How to Scale Back on Toy Clutter Before the Holidays

If you’re a parent with small children, you know how quickly toys and “stuff” can accumulate in your home, and if you’ve ever stepped on a Lego (insert expletives here) you understand that toys seem to spread like a disease throughout the entire house, leaving their mark in every nook and cranny. From finding nerf bullets behind the fridge, to dinky cars inside the couch, toys seem to mutate and give birth to new toys with every day that goes by.

The impending holiday season brings light to a new dilemma: with a house that is seemingly bursting at the seams with stuff, where are you going to fit all the new toys and gadgets that Santa is inevitably bringing on his sleigh?

This is the perfect time to go through your toy collection and minimize the hoard before the new load takes flight from the North Pole. Here are a few easy ways to reduce toy clutter in preparation for more toy clutter, (yay! ugh.)

Start a donation pile
Involving older kids in this yearly routine can be fun and fulfilling! Ask them to help you find things that they no longer play with that can be donated to Santa’s workshop or to other kids who don’t have as much. Having a conversation with your kids about donating to others will not only help them develop empathy for others, but it will encourage them to focus on giving during the holiday season. Even if they only want to part ways with one toy, it’s a step in the right direction and you can praise them for their generosity.

If the kids are too young or you decide not to involve them in the process, you can go ahead and pile that donation box full of misfit toys. I always start with cheap dollar store toys, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys and prioritize the least used toys and those most likely to induce a migraine. Side note: never ever give someone’s kid a recorder as a gift unless you hate them.

If you want to be philanthropic and avoid the local thrift store, call around to daycares, women’s shelters and children’s centers to see if any local organizations are in need of toys.

Put aside their faves
While sorting through the toys, start setting aside your child’s absolute favorite toys that they play with regularly for the “keep it” pile. You can enlist their help, but some kids are adamant about keeping every rogue puzzle piece and broken tire, so it’s best to use your own discretion here.

Toss ’em
Unfortunately some toys have lived their best life and can no longer be salvaged, saved, donated or repurposed. Dig down into the bottom of those toy bins and unearth those broken toy pieces that need to go to their final resting place, AKA the trash.

Implement a toy rotation system
Kids grow bored of toys quickly, but when they forget about them and then rediscover them, it’s like having a new toy all over again! Use this to your advantage by starting a toy rotation system and sorting toys into bins that you store away, rotating a new bin out every few weeks to keep things exciting for your littles, while keeping excess clutter at bay.

Cash in on those gems
You might not want to donate the high demand or high ticket toys, those that were rarely played with or those still in great condition. In this case, you may decide to sell some of your toys and make a few extra bucks in your pocket.

Look for a local mom-to-mom group, a momma market, consignment shop, Facebook marketplace or even Kijiji. You can buy, sell and trade your items and be eco conscious in the process.

Consider a minimalist approach to toys
When it comes to toys, less is sometimes more. Kids can be overstimulated and underwhelmed when they have too much of a good thing, and they grow bored easily. If you want to accumulate less stuff and focus more on activities and experiences, a minimalist lifestyle may be the route for you. Put in a word with the Jolly Fat Man and your friends and family to gently let them know your wishes for a more minimalist lifestyle when it comes to gifts this year.

While this approach isn’t for everyone, family psychologist John Rosemond says “Too many toys smother a child’s ability to make choices and be creative. You can help develop your child’s imagination and resourcefulness (the ability to do a lot with a little) by not buying him a lot. Where toys are concerned, less is definitely more.”

If you need help with organization before the holidays, contact us for a quote.

Written By Stacey Wood

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