Most families have too much stuff, and that includes kids’ toys. Most parents have had the slapstick comedy scene where you get up to check on something in the house, a noise perhaps, and tread on a squeaky toy or slide across the room and land on your bottom after stepping onto a skateboard or some such rolly thing. Then there’s the clutter that ends up driving you crazy if you have nowhere to store the mountain of toys the kids just had to have or that grandparents have bought over the years. If you have only one area in the house to relax, for the kids to play, toys can be a problem. If you get tired of telling the kids to pick up their toys, but the toybox is well and truly overflowing, maybe it’s time to get organised.
It seems counterintuitive but the fewer toys kids seem to have cluttering up the overfull toybox, the more they play what’s in there. Some boys will stick to their favourites such as the fire engines, plastic dinosaurs, and fast cars. Culling them would be an obvious mistake, but you could consider removing the small plastic rubbishy things such as Kinder surprises, and stuff they get for free at fast food outlets. If you leave the kids’ favourite toys around to play with, they won’t notice the cull.
You could be the one reluctant to let go of your kids’ baby toys or toddler toys, even though nobody plays with them, and if so you’re not the only one. Some parents find it hard to do, maybe thinking they’ll have more kids and will need the toys. Giving them up might mean your baby days are over, and that can be sad, but you might find a mother in need somewhere who can’t afford toys for her baby, and that would be a panacea for your grief. And my kids will barely notice their baby toys gone, unless it’s a favourite cuddly toy they’ve had since birth. You would never part with that.
The simplest way of avoiding these nasty little beggars that cut into your bare feet if left lying around and you don’t see them scattered on the floor is to ditch them and don’t buy any more. They often come in party bags and other fun things but if the choice is yours, don’t use them. It will mean no more happy meals, but you’ll be healthier, have less pesky little bits cluttering your house and have more money. It’s cheaper to just get a plain burger and chips and to take your own water (in a glass bottle – think of the plastic cluttering up the oceans).
One good way to clear the clutter is to teach your kids’ the joy of giving their unwanted toys away to other children in need, or donating them to charity. However, it’s all in the way you approach the subject and how old they are. Mr five can perhaps begin to understand how much more he has than some other kids and might show some enthusiasm in helping others. If your kids are older, have a chat with them about giving away to other kids in need those toys they don’t play with anymore.
If you don’t have a playroom it doesn’t matter. The specified play area doesn’t have to be a whole room but you will need a place where the toys reside, which could be one corner of the lounge room. Mind you, the toys will no doubt rarely stay there, but will be spread throughout the house. However, when it’s pick up toys time they have their own place to go. Your child will probably have learned the art of toy tidiness at preschool so make it a game.
It’s more often the case that clutter is a problem because there’s nowhere to store the toys. If you have a small house you’ll need multipurpose storage, for instance, a toy box that serves as a bench. It will need a hard top that can go over the box if there’s a need for extra seating.
Grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren with gifts and such and that’s a special joy for them and the kids. Without taking that away, you’ll need to talk to both sets of grandparents and gently explain how your house is too small for all those toys, or that you‘re teaching your kids to be mindful of waste. A good idea is for the toys Gran or Pa buy be left at the grandparents’ house so there’s something the kids can play with when they visit.
Toy libraries are a great idea for anyone who wants to declutter and also give the kids a thrill by going to a special place where they can find toys they want to play with and take them home for a couple of weeks or a month, then go back and change them. If there’s a toy library in your area, the small fee is worth the joy for the whole family. Toy libraries are usually stocked with high-quality toys that still have the ‘new’ feel so kids play with them a lot. To find a toy library near you check out https://www.toylibraries.org.au.
Alex Morrison has been an avid digital marketer for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including toys, children’s products and services. As the owner of Integral Media he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.