How To Declutter Toys – When Your Kids Don’t Want To
Hey mama! I have written about the benefits of decluttering your kids toys, and how my kids personally benefited when we downsized the amount of toys we had to just ONE suitcase.
Our situation was unique because we were making a move across the continent from Alaska to Florida without the funds to move all of our stuff with us, but your situation is also unique and you can absolutely downsize the amount of toys you have and keep.
So this article is not so much about the benefits of less toys, as it is more the how to declutter side of this. Especially when your kids are resistant to purging the toys!
I believe in children’s autonomy and respect their space and things.
However, I am still the mom and to me that means I also have a responsibility to be their leader and the gatekeeper of our home. So here are some ways that I continue to regularly purge our kids toys, and some helpful tips to keep it a positive AND productive experience for the whole family.
I never want this advice and experience to bring out the “mean mom” and the resistance. So here are some ways to do this positively!
Start by sharing your WHY with the family.
This reason may not be understood by them at first – but small, consistent changes to the feel of your home matter.
…you feel like there is too much to manage, and the toys are not being played with or treated like they should.
…you are tired of cleaning up after them.
…you have run out of space and want to reclaim your home.
…toys are scattered throughout the house and its overwhelming because you don’t know where things go, and neither do your kids.
…your kids are seeming overstimulated and overwhelmed by the mess.
…their play isn’t engaging and despite a house full of toys they are always bored.
Maybe it’s none of these reasons! But whatever your reason is – I know its coming from a place of wanting a more peaceful, positive, pleasant home to be in for your family. Express that to your family members. That as a mom, your reasoning is to create a space that is fun and easy to play in. With cluttered toys, that is not possible.
Whatever your reason – keep it positive. Not a passive aggressive “well I’m the one who cleans up the toys and am deciding to get rid of them instead of continuing to be your servant”. Don’t do that! 😉
Start with the broken/missing pieces
Get rid of anything that is broken, worn out or missing pieces. This is a very practical and easy place to start and really doesn’t need to have the kids involved in the process. You are literally going through and beginning by eliminating the trash disguised as toys. If you can’t play with it, or it’s incomplete it’s not something to keep. You wouldn’t keep your blender if the blades were broken. Or if it was missing the lid. The same concept applies to toys. If they are broken or incomplete they are a waste of space.
Next – Designate a space for toys
This keeps it a positive experience again. Children thrive on having autonomy, their own space and to have that respected.
A helpful tip for this is to FIRST designate a space for toys depending on your space. Whatever you decide, make that THE area. If you have multiple children with their own rooms you can designate their own individual spaces. But whatever you decide I strongly recommend having single purpose rooms. A living room is a living room, keep only items meant for relaxing there. A bedroom can be dual purpose for sleep and play, but at least you know that is the designated space for toys.
Creating this space will start to prime your child for the next step.
Choose what to keep based on what fits
I recommend including your child in this next step for the sake of respecting their autonomy and encouraging them to begin taking ownership of their space and the things in it.
Now is the time for you to go through toys with your child and choose what to keep. Since you have a designated space to play and store toys now this should be fairly simple – and FUN.
Children LOVE to go through toys, organize, stage, and basically create their play space to be something they want.
Focus on putting the toys they love and want to keep in a designated space in their room/play room/shelves.
As they go through and start to realize that not all the toys will be staying, start having the conversation of where those toys will go. Maybe
…A family in need who doesn’t have toys
…Someone who is in the right age range to play with those toys
…Someone who will take the time to play with the toys like it deserves.
Also continue the conversation of “we are doing this so that your space is a fun and easy to place, but also an easy place to clean up.” Having an easy place to clean up is a pretty big motivator for my kids and they know that when there is too much, it’s hard, and takes a long time, and not fun. So when we regularly purge they are happy to do so!
The whole goal here is to keep it simple, and keep it POSITIVE.
The final step
Once you have decided what to keep, get the rest out quickly. What happens is that it’s sitting right there in your and your kids’ face. They will see something they forgot about, and think they want it. When something is right in your face where you continue to see it – you want it. When it comes to toys though, out of sight out of mind is SO true. If you want some more helpful tips and pointers when it comes to toys, get your free simple toy e-book below!