Carol is a freelance writer for Storage Vault Glasgow and is absolutely bonkers about storage and productivity. If not writing lists, press releases or blog articles, you can find her exploring the Scottish highlands with her MacBook and notepad looking for inspiration and adventure. Here she gives some great advice on how to tackle the ever-growing mound of toys in your home.
You’ve tried to do it before – more than once. Maybe you vowed never to do it again because it ended in tears and chaos. This guide to decluttering your child’s toys will make sure that this process runs as smoothly as possible, equipping you with the right tools to get your kids on board, keeping everybody happy!
Let’s be real. The toy collection hasn’t extended this far on its own accord. And stop right there before you start blaming it on your child and their frivolous pocket-money spending habits!
Most of these toys have been bought by you, or by close family and friends. You can stop the collection from spreading even wider by resisting the urge to buy your children toys and encourage the people close to you to do the same!
Actually, this might be easier than you think. Simply take a minute to ask yourself why you buy these toys. Is it to show love? Out of guilt? Because it seems like too good a deal to pass up?
Your children will still feel close to you without being lavished with toys on a regular basis. In reality, the cosy happy feeling of being given a new toy is likely to disappear quickly and it’ll find its way under a pile of teddies and action figures at an alarmingly fast rate.
You balance a monthly budget of house payments, bills, and food, so create another budget to be allocated to toys. Having stringent rules will help curtail your spending habits. You can use the money you’ve saved to spend on experiences for the family, like going bowling, to the cinema, or even towards your holiday fund. This way you’re still spending your time and money building your relationship — except here you’ll all walk away with memories that last longer than the majority of toys ever will.
You may feel slightly scarred from your previous decluttering escapades, but you can ensure that you don’t have a repeat by making the process fun from the outset.
Involving your child is crucial here. If you involve them in the purge, it will help build a bond of trust. They will feel like they have an element of control in the situation, rather than feeling at the mercy of the tyrannical parent, hell-bent on getting rid of all their beloved possessions.
If they feel that their role is important, they’ll be more likely to cooperate with you. Make the experience more enjoyable by blasting some fun music and having lots of juice and snacks on hand to keep everyone’s energy levels up.
There’s no reason to go head-first into the project, purging the full toy collection in a single afternoon. If you break the project down into stages, then you’ll reduce the strain on yourself and your children, making it feel far more achievable. And you’ll drastically reduce the chances of tantrums bubbling over!
Follow the principles of the KonMari method, the ultimate decluttering process, which propounds tackling categories in their entirety so you can get a real grasp of how much you own in a particular grouping.
Perhaps start with the teddies, then the dolls, then the dressing up clothes. Lay out every single item in the specific category to see it in all its glory. This will help to pick out duplicates easier, and if your child can see the scale of everything they own at once, it’ll hopefully make letting go easier.
Streamline your decluttering by setting up 3 boxes to guide you, designated for toys that are never used, that are sometimes used, and used a lot. When deciding which box a toy should go in, think about some key questions:
How much use does your child get out of it?
Is it in good condition?
Is it appropriate for their age?
Divide the toys up accordingly. The ‘never used’ pile should be donated to charity or disposed of responsibly. Keep the ‘sometimes used’ box in a hidden place and see if your child asks for a toy out of it over the following weeks. If they don’t, then donate these too. If they do, keep these toys in circulation.
Your children are on board, casting aside teddies like there’s no tomorrow – but wait! Why are they getting rid of that one? You may shock yourself to find that there are toys that you have fond memories of and you don’t want to part with.
There’s no point in keeping a toy in the collection because you want it there, but if you really can’t let it go, then there is a solution. Gather the toys which inspire that warm, nostalgic feeling inside you, and pop them in a box. Keep it in your attic or basement, or even in a self-storage unit where it will be secure and easily retrievable.
The toy decluttering process is not easy, so don’t let all your hard work unwind. Keep on top of the task by doing mini-purges often. This is especially important before gift-giving periods like Christmas and birthdays. If you declutter beforehand, you will be able to loosen up as your children excitedly unwraps more new toys.
Carrying out one intense declutter paired with lots of consequent mini-declutters, you’ll never feel the same levels of toy clutter stress again!