Any parent of small toddler or child knows how little time before your pre-parent abode can turn into a giant toy room. Suddenly your house has no logical order, no matter how hard you try, because toys seem to breed and multiply so quick. You pick the same thing up and put it away 5 times and that’s just in the past hour… But wait, there it is on the floor again. When will it end?
The toy boxes are over flowing (yes, there’s probably more than one by now), ride on things need their own kiddie garage and well, you could lose your child forever under that growing pile of soft toys.
And next thing you know, another birthday, Christmas, just because day arrives and you need to find a new home for even more stuff.
Don’t worry… There are some solutions.
You could just get rid of everything. And be the worst parent of the year in your kids eyes, but we don’t need to go to that extreme. Great toy storage solutions can help to an extent. But less is best!
Here are some less harsh ideas so everyone wins, with 6 tips for taming the toy invasion in your house:
Ask for no gifts
The pleasure of your company is more than enough so we ask you do not bring gifts. Usually a couple of people still will but it reduces the likely doubling of toys that would otherwise take place after a party.
Wishing wells are all the trend for weddings and other big events these days so why not a kids birthday party for example. Ask for donations towards a specific item the child really wants – a swing set (this is our plan for an upcoming 2nd birthday), an iPad, a Lego Star Wars Death Star replica…
Ask people to give an item relating to a specific theme so you can at least focus the bulk in one area. I.e. Books, Lego sets, clothes, Barbies, iTunes cards. This can also work in the opposite way where you ask that people do not bring a certain type of present in case you child already has too many… like soft toys that are pretty boring and useless to most kids or Barbie dolls when she loves Monster High.
This one doesn’t really reduce the amount of toys in the house overall, but works on the idea of putting half (or more) of the toys away someplace out of the way, and every month or so, do a switch with the toys in the main toy box. It means toys suddenly seem new and exciting again and it reduces the chance of having all 1 billion items out in the lounge room at one time.
Cull before a special occasion
Christmas or birthday coming up? Do a big clean out. Pull out anything the child has grown out of, that is broken, or they simply have no interest in. Make 2 boxes. Broken stuff to the bin and the other stuff either to charity or another donated place, such as a daycare centre, a friend who cannot afford lots of toys, younger cousins.
Toy exchange with friends
This one means getting the kids involved. Ask them to pick out some toys they no longer find fun. Make sure they are still in good condition and not broken.
Organise a group of friends with kids of a similar age and gender, or enough of both genders to get a good variety of toys and the kids can do a toy exchange so they each come home with something ‘new’ and fun. It means no buying new toys to entertain them and their friends benefit too. The same can be done with books if your kids want some new reading inspiration.
A major declutter makes a big difference but if that’s still not enough, maybe you need a full simplify overhaul?
A minimalist approach to managing toys may be a solution for your household too, if you’ve had enough of toy clutter.