Get Ready for New Gifts with a Pre-Holiday Toy Clean-Out
The holidays are right around the corner which means a new influx of toys will soon invade your living space. Start a toy clean-out before the holidays to avoid drowning in clutter after Santa visits. We have some tips to help you along the way.
Toss: The easiest place to start is with a toy clean-out are toys that are broken or missing pieces. You may be surprised at how many puzzles or sets are missing too many pieces to be fun anymore and how much space can be made by tossing toys that are better off in the trash.
Take Stock: Take a good look around at toys that haven’t been touched in months or that were once loved but are no longer developmentally appropriate. Take a hard look at toys that were never really played with in the first place. No matter how much you thought your daughter would love the big dollhouse or your son would like the Hot Wheels track, if they never took to it, it’s time to let it go.
Cycle: Decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of toys. Taking toys that don’t get played with very much but still get used out of circulation for a while can help your house stay neat and tidy while allowing you to avoid tough decisions and what to keep and what to toss. Find a place in your basement or attic and alternate which toys are out of view for a while. This can help you make room for new toys as well as make old toys seem new again when they reappear.
Let Go: Some toys we keep around for sentimental reasons. Does it make you smile to think of how much your son loved his stacking rings as a baby or how much your daughter loved her squeaky giraffe from when she was six months old? Realize when it’s time to let go and come up with a plan. If the toy is something that may last until you have grandchildren, start a box for heirloom toys. If it’s something that has obviously been well loved, take a photo and write down your sweet memories – then toss it.
Do a Test: Not sure if your child will miss a toy or not? Try moving it out of view for a week or two. If your child doesn’t notice it’s gone, it’s probably safe to toss. If he asks for the toy back, you can “find” it with no harm done. Also, see if your child can do with less of something. Is the toy kitchen overflowing with pretend food? Does your child love puzzles and you now have several dozen? Try cutting the amount in half and see if she notices.
Get Buy-In: Children who are preschool age and older may be able to help you decide what they are done with and what they want to keep. You can also be crafty by telling them that Santa really wants to bring her new toys but isn’t sure there will be enough room if you don’t get rid of some toys now.
Donate: It can be easier to get rid of toys when you know they are going to go to a new child to love. Ask around in your community for where to donate toys. There may be needy preschools or daycares in your community who could use some gently used toys or a family with children in need. Donating toys to thrift stores that part of charities helps lower-income children have access to great toys while helping those in need.
Be Thorough: Although it may seem obvious, be sure to go through everywhere in your home that has toys. That means checking your child’s bedroom, the living room, the car, and anywhere else toys might migrate.
Be Broad: When decluttering toys, use a broad definition of what you consider a play item. Books can multiply as children move on from board books to picture books. Take stock of the books your child has outgrown or doesn’t like to read and pass them along to another child or donate them to the library. Check your kitchen for any kid-friendly cooking tools you have lying around that never get used and so on.
Be Aware: The best way to declutter is to watch what you bring into the house in the first place. When you declutter, don’t look at the newly available space as room that needs to be filled. Instead, look for non-toy gifts, like experiences, that will enrich your child’s life without adding to the mess.
Do you have any go-to tips for a successful toy clean-out? Share in the comments!