Too many toys!

  1. I only have two kids but the toy situation quickly spiralled out of control so I started doing a toy rotation. Every couple of months I switch the boxes and then go through the toys, clean them, and throw out any broken ones. I remind the kids that I have to discard the broken toys before I do it so they aren’t as upset. I give them a chance to help me if they want to. We take the toy, give it a hug, thank it for the love/fun and then put it in the bin. Sometimes the kids want a photo with it and sometimes it takes a couple of days for them to let go so I let them go at their own pace.

  2. My kids had a very hard time getting rid of the broken ones, and so I made a Santa box. Any broken toy get shipped to Santa. He then repairs them to give to other little boys and girls who would love to have toys like they got to enjoy. They actually ended up adding a few toys that were barely broken so that Santa could share them with other kids!

  3. We have a “bye bye box” - an old shoebox the broken toy goes into while we remember all the fun we had playing with it, and time to draw a nice picture of it in the sketchbook to remember it by (my kid draws the picture, in his sketchbook.. we’re not that crazy lol).

  4. So many great recommendations already. I'll add - as cliché as it is- This time will be gone in a blink! I can say this with authority as the mom of older kids who had WAY too many things. It drives us all crazy until the day that you realize they don't want to play with toys anymore. Roles reverse and you may find yourself a bit nostalgic for the days when your house was littered with toys and the “mommy”/”daddy” never stops. Lots of love and luck!

  5. Very true! I scan my house all the time and just know, sooner rather than later, it’ll all be gone. It’s an annoyance for us for so short a time in the end. Our home is small and full of fun for now. I am currently going through their rooms today, but I do not press hard. As I organize, I accept what they choose to let go, and I give them choices in what they keep.

  6. Don’t remove toys (edit; against their will/without them knowing) for your children unless you want future hoarders. Let them have some decision making in the process to instil positive future traits in decluttering.

  7. Dana K White also has some great ideas for kids, where she advocates letting their room, bookcase, closet and / or shelves determine how many toys and books they can have. Let them fit what they can in the space with their favorites first and they need to let go of the rest.

  8. THANK YOU for including that comment about removing toys without a child knowing - my mother did that frequently and it had a negative ripple effect into my adulthood

  9. My guy is still small, but I plan to use my mom’s approach. Before birthdays and Christmas, she would say we needed to pick old toys to give to kids who didn’t have any toys. She would set a reasonable goal (like, get rid of 3 toys), and then she would really lay on the praise of how nice we were to share our toys with other kids. It really helped create a spirit of generosity, and any “where’s my X” would be answered with “remember? We let other kids have that toy! That was so nice!”

  10. This was my suggestion also. Donation. Getting your kids to know their privilege and their power to make a difference at the same time as decluttering

  11. Please also realize that kids who are neurodiverse (I was called sensitive a lot, finally diagnosed with ADHD at 49) forget what toys they have sometimes. I’m a very out of sight out of mind person. My mother threw out a lot of my things because I wasn’t able to clean my room, and it still bothers me now. I’m not saying your daughter is ND, but if she’s sensitive, like to rejection or negativity, or even sound and light) be gentle on her. Our brains just don’t work like yours do.

  12. My son and husband also have intense feeling about their stuff and their environment. I definitely go softly and with lots of sensitivity when even discussing decluttering.

  13. Yea my mom constantly forcing me to declutter things definitely didnt go as planned for her bc i literally brought plushies to college, i keep buying nostalgic toys for myself like rainbow loom and heelies because i feel like i lost so much of my childhood and now that im an adult i still want my toys back haha. Id say try and make letting go of their toys have a possitive emotion attached to it. Show them the toy story movie where he gives his old toys to bonnie and how much she loves them. Do the same thing and let them see other kids enjoying things that dont spark joy for them anymore, it'll make them feel better about it. (Or jealous and want it back, who knows, kids are all unique haha)

  14. that's actually the best part of regular clean/purge days with my ADHD kiddo - it made him remember toys he really did love that had been out of sight out of mind. Going through all the cubbies and drawers and looking at all the things makes you remember what's there.

  15. I’ve often wondered if my daughter is ND. Her father and I were both diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago. It explains MY entire childhood. and then a couple years later her brother was diagnosed. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has ADHD. When she was 4, I got rid of a really loud, noisy toy that she didn’t play with often. To this day, 3 years later, she still mentions that toy and how sad she is that I donated it. And I still feel awful because I honestly wouldn’t have gotten rid of it if I had thought she’d miss it that much.

  16. I do this as well. It works pretty well because new toys are exciting, so he’s usually willing to part with an old one.

  17. I start by listing off a bunch of things I'd like to get rid of: "I was thinking your blocks, your big legos, the potato head stuff, the kitchen and pretend food, your magna tiles, and this big truck you never play with." I know going in that I'd be happy if we got rid of two or three of those things, so he gets to save things if he wants to.

