Cary Farrell

Toys, Toys, Toys!

by Cary Farrell
December 03, 2012
Toys, Toys, Toys!- Three Easy Steps to Manage Toys
In my Letter to Santa post we talked about the fact that the foundation of the toy chaos in our homes falls on the parents as the responsible party for creating a balance that everyone can manage.

When I get phone calls  from distraught parents in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area blaming the kids, I quickly remind them that if they feel overwhelmed at the thought of cleaning up all the toys then they are asking their kids to tackle an impossible task.  I also remind them that kids don't buy their own toys nor do they come with built-in knowledge on how to maintain stuff.  Learning how to limit the toys is a lesson that parents must teach.  

When I work with kids, what I find more often than not is that the kids are ready to let go of toys but the parents are not!  The parents are often shocked and disappointed at the expensive toys the kids are willing to part with that they worked so hard to provide.  I have more trouble prying toys from parents than the kids! :)  

If the kids are old enough to help, ( I have worked with 4 year-olds), work one-on-one with them to help them bring order and peace to their toys.  

Here are three easy steps to tackle the toy chaos.
Gather these supplies before getting started: several clear plastic bins ( to store toys for rotation), a clothes basket (for things that belong in another space), black trash bags (for broken toys and trash), blue trash bags or cardboard boxes (for items to sell or donate).  

  1. Assure the kids that you are not going to get rid of any of their toys.

You are there to help them find their favorite toys and to help them organize them to make their play time better.  They will make the decisions on what toys they want to get rid of.  CHECK YOUR EMOTIONS AT THE DOOR AND DON'T GUILT TRIP YOUR KIDS ABOUT WHICH TOYS THEY WANT TO DONATE OR SELL! IF YOU WANT THEM TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEANING UP THEIR TOYS THEN YOU NEED TO GIVE THEM PERMISSION TO CHOSE WHICH ONES THEY ARE WILLING TO CLEAN UP!

Explain what the bags and boxes are for.  The clothes basket for things that belong in another room. ( You don't want to be running stuff all over the house during the session. Save that task for the end.) Black bags are for trash and blue bags or cardboard boxes are for toys they want to get rid of.  They make the decision about what goes into each bag.

    2.  Ask your kids to bring you their favorite toys the ones they play with all the time                   

          These are the toys you will leave organized in their room.

The rest of the toys fall into three categories:
1. Broken toys -black trash bag
2. Toys they no longer want: - blue bag to sell /donate/or pass on to a sibling.
3. Toys they would like to play with occasionally but are not their favorite.-clear   
   plastic bin to rotate in when the favorite toys get boring.

    3.  Organize the favorite toys
Display your child’s favorite toys on open shelves  or group them into small containers.
Store the occasional toys and be ready to exchange them when the kids complain of   
          being bored.

If you don’t  get along with your child or if you  feel totally overwhelmed to tackle this task, seek help from Clutter Free, a professional organizer and give your child one of the greatest gifts - a lesson in organization.  A professional will help you and your child  tackle the piles and learn how to maintain it!