If you have no children and no toys, go relax. You get the day off. Otherwise, it is time to dig into the stash of toys. There is no better time than the month of January to de-clutter your toy collection. The holidays have probably brought a few new play things into your space, and you may be feeling overwhelmed.
Today’s challenge is to find 20 toys to remove from your space. As you begin this process, remember the following:
- If your children are little, it is your responsibility as the parent to periodically sort the toys. An 18-month old cannot clear his toy chest. You can and should choose what to shed and what to keep.
- The goal of this exercise is to make space for your children to enjoy their favorite toys. More is not always better, and having too much can make a play space crowded and unappealing.
- Relieve anxiety by remembering that you are unlikely to discard your child’s favorite toy. Begin by considering the toys that have been sitting abandoned for a while (e.g. those at the bottom of a large toy bin, at the back of the cabinet, or abandoned under a bed.)
- Consider your child’s ages and stage. Sometimes we keep toys around longer than we should. What a child will enjoy in 1st grade is different from what he probably liked in preschool.
- Resist the temptation to keep toys that you loved as a child, but which your children don’t enjoy (e.g. you collection of Nancy Drew books or the LiteBrite you thought was cool.) Each generation enjoys different kinds of entertainment, and that is ok.
- Give yourself permission to let go of “half completed” items. Craft kits, coloring books, art sets, etc. that have been mostly used quickly lose their appeal.
- If your children are old enough, involve them in the process, but don’t expect them to volunteer to part with their belongings. Sorting, de-cluttering and organizing are learned skills that many children need help acquiring. Give your children some choices, but set firm boundaries (e.g. say, “Here is your stuffed animal bin… you can keep as many as fit inside. Which do you choose?”)
- For items that you and/or your child aren’t sure about, move them to an “out of sight” box. Let the items stay in this box for a month, after which time you will have a better idea of whether the toys were missed (meaning they need to come back) or can now be passed along.
Toys in good condition with all of their parts are desired by many charities. If appropriate, involve your older children in donating the items, as seeing that they are helping the less fortunate may ease the pain of separation.
If you want some ideas on how to store toys, check out my Pinterest page on Organizing Kids.
Twenty toys may seem like a lot, but every little piece counts! Can you do it? Is there a toy you will be glad to finally pass on?