There are so many studies out there about why kids need less toys. Main reason? To spark more creativity! So how can you achieve this in your own home? Start by decluttering most of the toys! Yes!
1. Less is More
This means keeping a really small amount of toys. Not “no toys” but minimal. Start getting rid of toys that your kids aren’t playing with and removing the sentimental value you have placed on that toy. Money is already spent on that toy, so no use holding onto it because “you spent good money on it”. If no one is playing with it, get it out of your home because it is actually a distraction from the toys they do want to play with.
2. Think About the "Why"
Then stop bringing new things into the house until you have a system set up. Think about why you buy a toy before you actually purchase that toy. Most children don’t buy toys for themselves – somebody else does. If there are too many toys in your home, start with yourself. Why are there so many toys in your home? A healthy look at your own motivations may go a long way in solving this problem.
3. Quality Over Quantity
Choose quality over quantity toys. Pick toys for quality and purpose rather than amount. My son was really into trains and my husband thought we needed more tracks and more trains. I refused to let them in the house. My son created an epic track using Magna-tiles and blocks and created his own bridges. When my husband saw, he realized that more is not better. It would have completely stifled his creativity to construct this train track.
4. Sort Through Frequently
Another thing to keep less toys in your home is to declutter often. Make some clean sweeps on toys frequently. Have a designated area where you can put gently used toys and dump the broken or missing parts of toys. Teach kids to do this so they can maintain it as well!
5. Make a "Toy Area"
Set a specific, physical space for toys that is their designated space for toy categories. All blocks go in 1 bin and when that bin is full, you need to declutter that bin in order to keep your toys to a minimum. Large toys like those Little Tykes houses and ramps should all be grouped together in one specific area.
6. Don't Fall Prey
Another tip to stopping the toy clutter is don’t buy into fads. Those toy companies know how to make a toy a “fad”. Don’t fall for it!! Kids only know about these fads because of you or television.
7. Set Realistic Expectations and Make a Plan
Avoid temper-tantrums in stores by setting expectations. When you go into stores, it can seem easy to just buy a toy to keep your kid quiet. But that needs to stop if you are going to have less toys in your home. Start by creating a plan when you go into a store. I give my kids specific items they have to remember to grab and put in the cart. For example, I will give my daughter the job to remember the apples and milk at the grocery store. She gets to put it in the cart and on the register. This helps limit her wanting to buy something because she feels like she already is buying something.
8. Set a Good Example
Finally, limit your own toys. Kids will always learn more from examples than words. If your life is caught up in always needing to own the latest fashion, technology, or product on the market, theirs will be too. And it would be unreasonable to expect anything less.
So start living with less toys to encourage more creativity for the kids!
About the Author
Jessica Litman is the founder and creative director of The Organized Mama, an online resource to teach families how to get organized with practical organizing and decorating tips. Over the past 8 years, Jessica and her team have helped countless families get organized through in-home services, speaking engagements, and blog + video tutorials. Jessica has been named “Family Organizing Expert” by People.com and has had her work featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, and The Boston Globe.