Parents across the nation are looking around their homes and wondering how to clear the toy clutter that appears to take over every room. Take a look at the toy clutter from your child’s perspective and then read how you can help solve your toy clutter woes.
Ah, that magic moment – the moment in a young child’s life when she realises that A + B = C. Parent + toy store = new stuff! Many parents hit a point of “Enough already!” when the steady inflow of toys reaches a peak. Fear not. There are peaceful, respectful methods for dealing with toy overflow and creating a living space that works for both you and your child.
See the Toys from Your Child’s Perspective
Remember that toys are your child’s tools for daily living, as important to him as your washing machine or car keys might be to you. Although it may look like “too many toys” to you, toys are part of the basis for his imagining, pretending, exploring, experimenting, and creating. Are they entirely necessary? No. Are they deeply loved? Yes.
What to do with the toys you already have? First, love them. Yes, sit amongst the toy clutter and love what your child gets from playing with all her toys. Love how your child’s life is so much bigger than her possessions and how it would be perfectly possible for her to be happy with half the amount of toys or just a few toys. Watch her play and love how happy she is with all the toys she has right now.
Clearing Toy Clutter
How to Organise Toys
Then organise. Find a spot in your home that will accommodate several clear bins, and stow away those toys that are being ignored right now. Sort according to category and label your bins so it will be easy to go back and retrieve desired items or to go on an in-house shopping excursion with your child.
Your child may want to help you with this process. Stick to peaceful toy solutions, and don’t force it. The chances are that your child will appreciate a cleared-up playspace full of the toys he loves best. Whether he helps you or not, you’ll both benefit.
Now that you’re a paragon of toy organisation remember to rotate! About once a month or however frequently works for you and your child, repeat the process of noticing which toys have been ignored, packing them away, and bringing out new “old” ones that seem fun.
What About Giving Them Away?
You most certainly can give toys away if they’re yours to give. In fact, that’s where parents tend to go first: These toys have got to go! There’s one problem with this, though. Your child may not agree, may not be ready to let her possessions go yet. She may even need a couple of years before she’s genuinely interested in how to organise toys and release the ones she no longer needs.
Can you suggest garage sales and donations? Go right ahead. Should you manipulate your child through incentives or bribes? If you’d like to encourage even more possessiveness or hoarding in the future, a sense of insecurity about ownership and stability, that’s probably the path you should follow. Consider moving beyond manipulation, though. Share your ideas, but be respectful of your child’s right-now wishes. She will move on when it’s time, and there are plenty of solutions for dealing with toy overflow in the meantime.
What if you’re still itching to sort and purge? No problem. Focus on where you have “too many toys.” The chances are that you have a stash of possessions somewhere, a cluttered drawer or closet that could use some renewal.
Remember that suggesting costs you nothing while bringing about a toy purge through force or manipulation comes at the cost of a healthy relationship and open communication with your child. Satisfy the urge to purge with your own possessions, and wait until your child is ready to do the same. When you stick to peaceful toy solutions, you’ll have an organised home and a healthy relationship with your child.