Keeping the Toy Clutter at Bay


Recently, a friend asked me how I handled toys. Specifically, how to avoid buying excessively , and how to decide what and how much should be kept.

It is so easy for toys to overtake your home. Whether you are the one buying them, well meaning relatives and friends send them, or it is a combination of both,  they add up quickly! My husband and I decided early on that we would not buy toys (or anything for that matter)  impulsively. Our daughter’s birthday is in December, right before Christmas, so she ends up with A LOT all at once.

In the months leading up to her birthday this past year, I purged the clothes and toys that she had outgrown or wasn’t interested in playing with, making room for the new things coming her way. This method worked really well for us, so I plan to continue it this year and the years following.

Since December, we have bought a handful of consumable items (bubbles, crayons, chalk, etc..), some outdoor play things (sandbox, water table, gardening tools), and a membership to our local Science Center. I have found that Penelope plays longer and is more interested in a toy/book/activity if choices are limited, so I rotate her things from upstairs to downstairs to keep them fresh and to reduce the amount available at one time. She has one basket in the living room and three small bins in her room. This seems to work for our needs (and hers)!

If impulse buying when you’re out is a problem, I would suggest carrying cash and making a list. I am much more disciplined to avoid impulse purchases when sticking to a list. In addition, paying in cash is another strategy I use to prevent myself from overspending or buying things I don’t need.  Once that money is gone, it’s gone, making me more mindful of what I choose to spend it on.

Ultimately,  how much you chose to allow your child to have is your decision. There is no right or wrong in this instance. Once you find an amount your comfortable with, keep the toys that get played with the most, while allowing the others to be donated.  If your child is older, let them help! I am amazed by how candid and honest children are and more often than not, they are capable and willing to help- especially if they know their unused or unwanted toys will go to other children!

If you consistently implement these tips, controlling the toy clutter in your home will be a breeze!


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