As I was gathering my son’s blocks for the fourteenth (or maybe fifteenth) time the other day, I looked around his room. I suddenly realized how many books, stuffed animals, balls, cars, and other knick-knacks my little boy has. With Christmas just a few weeks behind us, it seems as if his toy collection has more than doubled while the space in my home has not. And with his birthday around the corner, there are bound to be more toys overflowing his toy chest.
Determined to cut back on this clutter, here is how I reduced the mess (and my cleaning time!)
The key to decluttering is sorting through effectively. Gather a few plastic bags or baskets and get ready to separate the items into the following categories: Keep, Donate/Sell, Trash and Repurpose.
- KEEP: I know when I first sat down to declutter I wanted to keep everything! “But that was a gift from grandma” or “it doesn’t even take that much space” came to mind and more than once. The goal is to focus on keeping items that are within your child’s developmental age and growth stage. Does your five year old really need or use stacking cups anymore? Think about how he can manipulate the toys during playtime to suit his needs. If the toys are not appropriate, they shouldn’t take up space in your home. Also, think about holding on to a few special things that have sentimental value or special meaning to you or your child. I have chosen to keep a blue stuffed bear for my son over the past couple of years because it was the first teddy bear that was gifted to him. It has made the cut every time!
- DONATE/SELL: Donate, donate, donate! There are many organizations that will accept gently used toys for those less fortunate. If certain items are no longer appropriate for your child due to age or whatnot, there are many groups that will gladly take them off your hands. Local churches, youth centers and orphanages are great places at which to donate your items. However, if you’re looking to put some cash in your pocket, selling your items at a garage sale or flea market may do the trick. A few shops around town will also buy back gently used toys and are worth checking out.
- TRASH: Any items that are broken, missing pieces or are no longer sanitary should be tossed in the trash. Case in point: the other day I found a small bath toy that had water sitting in it for who knows how long. Although it’s one of my son’s favorite bath toys, I knew it would be very hard to clean it and feel comfortable with him using it again knowing it could still have some kind of residue inside of it. If it may pose a risk, get rid of it. [Read more about keeping those bath toys clean here.]
- REPURPOSE: Pinterest savvy moms rejoice! There are many ways to repurpose your children’s toys. From creating art pieces to coasters, there are many creative things you can do that are both practical and stylish. For my latest project, I simply used superglue to adhere some old blocks to make the letter L for “Luis”. It took me less than five minutes to do and looks super cute on his dresser.