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Confession time. If you’ve ever read my “About” page, it’s known that there are three constant struggle areas around here… toys being the main one! Toys are seriously out of control in our home.
Toys are a hard battle for us because the majority of them are gifts from people who love our child and his enthusiasm for a new toy. They only have the best of intentions. But… too many toys have led to overwhelm, a short attention span, and not enough creative play in our home. What he loves most (time and experiences with us) is often cut short because we’re always picking up toys!
This led to a search to find a good system, which led to the Toy Detox, a simple step by step plan to declutter the toys by Denaye Barahona of Simple Families. Yes, please… someone who has this figured out to tell me where to start and what to do!
The course had four parts:
- Why kids need fewer toys
- Choosing the right toys
- How to do the toy detox
- Relapse prevention
It went through the process of why and how to declutter toys with short videos that were full of helpful information about minimizing toys and creating a simple play area. It also included tips for approaching the issue with family and friends. Dr. Barahona gives a tour of her kids’ playroom and discusses why she chose the toys in their playroom.
I had three “head nod, amen” moments when going through the course.
“Minimize rather than organize.”
It’s the case of less really is more. Kids need things to be as simple and clear as possible.
“Without the toys, kids find their own ways to play and learn.”
Yes and YES! A lot of toys take the “thinking” out… push a button and the toy does all of the work. Although my son is growing up in an amazing time of technological advances, real life still requires problem-solving and thinking skills. Many of these are developed through childhood and good old-fashioned being b-o-r-e-d!
“Be intentional when buying new toys.”
Lesson learned the hard way. Now we’re left with cleaning up what we have and making better decisions in the future.
Putting it into action…
I tackled the toy decluttering process with our son’s bedroom. We also have a playroom downstairs in the basement but that’s a bigger project than we can take on right now in the midst of back to school.
In his room, I chose the toys that were staying based on those that encourage creative play and will still be age appropriate for the next couple of years. That ended up being six toys to keep:
- Mr. Potato Head
- Musical instruments
- Pirate ship
- Jumbo Jungle Animals(Hands down, one of our favorite toys since he was a baby. They are simple, durable and great for pretend play!)
- Angry Birds (although this is a trendy character set, our son does a lot of pretend play with them)
They all fit on one shelf beside his bunk bed. Clear bins would have been better, but everything is visible on the shelf except for the Angry Birds set in the striped monkey canvas bin. It will be really easy to have a system where clean up involves just putting a toy back on the shelf!
I also decluttered and minimized the books under his bed from six bins to three. Children’s books are not a “pain point” for us. We keep them in bins in a few places through the house and donate them when they haven’t been looked at in awhile.
Seriously, how do you even play in a room when you can’t even walk in the floor!?!
The results of this process have been amazing in more ways than just one. The toy decluttering is great by itself but our son has actually started spending longer stretches of time in his room now and seems so much more relaxed. It gives us more time to engage with him and that is something that money can’t buy!
Anyone else on a toy detox mission? Feel free to share any tips or tricks in the comments!