As a Professional Organizer, one of my favorite organizing tips is a good toy purge before holidays and birthdays. Gifts from Santa, parents, grandparents, friends, and family start to trickle in during this time of year, and preparing for this influx ahead of time can help prevent the overwhelm and exhaustion of what to do with all that stuff! As we all know...the holiday season tends to get pretty busy very quickly. Squeezing a toy purge into your schedule will be well worth the time!
While it's important to work on paring down toys to make room for incoming gifts, I'm also going to touch on the additional benefits of toy decluttering with your kiddos. This time of year is a perfect opportunity to grow compassion in your child’s heart, train selflessness, and teach them how good it feels to think outside of themselves! There is no greater need for donations in the community than this time of year!
4 Reasons To Purge Toys Before Christmas
Toys should have a purpose. Some toys are only gathering dust. If you find that a toy’s only purpose is to sit around and gather dust, that’s no purpose at all.
Space is valuable. There are toys in your home that are taking up space. A cluttered, crowded space can cause stress in your home.
It is easier to clean up fewer toys. The fewer toys your kids have, the less time it takes to clean them up. The less time it takes to clean up, the less overwhelming the process is…which means you are motivated to do it more often. Do you know the best part about an easy-to-clean play area? You can teach your kids to do it themselves.
Inspire and teach empathy. Ask your child to imagine that they didn’t have any toys and that their parents couldn’t afford to buy them. Ask them how they might feel and if receiving a good new toy would help them feel better or happy in that situation. Empathy is an important life skill, so it’s a great way to practice it.
Do You Declutter With Your Children?
I feel you know your children's personality traits best to know whether it's a good idea or not. I do feel that if the child is too young to make those choices then it’s up to you as a parent to declutter without them. However, the older they get, I feel that involving your children in the process helps them to better understand the importance of your family's values by donating their toys to children and families in need. Also, by having them have a hand in what toys to keep they will have a greater appreciation for the toys that remain in their care.
Have A Donation Plan
By having a donation plan in place you can talk with your children during the decluttering process about exactly where their toys will be going. I suggest taking your child/children with you so they see how their toys are helping others. By exposing your kids to different charities from an early age, they will learn that there are all kinds of people and life experiences in this world. They will begin to see and truly understand that there will always be someone less fortunate. Grasping this concept early will help your kids to grow up with a grateful attitude.
Here are a few suggestions for where you can donate your toys:
Search online for local charities and choose an organization that’s going to support kids in your community.
Contact nearby children’s homes to see if they could use them. Chances are, they would appreciate the donation.
Donate to your children's school or daycare to see if they could use them!
Reach out to nearby churches, which often support families in the community and may know of someone who could directly benefit from them.
How To Declutter Your Toys
Compile All The Toys:
Grab all the toys that made their way into the car, under the couch, playroom, bedrooms, etc. Get them all in one spot, clean sweep style!
Sort By Type:
By grouping all the like items you can highlight what can be reduced. Also, realizing the sets/puzzles/games that are no longer complete will help you get rid of them. It is helpful to have things on hand to use for sorting. Bins, baskets, storage zipper bags, sharpies, and masking tape.
Purge Based On Your Criteria:
The easy first: let go of all toys that are broken, excessive duplicates, or missing parts to a set. Then move to the harder step and get rid of the toys that don’t fit your “keep criteria.” I suggest keeping toys for the following reasons:
Can be used in a variety of ways
Encourage creativity and imaginative play
Build skills or are educational
Will grow with your kids
Are easy to store/maintain
Are good quality
You can also ask yourself these 3 simple questions.
Is this toy adding to my child’s life and time in a positive way?
Is this toy played with every day?
Is this toy valued and looked for when it’s missing?
If you answer no to any of these questions, consider donating the toy.
Toys should have a specific spot in your home. When items have a designated place it makes clean-up easier. It's also important to put boundaries on how many items your child can have. I'll use stuffed animals as an example. I have a client whose daughter has a small wooden chest where she keeps all of her stuffies. If she gets a new stuffie and it won't fit into the chest she has to donate one to make room. The stuffies cannot exceed the wooden chest. That is the boundary that the parents have set for their daughter.
Please feel free to refer to the Go-To-Guide For Decluttering Toys below.
Have your child be a part of the process, and find a donation method you feel good about. Use the donation experience to establish a family tradition of providing for others. Clearing out toys should be happening throughout the year so that there is not a mad rush at Christmas time. Establishing a regular routine to declutter kid items encourages this behavior in your kids and makes it a lot easier to keep the clutter at bay throughout the year.
Want more tips on home organizing?
You can follow A Meaningful Space on Instagram and Facebook for more photos and ideas for home organizing tips, before and afters, and other organizing fun. If you are struggling with routines, time management, or clutter in your home, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help you!