The War on Clutter: The Avalanche of Toys

by Melody on January 19, 2012

I am officially waging war on the clutter in our house over the next few months.  I’m going to be tackling one room at a time, making sure that each item in our house is useful, functional or just loved.  If you’re following along with me, I’m loosely following the recommendations of Stephanie O’Dea from her outrageously amazing Totally Together planner.

The focus from this past week was on our children’s toys and/or playroom.  My husband and I actually tackled this project in the week he was off work right before Christmas.  The plan was to go through everything BEFORE we got all new things to add to the collection.  We actually try to do this every 3-4 months or so.  I swear our kid’s toys multiply at night while we are sleeping.  There might even be an ugly little gnome who roams the house stealing puzzle pieces and moving things from their rightful place.

The toys in our house are in 2 places, the “bonus room” and the kids bedroom.  We basically take everything out of the toy bin and lay it out on the floor.  We first comb through and pick out missing pieces to toys, single blocks, Mr. Potato Head arms and anything else that actually has a home or other brothers and sisters somewhere in the house.  We then make a pile of broken toys or miscellaneous pieces of junk that have made their way in.

Out of the remaining toys, we then start making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.  Our youngest is 19 months, so we still had some baby toys hanging around which were easy to get rid of.  We then took a look at things that are duplicates or toys they just haven’t been playing with.

Where do we send our toys?

  • Consignment sale pile - This is where the majority of things end up.  Every spring and now in the fall, a HUGE consignment sale is put on at the church where I go to MOPS.  It is an amazing sale, where 70% of the proceeds go to the seller and 30% to a chosen charity. You tag and price your stuff, drop it off and sit back and watch it all go to folks who probably can use it much more than the boxes in your closet.  There is going to be another sale in April.  I’ll keep you updated, but you can find more information at their website in the meantime.
  • Grandma and Grandpa’s house - My parents have a significant amount of toys at their house already, but if you have duplicates of something or just aren’t ready to get rid of something, you could send it on to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  This way the toy is more of a novelty and it’s a special treat to play with it.  You also won’t have to lug toys back and forth when you visit.
  • Friends or family - If you’re anything like me, you have lots of friends going through different baby stages right now.  If you have friends with kids younger than yours, definitely ask if they want age-appropriate toys.  I love passing things on to people we love!  We also have a sharing table at MOPS that you can bring things you don’t need and/or take things you can use.
  • Goodwill or other donation spot - If you don’t have a local consignment sale that you like to participate in or have friends that want your toys, donation is a wonderful idea.  We make donation runs every few months or so and I try to use it as a teaching moment with my kids.  Although, the last time we made a drop-off was right before Christmas so I was explaining to my 3-year old that we could help out people who didn’t have a lot for the holiday.  He told Dad later that we gave our stuff to people so they could have a better Halloween.  I guess he got most of the idea.

We have honestly found that our kids play better with the toys they have when they have less.  When the toy bin starts busting at the seams, all they do is take all the toys out and then move on to something else.  When they have fewer things to play with, it seems they are more creative and more willing to play with what they have.

What are your thoughts?  How do you keep the toy clutter at bay?  Do you have any additional suggestions for getting rid of toys?

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