Kill the Toys! (Or at least get rid of some!)

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Before Christmas, my home looked something like this! (Ah!  See how it glows!)

After Christmas my home looked more like this:

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Time to get rid of some toys! Are you de-cluttering, too? Do you find it hard to let go of things? Put your kids down for a nap and check out this little brainstorming list to help you let go of your kid’s stuff!

  • What toys have you always been in love with more than your kid?  At our house, it was the cute wooden alphabet blocks!  I’ve held on to these since my son was an infant!  He’s never given them one iota of his attention.
  • What toys does your kid love while you loath?  The singing Winnie the Pooh story book was on ours.  Its ghost still lingers as I hear the “Sunny funny storybook” song playing in my head over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…  I’ve created a place called “toy purgatory” for items like this in my own home.  I’ll reluctantly bring it back out if my child starts asking about it, but so far, all but one item is headed to goodwill without notice!
  • Are you keeping toys that your kid hasn’t grown into yet?  Unless there’s something really special about that toy, bless someone else with it!  I’m learning that there will be SO MANY more toys thrown in our direction before my child grows into anything I’m saving for him… It’s just not worth it.  You live in a home, not a storage unit.
  • Are you keeping toys that your oldest has grown out of, but your youngest has get to grow into?  See above.
  • What toys cause fights in your house?  Trash them. They’re not blessing you.
  • What toys cause injuries or near injuries in your house?  See above.
  • Is guilt causing you to keep any of the toys I’ve already mentioned, just because they were recent gifts?  Do the gifters ever have to know the real fate of that toy?  If the answer is no, donate it.  If the answer is yes, maybe the toy mafia needs to get involved.  It would be a real pity if that toy were in an “accident”…
  • Does the toy have tiny parts and multiple pieces?  Trash MOST of them.  They probably have pieces missing already.  The ones you truly want to keep, put away to bring out for special times when you and your child will play together.  Then hopefully, the pieces will at least stay in tact, and you won’t have to go on a crazy tear-apart-the-living-room search for them when it’s time to pick up!
  • Is it actually a toy?  I’m so guilty of this.  I give my child adult things like flashlights, wallets, boxes…  They’re amazingly novel for a day or so, but, at least in our case, the child loses interest quickly and the toy bin starts to look more like a thrift store bin full of all our unwanted stuff.  Maybe it’s time to actually take that stuff to the thrift store.
  • Does the toy cause more frustration than joy in your home?  I have two great examples of this:  1) We have two little race cars that work with a video game on the iPad.  But when Dad takes the iPad with him to work, and kiddo wants to play with these cars, tantrums always ensue.  In this case, we kept the cars, but they’re kept in a secure location, to be brought out only when the iPad is available and a little extra screen time is appropriate.  2) We have a race track that is built for a toddler to use… except it comes apart into three pieces–three pieces that are easily collapsed by the toddler at whom the toy is marketed, but that only an adult has the dexterity to reassemble.  If I’m not in the mood to play the game, a tantrum ensues.  It’s now in the donation bag.
  • Is the toy only played with when company is over?  It might be worth keeping.  But it might not be.  At least consider donating it.
  • Do you have multiples of the same toy?  Goodness gracious!  You know what to do!
  • Does the toy only kinda sorta still work?  I bet, even going down this list, your kid will still have PLENTY of fully functional toys if you toss this one.
  • Does your child have a large and growing collection of this particular toy?  Maybe the collection is not causing any problems, then by all means, keep collecting!  But some of my child’s collections were starting to outgrow the storage containers I had appointed for them.  Time to pick winners and losers.  And yes, this includes, books, DVDs, matchbox cars, and *gasp* trains.  If you’ve been watching your child, you know he doesn’t play/watch/read/request EVERYTHING in his or her collection, and some he’s NEVER loved.  Purge the losers!
  • Finally, are you hanging on to toys just to keep the playroom from looking too bare?  Trust me.  This condition won’t last long!  And besides, more room means more space for imaginative play to take place!  They’ll probably love it!
Hope this has inspired you to let a little more go!  Less time spent picking up toys means more time spent meaningfully with your kiddos!
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Categories: children, Home, Organization, Parenting | Leave a comment

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