All kids love toys (and some adults do too!), but how many toys are too many toys? The answer is going to be different for every family. Some homes only have a few shelves of toys, others have whole playrooms devoted to nothing but toys. It can be hard to tell if you have too much, but if you find yourself constantly cleaning up toys that seem to be lying around all the time, it might just be an indicator that it is time to let go.
We have 4 kids, (any day now!) ranging from newborn to 12. This means that we need a variety of toys. Up until recently, it's been very hard to keep up with the mess, but now, it seems that we have finally got it under control.
1) Talk to your Kids:
We started off with a conversation. I sat the kids down and we talked about the toys; how they have so many and keep getting more, how they don't play with most of them and don't care enough to put them away when they are done. How other kids could benefit from their rejects and so forth, and how it would be much easier to keep track of and care for their toys if there weren't so damn many. In the end, they agreed that it would be a good idea to get rid of some.
2) Sort your Toys:
The first step was taking everything out and grouping things together.
- The puzzles got sorted as well as the board games.
- All the stuffed animals were arranged in a pile.
- All the outdoors equipment was set up in a large basket.
- Leggos and similar connecting toys were sorted.
- Kitchen/food toys were sorted.
- Animals and characters were placed in a pile.
- Arts and crafts stuff was put in a drawer.
3) Get the Obvious Junk Out of the Way
Next, we went through everything. If it was broken, missing pieces, ripped etc, we tossed it. There were a few complaints from the kids, but they were actually quite happy to be getting rid of stuff. (if your kids aren't like that you might want to consider doing this project while they are in school.)
That left only complete toys that they could choose from.
4) Decide What to Keep
I let them choose first. Toys that they didn't play with or care about were separated out to be given away. Duplicates were also removed. I was quite surprised at how willing they were to let go of things. (I had to stop myself from jumping in to save educational or sentimental toys that they didn't want, but they actually reminded me of the goal and how it could potentially help someone else!) In the end, I was really proud of them.
They cut back their toys so much that they could fit almost everything into one little cabinet! (Outdoors toys and stuffed animals/dolls didn't fit in the cabinet, but they still cut them back drastically.)
All the whole toys that didn't make the cut were donated to charity.
The following weeks, the kids played with their toys. And put them away. They haven't really added much to the ones that we kept. As things break or get lost, they let them go. And they are happy to do it.
The best part is, I don't have to fight with them about their messes anymore!
Do your kids have too many toys? Do you struggle to let go of sentimental toys? Let me know in the comments below!