Are you gearing up for the holiday influx of new toys for the kids? Already have gifts stashed here and there? Well, right now is the time to clear out the old and make way for the new!
A few tips to make this easier:
1. Really pay attention to what your kids are currently playing with. Have their interests changed? Old favorites no longer quite so exciting?
2. Take inventory of what they currently have. Gather together all of the games, puzzles, legos, etc. Get them all in one place so you have a clear idea of what the sheer volume is.
3. Create a ‘ go away’ zone for both items to toss (damaged, missing pieces, etc.) and for items to donate (games & toys still in good condition). The donate items can go either to a worthy charity, to a friend with kids of the right age, or perhaps you can use freecycle.org to find someone local who could use the things you no longer need. This a fantastic time to share the wealth as there are many in need.
4. Actually make all of those unwanted items go away. I know it seems funny to have to write this part but this is often the missing link when you’ve done all the work but then nothing leaves the house. These things quietly get infiltrated back into the piles and all your work was for nothing!
5. Do this when the kids aren’t around if you’ve got any that feel the need to keep everything. All of the toys will seem brand new and exciting as they get dragged out into view. You may discover items that haven’t even been opened – snag these for stocking stuffers or as ‘new gifts’ if they are appropriate!
6. When you put away the now decluttered selection of toys and games, zone them into specific areas. Group all of the like items together and create a home for them in the place in which they get used. For example, if games get played in the living room then this is ideally where they should be stored.
7. Bin up toys that a younger child may grow into but be sure to clearly label the bin(s) and place them in an easily accessible storage area so they don’t disappear into the unknown to be discovered the next time you clean the attic and the kids are in college.
Ideally this process should happen year round. I try to do ours at least quarterly but even if it happens twice a year – it can be very effective. Depending on when kids birthdays happen, right before a birthday can be a good time (clearing the way for birthday gifts can be a good incentive). My daughter’s birthday is at the beginning of January so I don’t really have this option! We just make it doubly effective in the pre-holiday time.
And I can’t help saying, go easy on the new stuff. Kids play with more when they have less. It’s exciting to bring in new toys but go for quality over quantity. Enjoy the spirit of the season with family time and togetherness rather than piles of stuff that all needs to be stored and stashed. Having organized hundreds of kids play spaces, I can tell you that so much never gets touched and never sees the light of day after the initial excitement of something new.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on toy storage or organization. For more kids organizing ideas, check out my Pinterest Board called Organizing: Kids!