We gave up one of our bedrooms to become a play room. I know, 1st world problems. Something had to give. The toys seemed to be procreating overnight — Lego bricks being the worst offender. So we created a play room, gave the toys a home and called it good. Well, so we thought.
The thing about giving a whole room to toys is we became lazy. After a long day, it’s so much easier to shut the door (out of sight!) than go in there and make sure the toys are picked up.
This leads to a compounding problem called HUGE (albeit contained) DISASTER ZONE.
Also, being part of a large family, none of whom live near us, means more toys in the form of gifts. This is a wonderful problem (I am grateful, I promise!) to have, but a problem still. I’ve learned these last 3+ years that kids don’t need a room filled top to bottom with toys. I’ve actually noticed a correlation — the more toys received, the less they actually play with said toys and avoid the playroom altogether. I also notice my kids would rather follow me around from room to room, or just dig in the dirt outside. They might not be able to verbalize why they act this way, but what I’m gathering is the chaos and clutter is overwhelming for their little brains. They can’t really focus on a toy if they are surrounded by all the toys.
In an effort to combat the chaos, I try to purge toys a few times a year, in hopes of giving new life to some of the old and new toys bound to come in throughout the year.
This past Christmas, I had my 3yo help me put together a bag of toys to give away. After we discussed why this is a good idea (make room for new & share the old for kids who don’t have many toys!) he was game to help. It went so well, I hope to have him help me again this time around. Here’s a small guideline of what I focus on purging.
- The flimsy and broken: Aka – things that look (and perform) as though they were purchased at the dollar store and “the dollar spot.” These things last about 15 minutes and end up in pieces scattered around the playroom/ house.
- Plastic weird miscellany: I love that my kids can make a toy out of anything, but the plastic bottle, turned to a walkie talkie has to go!
- Stuffed animals dupes: My kids don’t have attachments to stuffed animals… yet. Since there are two of them, they tend to be given double the plush love.
- Coloring books and pages: If they are almost completely filled with scribbles and tiny masterpieces, then they get recycled. I take pictures of the special drawings, then see them to their final resting place.
- Broken and dried out crayons and markers: Bye! See you never.
- Puzzles with missing pieces: I mean, what a letdown when you can’t find the last piece anyway!
- Things generally out of age range and or no longer inspiring: Thank you for your service. I hope you find a good home via donation!
After the purging extravaganza, It’s fun to get my kids excited about donating. Here are some local spots who are more than willing to take gently used toys!
- The Denver Santa Claus Shop
- Wee Cycle Age appropriate for 0-3 only. There is a huge list of things they accept other than toys!
- Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
- Kids Crossing
- Salvation Army