How to Get Rid of Too Many Toys
When it comes to downsizing, it can be tricky to figure out what to give away and what to keep, especially when it's a child’s keepsake or has sentimental value. Looking over at the mountain of toys in your house can be overwhelming, if not enough to stop you from starting the process at all. Before you panic, take a breath. We’re here to help. There are many solutions and easy first steps in tackling the toys in your home! Keep reading to find out exactly what they are!
Benefits of getting rid of toys
When your child has too many toys, it can often take away from the quality time one has during play. Distractions are everywhere and your child will find him or herself bored with the endless options in front of them.
By getting rid of toys, your child is forced to work on his or her creativity, strengthen his or her attention span, and become resourceful with the objects they have around them.
Related: How to Increase Toddler Attention Span
When with other kids, your child will work on their social skills as well as sharing since won’t have a large amount of toys to distract them! Your child’s connections will be stronger with both their peers and with you. Learn more about why less is more when it comes to toys!
Talk with your kids
As a parent, it can be hard to know what toys to keep and what toys to donate, and can especially be hard when your child doesn’t want to give up any of them. However, asking their opinion and giving them a say will help them not only feel important, but a part of the process overall.
When you’re a kid, you want to be taken seriously and seen as “mature”, no matter how realistic that may be. As a parent, help them feel like equals and incorporate them in the conversation.
Now, if you have the space, rotating toys in and out is a great first step in minimizing the toys your child has to play with. You’re able to keep toys that have meaning while also limiting the number of toys available for play.
Feel free to group your toys into categories such as “spring toys”, “winter toys”, or “special occasion toys.” By labeling your toy groups, your child will expect when specific toys will be brought out, giving them something to look forward to!
Rotating allows you to free up space in your main living area while holding on to family favorites year round.
Say no to gifts
We know how difficult it can be to turn down a gift or even tell friends and family that you will not be accepting gifts this holiday season. It can get awkward and perhaps even tense. But no matter how hard the conversation may be, saying no to gifts is a great way to prevent an influx of unnecessary gifts in your home.
By saying no to begin with, you’re saving your future self time and sanity. You won’t need to go through and figure out what to donate as there won’t be anything new to discard!
Every new toy, donate an old one
As the saying goes, out with the old and in with the new. An easy way to stay on top of the number of toys you have is to donate one before you get a new one. That way you know what is coming into your house and what is going out. It’s a simple solution that can help teach your kids the importance of balance and letting physical possessions go.
By donating toys, you are able to help your local community as well as prevent future piles of toys from popping up. Have a conversation with your child about what it means to donate something. Work on their empathy by discussing kids in need and how their toy will be going to someone who truly will appreciate and play with it. This is an easy way to start building a relationship between your child and their community!
Avoid duplicate toys
Now this one can be tricky, especially if you have multiple children who want the same toy. Focus on sharing over buying a toy for every child. By not buying a new toy for every child, you will help them appreciate the toys they do have and the time they are able to have when playing with them.
If you do receive or accidentally purchase a duplicate toy, follow our recommendation of donating it or even trading with a neighbor or family friend! If possible, throw away toys as your very last resort.
Set a designated space for toys
Toy boxes and corners are convenient ways to keep your toys all in one spot. As the saying goes, out of sight out of mind. With toys, it may seem like they are always in sight. This can make it difficult for both you and your child to concentrate.
However, by creating a designated space for toys you are able to keep play designated for one area and work in another. It’s an efficient way to create boundaries and help you keep track of what you have and what you need!
Both you and your child(ren) benefit from organization-- no matter how often they may create a mess around them and you!
Related: Organizing Tips to Declutter the Playroom
Quality over quantity
It is so important that the priority when buying toys is quality over quantity. Your child doesn’t need a hundred dolls or variations of the same toy but in different colors. Think back to your own childhood. Does one toy in particular stand out to you? Or do you remember every single toy you had at your disposal? Chances are, you have a connection to one or two toys over your entire toybox.
Remember this with your own kids. Childhood is about more than the toys they’re given! When you are picking toys, make sure that you are choosing educational toys to enhance your child's development!
You may reach a point where you don’t have room to rotate or the time to ask friends if they’d like to swap toys. Sometimes you just need the toys to get out of your house. When it comes to actually getting rid of toys, here are a few suggestions!
Start with “easy” stuff!
Now, you may be thinking, “what is considered ‘easy’ to throw away?”. This can be easier for some than it is for others. Think about the boxes of toys you may have in storage. When was the last time you opened them? Has your child outgrown them? If the toy has not been used in over a year, the chances of it being played with in the future are very slim!
Involve your kids.
Similar to one of our very first suggestions, making your kids a part of the purging process is a great way to know what exactly to get rid of. If your child isn’t interested in it, that’s your cue to give it away. If your child struggles to let things go, help guide them through getting rid of toys. Explain that other kids in need will play with their old toys and that, by getting rid of these toys, they will have the space to bring in something new!
Emphasize non-material play
Depending on how much free time you have, this may be a solution that works for you. We understand that different families have different needs. Sometimes you need to get work done and therefore send your child off to play with a toy and give yourself some peace and quiet. We’ve all been there. However, if you are able to emphasize the importance of non-material play, your child will greatly benefit from the creativity and physical nature that this play will provide!
Going outside. Playing in parks. Pretending to be pirates. Coloring characters and stories. All of these suggestions require very few physical objects and emphasize the imagination kids already have within them!
Be intentional with the toys you buy
Knowing what you have and what you need comes in handy when buying toys. We know how hard it can be when walking down your local toy aisle and seeing a fun new toy your child would enjoy, but refrain and ask yourself if they really need it. Do they already have toys sitting at home that aren’t used? Will this entertain them year round? Do they already have something similar?
Who does the toy benefit?
Sometimes, it can be you over your child that carries an attachment to a certain toy. It may remind you of a happy memory or a certain age. Memories are so important, but the clutter that comes with them can give you a headache in the present day. Be grateful for the sentiment attached with each toy, but if your child is no longer interested or able to play with the toy, it’s time to let it go.
It’s okay to save toys for future kids or future generations, but always be intentional in what you save and what will be most beneficial for future play!
Set check ins
Keep yourself accountable and set a schedule for toy check ins. Do what works for you! Maybe it's twice a year. Maybe it’s once. Maybe it’s monthly! Either way, always keeping track of your inventory helps prevent future pile ups!
After reading this, we hope you have some new tips to try out in getting rid of too many toys. We know how hard it is to let go of things, especially when there’s a special attachment to the toy itself. Remind yourself that you’ll always have your memories even if the physical toy is gone. You’ll save yourself time and stress by decluttering the toy box while also helping your child focus! We believe in you!
If you try out any of our solutions, comment below on what worked and perhaps what didn’t!