My husband and I downloaded season 3 of HGTV’s Tiny House Nation and watched the first few episodes last night. One thing I love about this show is that they talk about decluttering – paring down to your favorite items to take to their new tiny home.
In one episode, there is a seven year old who loves his toys. There are bins full of dolls and a large doll house. At first he didn’t want to part with any of it, but when the host of the show asked this boy to pick his 5 favorite dolls, he did it with ease and joy. He also decided to gift the doll house to a friend – so sweet!
The tiny house builder, Zach, built a small doll house for the seven year old’s loft bedroom as a surprise. The seven year old was so excited and said it was even better than his old doll house. He seemed to truly enjoy his new space and the few toys he brought with him.
Most of us have a dedicated toy room for our children. There is nothing wrong with that, but is it completely full, maybe stuffed? Is it a pain to clean up, let alone asking your children to clean up?
If this sounds familiar to you, then decluttering your toy room will create a lot more space to play and make clean up a lot easier – for your kids!
One of my favorite things to do when decluttering toys is to ask kids what their favorite toys are. Even better, ask for a number (like in the Tiny House Nation episode) – what are your five favorite toys.
Try to be as specific as possible. Maybe you have a play kitchen and your kids love playing with it, but you have 4 baskets full of food and accessories. Ask your kids to fill 1 basket with their favorite kitchen supplies and donate the rest.
If you have multiple children and they each have different favorite toys – say your son loves his trucks and pirate stuff, your daughter loves her My Little Ponies and Barbies – give them each a bin and tell them that they have their own bin and can fill it with their favorite toys. Once the bin is full, that’s it. If they find something else they love and want to add it to their bin, ask them to remove something from the bin they don’t love as much as the new item.
Another game I like to play is – pick your favorite and pick one to donate. I lay out a hand full of toys – a guitar, a puzzle, a car ramp, airplane, cash register, a doll, and a toy computer. Then I have the child pick his favorite item of the bunch to keep and one item he no longer likes playing with to donate. Then I repeat.
You will eventually run into your kids saying – but I like them all. That’s ok. If they have made some progress, praise them for what they have accomplished and say - OK I understand. In a month or 3 you can always try again. Starting out fresh, your children will be ready to say goodbye to a few more items.
You may be thinking that it would be too hard to down size the amount of toys your children have. You want them to be happy and all those toys were given to your children to bring them joy.
Decluttering can be a challenging process, your kids may fight it when you start. They may ask questions about where their toys went or that they want them back.
One thing you can do to make the transition a little easier is to store the toys you plan on donating in the basement – out of sight. If your child, in the next month, asks for one of those toys, you can return it to the toy room. That is OK. After that first month, donate the remainder of the stored toys.
Your kids may say something once in a while – Remember when we had that doll, I really liked that doll. Acknowledge their feelings – Yes, I remember. And then remind them of the toy they love more – You also really love your other doll sitting on your bed, right? If your child says – But I want my old doll. You can say – OK, maybe you can put it on your wish list for Christmas/Birthday.
When it comes to those holidays later and your child has 10 items on his/her list. Ask your child which one he/she really wants.
While these scenarios can happen, it won’t be your daily or even weekly story. You will find that your kids are content and happy with their favorite toys that remain. They will get a little more creative with the items they have – which is a plus! They will play better and be bored less often (I know that sounds weird, but that has been my experience – maybe because they are using their creativity more).
In the end, all our children really need from us to be happy is our unconditional love. You don’t need a room full of toys. Just sitting down and coloring with your daughter or building a castle out of legos with your son once in a while will bring them joy!
If you would like help decluttering your toy room, contact me. I would be honored to help you create a toy room that has more breathing room and inspires your children’s creativity.
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