Solving The Toy Clutter Conundrum

Toys, toys and more toys. There comes a time when every parent will ask themselves, where did they all come from?  Typically, the answers are having too many toys occupying the same space in which you live, for others it’s too many unused or outgrown toys that simply need a new home. So how do you reduce the toy clutter and still keep the peace?

Make It A Team Effort

While I’ve tried a toy cleanse both with my boys and without them, the most successful and less traumatizing option has been to include them in the event. We always begin armed with a trash bag and 3 boxes (Keep, Put Aside, Donate). We’ll begin with all the broken toys, which are automatically relegated to the trash bag. Next, each toy should only be touched once and placed into one of the remaining three bins. Additionally, having them involved prevents me from getting trapped in the mental struggle of “they might use it again” or “is it this one they like or that one.”

Plead To Their Gentler Side

My kids love helping others. This can be delicately used against them when it comes to the great toy purge. I’m consistently reminding my boys that their toys are going to other children who may not be as fortunate. This has made them far more willing to part with non-essential toys and even consider relinquishing toys they hadn’t considered before.

Money Talks And The Toys Walk

Don’t be above a bribe. I’ve heard from more than a few parents that they’ll offer their kids a monetary incentive for each toy they donate, from as little as a dime to more than a quarter depending on size and possible emotional value. Obviously, broken toys or those missing pieces do not qualify for this technique and key to protecting your pocketbook. Savvy kids looking to pad their wallets to help replenish their dwindling toy stock may entertain taking advantage of your new found generosity. So, before diving in, take an inventory of what lies ahead before committing to a particular per-item amount.

Grandparents To The Rescue

If you’ve reached this point and you’re still facing resistance on a large number of toys, offer a compromise. Move the toys that aren’t frequently played with to a grandparent or another relatives home when possible. This allows your child who’s not quite ready to let go of a cherished toy continue to have a sense of possession, but you have reduced the clutter in your home in the process.

Compassion & Compromise

Respect and understand your child’s feelings during this process. While purging their toys to reduce clutter feels good to you, chances of them being on the same page is very unlikely.  Regardless of how gently you handle the situation, your child may feel resentment, hurt and even confused. It’s not worth hurting feelings to remove one extra Transformer from the toy box.

While some of these solutions should work for you, clearing the clutter really comes down to answering a few basic questions and deciding what’s best for all involved: Do we have the space? Does it get used? Does it hold an emotional or sentimental value?

Photo Source: Pottery Barn


Leave a Reply