As every parent knows, kids have a lot of stuff – lots and lots and LOTS of stuff! At times, the task of cutting the clutter and keeping all of the kids stuff contained can seem like a daunting task and then of course, there are a few times of year when things seem extra chaotic with a steady stream of new stuff being introduced into the house – birthdays and holidays being at the top of the list! Keep reading for a few of my tips on keeping up with and managing the clutter at home.
Cut the Clutter Tips for Toys
One way we try to cut the clutter is to rotate the toys. This “everything old is new again” method also has the added benefit of keeping the toys current and of interest to the kids.
The simplest way to do this is to fill a large plastic storage bin with toys and tuck it away in storage. After a few months, bring out the bin and switch the toys from that bin with toys that seem to have lost their allure and are perpetually forgotten. This really seems to keep kids interested in the toys that they do have – especially for younger children. The kids feel as though they are receiving new (to them) toys every few months.
Sharing or Donating Unused Toys
From a very young age children have the ability to recognize the importance of sharing and even donating their toys. In our house, when birthdays and holidays approach, we take the time to go through ALL of the toys, books, stuffed animals and other gear that we have. We explain to the kids that there are lots of kids who are less fortunate then they are and suggest that they might want to select some items that they have lost interest in or grown out of to donate. We talk about how much fun it would be for another little boy or girl to be able to have as much fun with the toys as they have. Usually, the kids will quite readily select a good number of items to donate.
By donating our excess stuff, we are teaching our children about charity and to appreciate what they have, as well as reducing clutter. Also, the fact that these donation sessions happen shortly before the kids will soon be receiving many new toys to enjoy certainly helps ease the pain of parting…and the reality is that they will likely forget about the toys they donated quickly enough.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
Have you been holding onto something with the thought that perhaps your child might like it again?
Do you have toys and games that are broken or missing pieces?
Do you purchase toys for your kids that you want them to play with (educational toys, etc) despite knowing that the specific toy is not something that they would enjoy?
Do you hang on to toys because they were gifts from close family members and you don’t want to hurt feelings by getting rid of something?
The truth is that if you have toys like this around your house, it actually does more harm than good. It adds to the chaos, it creates just one more option for kids to have to choose from, and bottom line is it just takes up space!
If you aren’t using it, and haven’t use it in the past 3-6 months, chances are that you aren’t going to use it any time soon! It would be much better to fill that space on the shelf with something that you and your child actually like playing with and pass that toy onto the local charity where someone else can truly enjoy it.
In the case of broken toys and games with missing pieces, just throw them out!