  18. I have three kids too and I feel you 100%, down to the sentimental middle child… We have the deal that we declutter before Christmas. Also we put stuff in the attic for a while before we give it away, that way it’s not really gone and they can exchange stuff from their room back to the attic and vice versa. My oldest has started selling some of his stuff at school organized fleamarkets, which is a fantastic incentive that can be tried with older kids. Good luck!

  19. I usually use their birthday or Christmas as a reason to part with toys. "Hey buddy, people want to buy you gifts. We need to make room if you want new stuff."

  20. The key to this for other parents who haven't made this mistake yet is to very carefully buy possessions. They would appreciate creating a savings account for the future even more. Especially if family and friends contribute to it instead of physical items.

  21. This is the perfect time of year to explain that Christmas is coming up (assuming you celebrate it) and you don’t want them coming up with a long list for Christmas if they can’t get rid of some of the old stuff first… same goes for birthdays

  22. My eldest was like that: she largely ignored a lot of her toys, but if I was openly about to throw it out she would get really sentimental about it.

  23. I let my kids choose what toys they want to get rid of, then I take them (and whatever else) to a thrift store. Whenever I cash out, I split the money between the kids. This incentivizes them to part with toys they no longer play with but are in good condition.

  24. What helps me when I want to keep everything is ranking things. I put them in order from „want to keep most“ to „want to keep least“ and then get rid of the bottom 40 percent. Or whatever you’re comfortable with

  25. My kids get 100% of the choice, IF and only IF they want to get rid of something (or if the toy is broken, missing pieces) do we get rid of it. What I've done is designed the play area with plenty of storage, shelves, closets to keep things tidy. Kids need to SEE what they have. Clear totes, book shelves, closets with shelving etc.

  26. Natural consequences? If she wants to keep so many toys put her in charge of keeping her space organised and tidy (with reasonable expectations for a kid!). If she can do it then you guys don't have too much clutter it was just a problem of putting it away. If she gets tired of it then ask her if she really wants to have to put so much back all the time and wouldn't it be easier to discard some stuff?

  27. Do you and your kids watch Bluey? There is an episode "Monkeyjocks" that covers decluttering and the exact issue comes up - everything is "special" to them. That episode really helped my kids decide what to actually keep and what to donate/gift/trash from their play room.

  28. You give them two buckets. You say you have to fill each bucket with toys, one to get rid of and one to keep. You say you can choose which goes where. Then, you explain to them where these toys were going. This is a perfect time as it’s the holidays almost, so great time to donate them to other kids in need. You explain to the kid how happy this will make other kids, how much it’ll mean, how much cleaner their room will be which will help their mental health and yours, and it’ll make their room easier to clean. You remind them throughout the process of these benefits and how much the toys will mean to the other kid like they used to mean to yours. With each item your kids gives away, ask your kid to thank the item for the experiences, hope the other kids have the same positive experience, and you can even talk about the fun times, but then let it go. Hope this helps! Good luck!

  29. It's a good lesson in teaching class analysis. "Some kids dont have as much as you, and its unfair." You can teach marxism starting at a very early age and use appropriate language.

  30. Thank you for not wanting to just get rid of their stuff without a choice. I still remember the favorite toy my mom got rid of for no apparent reason and how betrayed I felt, and I was pretty tiny back then, so kids do remember some stuff.

  31. I’m in my 50s. My mom saved my toys in her attic. I absolutely love having these toys now, they bring back so many wonderful memories and I get to share them with other people who love seeing my EZBake Oven, Sew Perfect machine, Barbie doll collection etc. I’m slowly giving them away to kids.

  32. Could this be fixed with an "out of sight, out of mind" approach? Slowly and quietly start to place toys that they don't seem to enjoy or use as much in a storage bin out of sight, like in the basement or a closet. Do this one by one so it's not sudden or shocking for them. And then if they ask for a certain toy, you know they like it enough to keep it. But if 1, 2, 3 months (or whatever time frame you feel comfortable with) pass and they don't seem to notice, then donate that batch.

  33. I really wouldn't do this if you don't want to create a future hoarder. Once they're old enough to be part of the conversation, doing this is just teaching them that they have no security when it comes to possessions and worst case that you can't be trusted.

  34. I disagree with others that this technique creates “a future hoarder”, however I do think this should only be done for kids who are younger and really have no mental catalog of what’s in their toy chest. I have done this kind of purging many many times when my kids were small, when I noticed that older unused toys were getting in the way of them finding and playing with wanted toys. I don’t think this technique is appropriate for older children known to be attached to items or once they have developed a sense of ownership/privacy about their space.

