Spring is the time of new beginnings. What better time to get toy clutter under control? If you want to cut down on the number of toys hanging around the house, but are meeting resistance, you have options! Try one of these ideas. Tell your children that if they can pick out 50 (or 100, or 200- how much do you need to cut back?) toys to get rid of, you will purchase one larger toy. Maybe you will see the last of those cheap happy meal toys! Choose something that they have been wishing for, that will motivate them to really cut back. An outdoor toy, such as a water slide, is a good choice for this time of year to encourage outdoor play. Make sure that you don’t pick something that is going to cause you just as much grief, such as a game with lots of pieces!
Another way to encourage cutting back on toys is to appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit. Tell them that you are having a garage sale, and they can keep the money that is garnered from the toys they cull. Older children can participate in the pricing, as a good opportunity to talk about supply and demand. Another, less time intensive option is to see if a children’s resale shop will buy the toys or put them on consignment.
As you are going through the toys with your children, assess whether your current storage plans are adequate. Do they really have a space to put everything away? If there’s no place for it, it can’t get put away! Do you need more hooks, plastic storage bins, shelves? Sometimes a better storage plan can make a world of difference.
Another option to cutting down on toys underfoot is starting a toy rotation. You can do this in conjunction with culling toys, as well. Children don’t need tons of playtime options. In fact, it can be a bit overwhelming for them! They will happily play with what is available. Separate toys into 2-4 batches. Leave one out for playing with now, and pack the rest away for a predetermined time. Toys can be switched out monthly or quarterly. When the next batch of toys comes out and the old ones are packed away, there is much rejoicing, as the children get reacquainted with their ‘new’ toys.