Is your house overrun with brightly colored, plastic things that light up and make noise? Has your foot ever been impaled by a tiny sword, whilst simply walking across your living room floor? Have you ever lost a pet or child in a mountain of toys… inside your own home?! It’s time to get this toy clutter under control!
How to Keep Toy Clutter to a Minimum
You may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of toys your little ones have, and not know where to begin. While I advise parents to start during year one, it’s never too late to scale back. We’re all feeling the Tiny House Nation concepts right now of, “Less is more,” and, “Let’s spend our money on life experiences instead of stuff.” Though you may not dream of moving your family into a home the size of a closet, you will definitely gain (and teach your children in the process) from applying a few practical principles.
Out with the old and in with the new
Every time your child gets something new, something old should hit the road. You can include your child in this process, which gives them a sense of control and might teach them to be less sentimental about material objects. If you can get them to part with an entire set or multi-piece toy, it will be less clean-up headache for you in your daily life. A few times a year, especially around birthdays and other gift-giving holidays, go through and get rid of as many toys as possible (without scarring the child for life…and that is actually a larger number than you would imagine). I suggest focusing on things that accumulated in your home, that your child may not even notice is missing.
Don’t physically toss the items you’ve collected. That’s wasteful and teaches your child that these things are disposable, and that they can always get more. If you don’t want to make a few bucks by consigning or selling (through Facebook groups, on Craiglist or through a garage sale), simply donate them so someone else can benefit from the items. With older children, I would encourage you to involve them in the selling process, so they can see that the toy they hardly used translates into money for his/her bank account.
Buy less and ask for less
There are many opportunities throughout the year, to buy for our little ones. Stores make up holidays every month to get you to spend. Stop yourself. Even if money is no object, what better use could it have than bringing more junk into the house? You could even consider clothes or food treats over toys. While it may seem drastic, consider not buying toys on holidays either. Instead, take your child somewhere they have always wanted to go, throw them a party, do anything memorable…I promise they will not feel deprived, especially if a slew of friends and family members will be buying them toys on said holiday, in addition to your excursion. And when it comes to those friends and family members, when they ask about buying for the child, don’t try to stop them. They will buy anyway! Instead, speak up about the child’s sizes or about a surprise you are trying to plan. Who wouldn’t want to pitch in toward a swim with dolphins or even a year of gymnastics classes?
Organize & create rules
As early as possible, get your kids involved in the clean-up process. Teach them that everything has its place, and that we can’t take out more than one thing at a time. Even if you simply stock up on big baskets from a craft store and toss all toys inside at the end of the day, they will be out of sight and out of your way! Things don’t have to be elaborately organized to have a big impact, and the easier you make the process, the less pushback you’ll get from your child.
Incorporate these suggestions into your life and you’ll be well on your way to bringing down that toy mountain!
How do you keep toy clutter to a minimum in your home?