9 Tips for Purging Your Kid's Toys
If you haven’t started the trend of “Tidying Up,” then don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to! Want to know a little bit more about this process, then head on over to this blog post to hear about how I took on the trendy Konmari style in our home.
So purging toys is something I do on the regular but with a bigger emphasis right before/after birthdays and Christmas. I LOVE purging toys because as much as I love my cute, little kids, there toys are the bulk of the messes around here. But hey, I’m not complaining because #blessed.
However purging through toys is important to me because of several reasons. For starters I have done quite a bit of reading on toys + children and how it negatively impacts their ability to play well. Too many choices and too many toys leads to more boredom and an overwhelming feeling because there is just too much stuff. Children thrive best if toys are easily accessible, open play style toys, imaginative toys and visible for them to get a hold of. Is this the case for every child? No, absolutely not! But the general consensus is that less is more when it comes to toys.
So since this is something we do on the regular, I want to share some of my easy tips with you today!
Include your children. This of course depends on their age and I won’t lie, it took a few conversations to ever get my children on board with it. But first my five year old understood and cleaned out her toys for me right before her fifth birthday and then again after this past Christmas. She understands the toys are going to children who don’t have many or any toys. Finally, after many times of asking my toddler if she wanted to give some toys away - she did. Read on to learn how!
Lead by example. My children have seen me clean out my closet MANY times and gather many bags around our home to donate. Recently I brought two large trash bags full of my clothes to donate and my three year old kept asking if I was sad to give my things away or if I was going to cry. I explained that it made me happy to give my clothes to people who needed them. The whole ride home that sweet girl talked about everything she was going to give away. And she did. We went through all of her clothes and toys and to be honest, I even had to talk her out of giving away a few, NEW and loved toys! Lead by example and they will follow.
Have a guideline for what to toss. If it is broken toss. If the batteries don’t work and you KNOW you will not go on a hunt for this random shaped batter, then toss it. There have been many toys in our home that go to the grave once their batteries run down. If you have duplicate toys then this is a good thing to donate as well. For me personally, I try to think about if the toy actually stimulates their imagination and provides lots of open play. If it’s just some battery operated toy that sings or something, I usually donate it if I know my children don’t touch it often.
Get rid of them immediately. Out of sight, out of mind here! I have found that when I make donation bags and then stack them in the laundry room while I wait to finish “gathering” donation items, then some of the toys make their way back into our home. Just go bring them right away!
Break the cycle of sentiment. I am so guilty of this. I can’t tell you how many stuffed animals I want to hold onto for my first born simply because I know each and every person that gave them to her and why they did. Over time I have worked on breaking that cycle. While yes there may be certain stuffies, dolls or keepsakes that you want to hold onto for sentimental reasons, don’t be afraid to toss something just because you know it was a “gift.” 90% of my kids’ toys are gifts and unfortunately some toys just don’t make the cut around here. We are always so grateful for the gift and most toys stick around a year (some longer obviously) but if it isn’t being played with, then there’s no point in holding onto it just because it was a present. I’ve heard of mothers say they don’t want to clean out their kids toys because “these were all gifts” but there comes a time where that gift can be passed on to others.
Have conservations about it. If there’s a particular toy that you KNOW your child never touches but for some reason the child doesn’t want to part with it, then don’t force them. Ask them to find something else and have a conversation about that particular toy and why it is worth keeping. After they discuss their emotions with it, they may actually realize that it isn’t as special as they thought.
Know where to bring your toys. I personally don’t like to support places like Goodwill and much prefer places that work with churches, Veterans or shelters. I’ll also bring to the Salvation Army as well.
Don’t lie about why their toys disappeared. If you purge their toys without them and then two months later they want to know where the Mickey Mouse is that they NEVER played with, don’t lie to them. Tell them you cleaned their room to make space for NEW toys one day and that the toys they didn’t play with too often went to children in need.
Don’t think a happy kid is a spoiled kid. I know that we all want to give our children the world. Believe me, I know. I am guilty of adding more stocking stuffers just because a week before Christmas my child starts saying she hopes Santa brings her tons of LOL Dolls. But the truth is, children don’t need a lot of toys to thrive and our love shouldn’t be shown through toys (easier said than done). I was quite thrilled when we recently separated our girl’s rooms and I realized that individually they actually didn’t have a lot of toys, but then Christmas came a few weeks later and here we are again! ;) I find as each holiday and each year passes, I learn more and more that we can even give less sometimes than we do. But yes, I do love to spoil them big for those Christmases and birthdays, but that’s about the only times they get things like that.
There are times where I can purge my kid’s rooms and a week later I am still overwhelmed by the madness of toys. The truth is, every little bit matters; not just because you’re freeing yourselves of clutter but because every little bit is going to others in need AND is teaching your children a valuable lesson.
If your children are not on board with the idea, then do it when they’re not home. You should have a general idea of what they like and don’t like and you should be able to see which toys are broken or no longer age appropriate. I also found it difficult at first to get rid of board books, but the truth was that we had TOO many and what a better thing than to pass on the gift of reading!
I encourage you this week to get together with your children and see if you can fill up a bag of toys to bring to someone in need! You never know how much your children may love this lesson!