Toys, toys and more toys! How many toys do your kids really need? What rules can you put in place to keep the kids and the house from being overwhelmed? It's all part of "Toy Overload," and it's being discussed in many Circle of Moms communities. How do you avoid this explosion, especially around the holidays? Here are some options for reducing and decluttering the toys in your home.
Reducing The Amount Of Toys
1. Give Non-Toy Gifts
When a birthday or holiday is approaching, family members will likely hit you with the loaded question: "What does your child want?" If your house is already overflowing with toys, this is the perfect time to explain to them the kinds of gifts that would be better than toys. A member named Erin has plenty of responses to question, including gift cards to the zoo, passes to a local pool, donations towards ballet or gymnastics classes, or punch cards from a kids gym nearby, any of which wil enable a child "to have fun all year-long," and not just on her birthday or during the holidays.
The protest from grandparents and other well-meaning relatives usually involves having something for your kid to open and play with on their special day. Christy N. shares the perfect solution for making gift cards fun to open: "One year my daughter did get a gift card ... it was wrapped in a bunch of tissue paper and put in a Chuck e Cheese lidded cup with a straw. They tied a ribbon around the cup and wa-la, [my daughter] had a gift to open!"
2. Pre-Holiday Purge
A very popular Circle of Moms member suggestion is to get your kids involved in purging old toys a few weeks before the upcoming holiday. Crystal L. makes her children pick their favorites, which are usually the newest, and donate the rest.
Holly, who has daughters, does toy purges with each of her girls before their birthdays, giving as many as possible away to make room for any new ones they might get. But even when there's no birthday or holiday on the horizon, you can always do a purge of toys that are no longer played with, or that your kids have outgrown developmentally. Lydia F. has several systems and rules that she shares for keeping toys from getting out of control. Number one on her list is something you can do on a weekly or monthly routine: "Throw everything out that has missing pieces and is broken."
3. Donate To Charity
Kids can learn to appreciate what they have when they donate their gently used toys to a charity or shelter. Since having too many toys is very much a first world problem, many moms use the opportunity to teach their children about helping others. As Holly reports, "I figure having the girls go through all their toys with me and giving away a good portion of them teaches them the spirit of giving and also teaches them about moderation and sharing." And Emma B. has discovered that her daughter really enjoys seeing her toys go where they're really appreciated.
Maria P.'s kids were stubborn about not wanting to give away even the toys they weren't using, so she took them to a local orphanage so they could see the need first-hand: "After being there, they decided to donate the majority of their toys and felt really good about it too."
Reducing The Clutter Of Toys
1. Rotate Toys
One of the most popular suggestions by moms on how to cut down the clutter is to rotate toys on a regular basis. This keeps a majority of toys in storage most of the time, and makes them seem 'new again' every couple months. Chantal S. has a simple system that works well in her house: "I put all the toys in four containers and alternate monthly."
Rotating also helps Sharon M. evaluate which toys to get rid of: "Anything that doesn't get attention when it comes back out goes away for about six to eight weeks. If it still has no love, then it's gone.
2. Sorting And Storage
If the sentimental side of you can't bear to part with toys forever, a more permanent storage solution might be the best way to get them out of your way. Ellen D. found that boxing them up and putting them in storage helped with the clutter.
The first step is getting large bins for sorting toys, then figuring out which toys are really worth keeping out. Nannette L. suggests getting the kids involved in every step: "I purchased bins for toys that he always plays with and bins for toys that need to be disposed of. You could also add another bin for the toys that you wanted to keep. Put the 'keep bin' in storage, the 'play bin' in [your child's] room, and [donate] the dispose bin."
Another member, Mel C. has a great idea on how to reduce the amount of toys at your house without getting rid of them completely: "Always keep a stack of toys at grandparents' or friends' houses [if] you visit often! Tell the child that it will stay at their house and you can play when you visit!"
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.