Every parent knows the struggle! Your kids are loved by so many relatives and it shows! It shows all over the child’s bedroom floor….and your living room floor….and every other available space in your house! Even the bathroom isn’t free from bath toys stacked along side the tub! Everywhere you turn, there are toys staring back at you, and in your child’s eyes, every single one of them is precious and must be kept!
I’m going to walk you through how I deal with too many toys in my home. I have three sons, the youngest of which is now ten, so I have definitely been through all of the stages of toys. Baby toys, toddler toys, children toys, tween toys, and teen toys!
Bring in Less Toys
My very first tip is one that will help naturally reduce the number of toys in your home so you don’t have to go through the pain of purging them with a screaming child in your ear. When the next birthday or gift-giving holiday comes around, ask family and friends for experience gifts instead of toys. Give examples so they will understand what you mean, like movie tickets, theme park tickets, zoo tickets, play house tickets like an indoor play room or trampoline park, gift cards to the child’s favorite restaurant, museum tickets, concert tickets, laser tag, and so on.
I got this idea from a friend who invited us to their son’s fifth birthday and put in the invitations that gifts were not necessary but if you felt inclined to do so, he would prefer experience gifts and listed off a few of the ideas that I have just listed. I thought it was such a great idea! We got him a movie theater gift card are they ended up taking my youngest son with their son to use the gift card together! What a great idea and a generous way to use our gift!
Using a gift registry is also a great way to limit the amount of things you receive when expecting a baby because people who use the registry can see exactly what you actually need and they can see when that item has been purchased.
We all know, however, that not everyone is comfortable with using the store registry. For those people, I would suggest not just listing the registry on the baby shower invite but also mention that there will be a piggy bank displayed at the baby shower in case they would like to make a cash gift toward the baby’s first savings account. You could also start a college fund at your bank and give family and friends the opportunity to contribute in lieu of a gift.
Of course, another excellent baby shower gift idea is a gift card to a day spa for the mother to enjoy! She definitely deserves it and needs to rest up before baby is here!
Now that we’ve talked about ways to limit the number of toys coming into your home, we’ll discuss how to handle the toys that are already there…
I’ve heard it said that the best way to purge your young child’s toys is to include them in the process so they feel they have a voice in deciding what stays and goes. While I agree that this has some merit, I must also say that most young kids are going to feel that EVERY toy is special and needs to stay. This is just the beautiful nature of being a child and seeing the magic and potential in everything!
Because of this, I would suggest that you rotate toys so your kids don’t feel like you are giving their precious items away. This only works if you have somewhere to store the toys that are not being used at the moment, though. If you happen to have the storage space for this method, I like to suggest that right when the birthday is over, you allow the child to play with the new toys in the living room while you sneak into their bedroom and take the number of toys that is equal to the number of toys that they have just received, and store them away without being noticed. If they never miss the items, you can decide to donate them or to switch them out every now and then to keep the kids interested and fully entertained with their toys.
The “One in, One out” Method
This is the “One In/One Out” method. For every new item that is taken into a room, another has to be taken out. In the bathroom, I had a basket or mesh bag that hung on the wall. My kids could only have enough bath toys to fill that bag. If they got new bath toys, they had to get rid of enough toys in that bag to accommodate the new toys. This keeps the number of toys balanced and manageable. By the way, this method works great for adults, too! Wink, wink,
Give Everything a Home
Kids do really well with structure. That also goes for organizing their belongings. If they understand where an item belongs and can easily be reminded of that with an organizing system, they will be much more likely to put the item away! The best way to accomplish this is by giving everything a proper home in their bedroom. Bins, baskets, and shelves that the child can reach are great ways to go about this! Be sure to secure furniture to the wall, measure your space, and check sizes so everything fits where you want it! Here are some ideas…
Don’t forget to label everything! If your child can’t read yet, use picture labels instead of words. You can find those pretty easily with a simple search of the web! Laminate them and you are good to go! These chalkboard labels work great, too! I use these throughout my home and on organizing jobs!
Various ways to purge you child’s toys…peacefully.
If your child just has way too many toys and rotating them isn’t going to work, I would suggest a good old fashioned purge. There are different ways of accomplishing this and the method you choose will depend on your specific child. Here are examples of how I have handed purging with each of my three sons.
My oldest son has always seen potential in every item. When he was little, I always had to purge his room while he wasn’t home. I would only take things that were broken or that I knew he hadn’t touched in a while. I would bag it up and keep it for a few weeks to make sure he didn’t miss it. Once I was sure he hadn’t noticed, off to donation or trash it went! If he happened to notice something was missing, I would chat with him about it for a moment. If it was obvious that he was truly bothered by the item’s disappearance, I would say I’d keep an eye out for it. The next day, I would magically find it and return it to him. I never told him I had taken things out of his room because he would have wanted it ALL back. Of course, I no longer do this because he is currently 19 and must organize and manage his own possessions. We have tried to teach him during his teenage years to keep an orderly room. He is doing better with that as he gets older.
My middle son (16 yrs old) has high functioning autism and doesn’t necessarily have a strong attachment to most things, although there are some things that I simply cannot touch. Those things would be his transformers and legos. I provided him with as many bins as he needs to categorize his legos. I’m lucky in that he prefers to keep them in his own specific order and generally does this before he goes to bed, unless he is in the middle of creating something big. In that case, I allow him to go to bed with legos all over his floor. Who am I to interrupt the creative process! Besides, this really doesn’t happen too often. When it is time to purge some of his things, I am able to ask him what he no longer wants and he is very good about giving me things he doesn’t play with anymore without hesitation. I really am very lucky in that regard!
My youngest son (10 yrs old) is amazing at purging his toys! Just a few months back, I helped him reorganize his room and add some shelving. We laid out all of his larger toys, mostly big cars, trucks, and such. We counted them and there were 20. I told him we only had room in the bottom of his closet for 15 and asked if he could pick out five that he would be willing to let go of. Without missing a beat, he walked around them and pointed out five that he no longer needed! I explained to him that these toys would be donated and given to kids that don’t have as many toys and would be very excited to receive them. He was so excited to hear that! It really does help when the child realizes that their toys won’t just be wasted but will be making some other child very, very happy.
I hope these tips, and the glimpse into how I purge my own kids toys, have helped you come up with some ideas that will work for your specific family! Please share any tips that really work for you in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post, give it a like!
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