It’s time for a toy purge. Anyone else feel this way? I feel blessed that there are so many people in my children’s lives who love and support them. These same people also like to give them gifts for Christmas and for their birthdays (both have a birthday within 3 months of Christmas), which is appreciated, but makes our house feel a little cluttered and our kids overwhelmed. I also want them to understand how fortunate they are and have the capacity to part with toys they are no longer playing with and that would make another child happy. I think most parents purge toys at least once a year, so here are five tips for a successful toy purge.
1. Go through the toys first when your kids are not around. If they aren’t old enough to participate in the purge, then you’ll only have to go through the toys once. However, if they are old enough to participate, going through the toys first will give you a chance to make your own list of what you think might be ready to give away and what toys you may just want to even stash away for another time. Doing this at the same time as you are asking your kids to make those decisions may results in confusion or stress.
2. Think long term. Are the puzzles that are not being played with ready to be given away or perhaps if you put them away and brought them out again in 6 months they would be popular again. Also think about the scope of the toy. I have noticed that my kids play with things differently as they age. Toys that can be used for pretend play or role playing may be worth keeping as your kids will find new uses for them as they age.
3. Its okay to give away toys that were gifts. This doesn’t mean that the gift was not appreciated. Your kids may have loved something for 6 months but if its time to purge it, that’s okay too.
4. Age appropriateness. Sometimes kids will play with a toy that isn’t challenging to them because its still around. If you want your kids to try some new things (more challenging puzzles or more role playing/pretend play) it might be time to get rid of the younger toys you have at home.
5. Doubles. Do you really need three trucks that look basically the same and do the same thing? Even if your child is still into trucks, assess whether quantity over quality (keeping the favourite or the one that is in the best condition) is really necessary.
Every family will have their own guidelines on how to organize the toys in their house. These are tips that I keep top of mind when we decide its time to clean out the toy room. My kids were fortunate this holiday season and have many new things that we need to make room for but I am also looking forward to boxing up some other toys and finding them a new home such as a daycare, a women’s shelter or passing them on to friends or family who may have a better use for them.