ Gather the toys that you’re not 100% certain about. Do the Talking To Your Kids decluttering. Even if they only let go of a few things, that’s a good way to introduce decluttering to them.
Make it a regular thing to move on toys that are unloved or out-grown. Birthdays and Christmas are a great time for this habit. Think of all the new gifts they’ll get!
Imagine a new family tradition of taking good, clean toys to a wonderful charity close to your heart, every Christmas.
It just becomes what your family does.
P.S. I’m committed to sharing my decluttering, organising skills and tools with the world, in the hope that it can help others. If this blog resonates with you, please consider forwarding it to anyone who may benefit from it. If this was forwarded to you, subscribe below.
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