As Christmas approaches, there’s no doubt your kids have a list they’ve prepared for Santa–and a room already full of toys. You may even be wondering how in the world there’s anything left to put under the tree, or you may already be overwhelmed by the idea of all that will come your way by December 26th.
The minimalist movement sweeping the nation comes with many variations. You may not desire to simplify everything about your home and lifestyle, but as parents, we can all agree that minimizing our kids’ toys has many benefits. Simple Families offers a list of 6 Reasons Your Kids Need Fewer Toys, advocating that less toys actually equals more creative play and produces problem-solving skills.
If you’re considering a toy decluttering now or in the future, here are a few simple tips for getting started.
First, define your family’s boundaries.
There’s no set amount of “too many” toys. Discuss with your spouse and your kids what is an appropriate amount for your family and why. Tsh, at The Art of Simple, suggests asking these three questions as you approach the idea of toy minimization:
- Do the toys play, or do they allow the kids to play?
- Are the play things open ended?
- Do I love the idea of this toy more than my child actually loves it?
Then consider your space, your lifestyle, and your goals as you approach the decluttering process.
Second, give your kids choices and limits.
The 20 Toy Rule worked well for this DIY blogger’s family because she gave her children set parameters (i.e. Legos as a group, not individual pieces) and she allowed her kids to choose the toys they wanted. She even kept the boxed toys for a few weeks after their declutter to allow her kids to make trades. This gave her kids a measure of control within their ability to understand.
Many families advocate for choosing a toy bin or shelf and making the rule that when it is full, nothing new comes in until something moves out. Again, this gives your children a visual reference and understanding of what is the appropriate amount of toys for them.
Finally, when buying, select open ended toy items.
Imaginative play encourages kids to play longer and develop critical skills for their learning and development. By choosing to bring only certain types of toys into your home, you are cutting off the clutter at its source.
Decluttering can be stressful despite its ultimate impact. How are you keeping things simple in your home when it comes to toys?