Toy clutter is a real thing. AND a real problem. Every birthday, holiday, desperate moment at Target leads up to a pile of toys that likely don’t see a whole lot of play time. That said, I have two types of kids: one that is ACTIVE and is always busy. He would choose playing outside or participating in a physical activity over tinkering with toys. The other is a solo player. She can entertain herself with toys for hours on end. Because I have both types of kids, I definitely see the value in toys but I also have become smarter about the type and amount of toys we collect. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about how to get rid of some of those toys they’ve out grown or rarely play with.
Tactic 1. Donate five toys, get one new toy. In our house, this seems to work the best given our children’s ages (2 and 4). Yes, you are adding a toy, but you are donating five. I think of this tactic as the beginners-level to decluttering for kids. Also, this tactic is best for the kid who has a REALLY hard time letting go of toys. It places the focus on the BRAND NEW toy and to get that toy, they need to first purge.
Tactic 2. Send a friend home with a toy. Warning: you must clear this with a child’s parent first, because they actually might be trying to reduce toys too (motherhood is a sisterhood and we need to have each other’s back, am I right?). Ask your kids to reduce their toys by picking a few to put in a basket reserved for playdates. Specifically, smaller toys like some of the bagillion princess or superhero figures you have piling up. Once the playdate is over, kids can ask their friends to pick from the basket before they leave. This can also be helpful for parents who are having trouble getting their kids to leave the playdate. Hey, it’s hard to leave a party when you’re having so much fun.
Tactic 3. Pick a charitable holiday to purge and donate. Pick a holiday like Thanksgiving and ask your kids to choose a few toys to donate to a local shelter, religious institution, daycare, school, etc. If you can, have them physically come with you to donate the toys. Make it a yearly tradition! Maybe even reward them with a family trip to the local bakery or ice cream shop after their good deed.
Tactic 4. Opt for no physical gifts for birthdays and holidays. This tactic is helpful in preventing toy build-up in the first place. Instead of an actual toy, encourage experience gifts. Ask for gift cards or passes to some of their favorite activities like the zoo, amusement park, inflatables park, aquarium, etc.
Tactic 5. Turn toys into memories. Do you have a kid that has a REALLY hard time parting with toys? Take a picture of the toy before you donate it and add it to a photo or scrapbook. That way your super sentimental kid will be able to look at the picture and talk about all the fun they had with that donated toy.
Hope you find these tactics helpful! Happy purging, everyone!