  35. I’m with this. I’ve also been blessed that my boyfriends kids usually don’t fight tooth and nail when it comes time to get rid of things. They got the relentless consumer gene, but not the hoarding gene. I give them some agency, but I usually ask about what they think of where we’ll put their important things. Or keep it vague- is it okay to move some of your stuffed animals out so I can make more room for Pokémon? And I’m not above bribery. Not every time, but the occasional heads up “OP is doing a big clean out this weekend. I’m going to clear out more play space. Are you okay with getting me a bin of toys so we have more space for Christmas stuff AND an extra surprise?!” I get them something age appropriate that takes up less space. Last time I got rid of 6 Rubbermaid totes and bought them each a folding chair and new night lights.

  36. Exactly. It shouldn't be a surprise that kids want to keep everything they have and get more. That's their perspective on life. As the adult, you'll have to take note of what they actually use on a daily basis and quietly weed out. Later you can show them that they have been without certain items and have been fine without them. They will of course say that no they missed them terribly but just didn't mention it.

  37. Any time they ask for something new, tell them they have to give something else up as well. Every new thing that comes in, something old goes out. This way you don’t add to the pile. Same goes for birthdays and Christmas. If they want new things they have to give up old ones. If they won’t give up toys, all they get for gifts are socks and underwear.

  38. Have them pick out a few toys on their own accord, and have them go with you to donate to a women and children's shelter. Most of the time the families there are in recovery from domestic violence situations, so they had to escape quickly. Kids don't typically have may items there for themselves. It'd be a powerful lesson to teach them while also decluttering.

  39. Bring each child a donation box. It is up to them to fill the box. They can donate a lot of small things or only a couple large things. That volume of stuff must go.

  40. Bring your kids attention to real kids in poorer areas who cannot afford toys. Show them pictures. Find a family to donate to and get your kids accustomed to the faces of the kids they will donate too. Ask them to share, rather than throw away their beloved things.

  41. We have an understanding that before his birthday in June and again at Christmas time we go through everything to make room for new things. We usually throw away broken things when they break, but at this time if we find anything else broken beyond use we chuck it. We talk a lot about giving toys to other kids who may not have enough money to buy them, and I always donate his old stuff that isn't trashed. It correlates all of the ideas for him, and helps him to cultivate concern for others who are less fortunate.

  42. I don’t know how I didn’t see this comment until now, but I appreciate everything you said. Thank you for such great input. I’m definitely going to try to do this with my kiddos.

  43. I have removed things that they weren’t aware of, but I kept them someplace else. My children have 99% of the time never asked me about it and they aren’t hoarders any more than any other kids. Now we just have a rule that they can’t bring things in without knowing where it will go and that may mean trading out toys.

  44. That’s a great idea. We typically don’t buy a lot of toys but somehow end up with so much because people love to pass things down to them. Lately I’ve just said how I appreciate the thought, but we have enough.

  45. Not even kidding. I take a bunch of stuff that I KNOW they haven’t played with in a lot time. And I put it in a pile or clear tote box in very “in your face” space. After a week, whatever is still in the box/pile is gone.

  46. I also don’t lie. If something they’ve asked for is gone I said “We gave it to another kid.” And then also tell them when they get stuff from “other kids.” Helps them understand the whole thing. Plus they’re not becoming attached to shit that isn’t meaningful. Keep the sentimental, purge the rest.

  47. We have a policy currently called “Free Sale” by my 6 year old. When she starts whining for a new toy, I put out a cardboard box and a piece of paper. For every old toy she puts in the box to “donate” she gets a stamp on the paper. 100 stamps equals a $10 gift. Most of the things that make it in the box are unusable- broken party favors and baby games but occasionally there’s things of substance. I pull aside anything salvageable for a local parent swap and the box goes to the front yard with a FREE sign for any kids walking by. Anything not picked up in a day or two gets tossed/recycled. End result: less clutter, kid feels accomplished and she learned to share. Nothing is forced, but the motivation for the new toy usually makes it easy to say goodbye to older ones.

  48. I was ruthless with the toys. Dad takes them to the park, I shove garbage bags full of happy meal crap and the dumb crap they got from parties.

  49. So. You don't give them options, but let it be their choice. Yes. We Are getting rid of toys. You get to chose which ones go and stay and you get to choose where they go. (List of top 3 charities). If they are really that emotional about it, they still have to choose which is most important. Example. Child has to put the toy in one of the 4 totes. Non negotiable. 1 tote for charity toys. 2 tote for current toys. 1 tote for toy rotation. Every month rotate the toys or week. Whatever works for you. Just be firm and patient and help them work through those emotions. If the kids old enough to write. For the toys they let go, they can journal about the toy. Expressing those emotions in a healthy manner, dealing with them and moving on. You are probably going to have to sit there and discuss every toy. And avoid overwhelming Take 15 minutes a day. Or 30 minutes on Saturday morning. Am I making any sense?

  50. Incinerate all the toys in front of them, collect their ensuing tears in an oversized novelty coffee mug and splash it like holy water at the fiery pyre while cryptically reciting some Buddhist scriptures about non-attachment. See if a family member can wear a silly hat and dance around insanely while all this is going on.

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