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After Christmas I was on a mission. I realize this mission probably should have started before all the new Christmas toys took over our home, but better late than never, right? Let me start by saying I have two VERY active children. Olivia, she is almost five years old and Liam who is currently fourteen months going on four. I say this because he mimics everything his sister does. Therefore, if she brings her entire room into our living room, he does the same.
Checking out all of their new toys on Christmas.
Going from having two children vs. one was a huge adjustment for me. It only took an entire year to come to the realization that the children’s toys were slowly taking over our 3 bedroom home. Toys in the living room, toys in my bedroom, toys in the kitchen and even in the bathroom! There are toys pretty much everywhere in the home except where they should be, in my kid’s rooms. I soon realized after showering with 3 dinosaurs and a spatula (yes a spatula) that change needed to happen and it needed to happen soon.
(I wasn’t joking about the dinosaurs or spatula!)
I honestly think my breaking point was when I noticed my children really did not know what they had. The reason why was because they have such an abundance of toys that it too was overwhelming for them. How do you choose from twenty different light-up toys when they all sing different songs? How can you decide on which Lalaloopsy doll to play with when you have ten different dolls with different hairstyles, dramatic clothing and they each have a different pet animal? I mean, at five years old, these are difficult decisions.
I sat my 5 year old down to let her know that it was time for some of her toys to go to a new home. She looked at me with a blank face, emotionless and at first I wasn’t sure if she was evening listening. Then she just said, “okay!” Really, that was it? I am sorry if you do not get the same reaction out of your child, I think I am still a little shocked!
This is the process we used to help get rid of at least 75% of their toys and organize what they did have so that they could really spend time and enjoy the toys they didn’t even know existed.
These are the steps I took to reduce my children’s toys and declutter our home:
1. Filter out broken toys first. It is much easier for a child to part with a toy that is missing pieces or not working properly.
2. Then decide which toys the children are done playing with or rarely ever did play with. I usually sort through the electronic toys first being I’m not a huge fan of them to begin with.
3. Use a storage container to fill with toys to save. If you have another child like I do, then some of the older toys may be worth saving for other siblings as they get older.
4. Still too many toys? We do a you pick, I pick game. I put the rest of the toys in a pile and she picks a toy to keep and one to give to another child. We may go through this process several times until we get down to an amount that is reasonable for us to keep.
5. We purchased the Expedite Storage at our local Ikea and I’m proud to say I put it together by myself. We were able to organize each cube with toys so that when my daughter wanted to play I would get the cube down one at a time. She was not allowed to play with any other toys until this container put back with the toys inside.
Giving away tradition.
We are now starting a tradition. Every week before birthdays and Christmas we will be going through the children’s toys and take them to Toys for Tots so that another child can love them too. Not only does this help declutter our home but giving away toys is a good way to set a positive example for children to share and help others.