Episode 15 details how to successfully purge old toys to make room for new gifts that will be coming to your home this season. Learn how to declutter old and rarely used toys and find out the benefits and how children thrive with fewer toys. The episode also contains plenty of gift giving ideas for presents that don’t add to the clutter and can even be extra special for the entire family.
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Full Episode Transcription:
It’s the gift giving and receiving season as fun as that might be. It can be stressful for families that don’t have space to store new possessions. In this episode, I will share how to purge old toys, rarely or never use toys and ways that children actually thrive with fewer toys. I’m even giving ideas for highly desirable gifts that don’t take up any space. Thanks for being here for episode 15 of the intentional edit podcast. If you’re struggling with daily tasks, clutter organization, and finding any sort of work life balance, the intentional edit podcast is for you. It’s time to stop the chaos and live with more intention. I am Lauren, and I’m here to help you declutter implement systems and maximize routines that remove the overwhelming unorganized parts of life. Bringing simplicity to your home, come on. It’s time to create a life you love.
I knew I was going to record a podcast episode with information about children and the numerous benefits of having less toys, but I just got off a coaching call with a couple, and that doesn’t happen very often. I, I do really enjoy it when I get to work with both people in the house, though, this couple was on opposite ends when it comes to toys and how many enjoys the kids should have or not have they live in our 1600 square foot house with two kids, a dog, and a couple of fish. And they both work from home. So they have to have a dedicated office space with a door that closes. They don’t have an area that can be solely for toys like a playroom or anything like that. And it’s really become while the toys and the constant clutter from the toys have become a point of contention because he thinks the more toys the better.
And she is kind of on the side of it’s overwhelming. And she feels overwhelmed by the constant cleanup and maintenance of the toys and the mess that she feels like is always in her home. Does this sound familiar? It really should because this situation occurs often, but there are plenty of solutions that will help you. If you are in a situation similar to this, of course, I gave them strategies to organize and implement cleanup where the kids are more involved with chores and simple things like that. Just simple ways that they could get their kids to help with the cleanup. So everything doesn’t fall on the mom and systems to put in place that will eventually become routines. They aren’t that big of a deal to carry out, but they will be game-changing for this family and for the stress and struggle she’s having with the toy clutter.
But I really think that the biggest takeaway from this session with this amazing couple was to truly understand how, when and why their kids are playing with toys or not playing with a lot of their toys. When children have an extra amount of toys surrounding them to choose Rob, they’re actually less likely to play with them. It’s similar to the idea that when we have more clothes in our closet, then we actually wear less of them. And the most recent study that I read was about the average American adult only uses and wears 30% of the belongings in their closet. 30% is really a super small number. Let’s get back to the choice. We’re in the thick of holiday gift giving season. There is stress around the holidays for a number of reasons for people, all ages, but parents and moms, especially admit to feeling stressed around gifts and what gifts their kids will receive and where to put them out to store them and what kind of an impact they will have on their home.
After receiving these gifts, I have said many times, we want to be intentional about what we bring into our home and everything that occupies our space. It’s taking up our space, but it also occupies our time and we have to maintain it and clean it and store it. That is why being intentional is important with what we allow to take up. The space in our home. Toys are included in that toys are like every other item that you allow to take up the space within the walls of your home, being intentional about what occupies that space will assist you in making decisions about what new toys come in and it will help you figure out what old toys or never played with toys should be donated and passed along to someone that will actually use them. If you want to know more of the benefits of having toys surrounding your kids and in your home, the do a simple Google search.
There are tons of articles that have will come up and there’s been so many studies on kids and w why they actually gravitate towards certain toys, or don’t seem to be interested and in specific toys either way, sometimes they love them. Sometimes they don’t and groups have taken the time to do studies and research and write articles on why and how this happens. So just do a Google search. If this interests you, you can see some of the results on the benefits that occur when the toy excess is eliminated and the right amount of toys are actually in your home. I have looked into this over the years, and some of the highlights from those articles include when children have fewer boys in the home, they have more time and they spend more time doing things like being creative with creative play, whether it’s drawing, painting, or coloring, they spend more time playing outside and reading.
And those two things go along with technology to technology and screen time has put a huge reduction in the amount of time kids spend actually reading a book or playing outside and they don’t take the initiative. They’re less likely to take the initiative to go outside when they can simply grab a tablet or have screen time and do that instead. So there’s a number of reasons that things like that have reduced in the last few years, but we eliminate an overabundance of toys. Kids are more likely to be creative, to read, to play outside, to come up with adventures or go on adventures. They’re more willing and eager to go on day trips and do fun things with their families. And the adventures kind of go along with imaginative, play their imaginations, soar. They’re using their imaginations to come up with ways to play and inventive play too.
They also spend more time with pets, not only quality of time playing with pets, but taking care of pets and learning and forming a relationship with the pet and a stronger bond. One of the huge benefits that aerates share when I’m reading these studies is that the increase in cooperative play amongst siblings is huge. And so wings get along better and work together more. When there are fewer toys in there in the space that they’re in, all of these things that I’ve listed are beneficial. And of course we want our kids to be creative and play outside and use their imaginations and be inventive and cooperate and get along with their siblings. Those are all huge benefits. I don’t want you to think all of these things happen overnight. If you have an overabundance of toys and then all of a sudden you will take them away.
In one giant purge, don’t expect all of these things to happen in the blink of an eye. It won’t work that way, but it will happen over time. If you’re interested in reducing the number of toys in your home, if you’re some like tips, we’ll go through these together today to help you do a purge with the toys and really eliminate the things that don’t make sense for you to keep for your specific family and your home any longer first, go ahead and lead by example, let the kids know that you purge and you don’t want to keep unwanted items around the house either. When they see you setting the example at all your example, you’re purging, eliminating items that you’re no longer using, and you are donating items that don’t have a value to you, but that might have a value to someone else.
When you show that this is what you’re doing, and this is what the expectations are in your homes. Kids do get on board with that. And it’s usually a lot faster than you think. Just like any area of the fo the home, we will tackle toys the same way. Start with the basic perch, toss or donate anything that’s broken or games and puzzles with missing pieces. If a puzzle has missing pieces, no one wants to do that puzzle. That those are the things that go in the trash. They can’t be repaired and they do not work without all the pieces. So those become garbage. These items don’t need to be discussed. You don’t need to make a big deal of it because they really don’t work anymore. They don’t serve a purpose. So just put them in the trash. This is one of the best time of year to purge, because you are allowing yourself to create space for new toys that are coming into your house.
Be ruthless with your decluttering and purging of the toys. Everything that is broken and no longer working goes to the trash, the things that are no longer age appropriate for the kids in your house or being used. If, if you have toys that haven’t been used in a long time, or if your kids are saying that they don’t want something, you don’t need a second guess that those are things that should be donated. Think about what you’re doing and really feel good about providing someone with toys that they may not have, or might not be able to afford if they didn’t have a way to get them by people donating. If you are a parent that identifies with the stressful feelings around the holiday gift giving and what is coming to your house and what might be coming home with you after you have some of these holiday celebrations with your family, this is your chance to purge and create space ahead of time so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the new toys that you’re bringing home with you from these gatherings and events where you’re going to store them.
What on earth are you going to do with them? You don’t need to have those feelings and you won’t have those feelings. If you take time to purge and discard, what you no longer need user want in terms of toys before the celebrations began along the lines of toys coming in and gifts being received, another option that’s even better than physical toys as gifts that most likely won’t be used. I’d read the toys, the toys, most likely won’t be used. Long-term even when kids say that they want something that is a toy for Christmas. Oftentimes we see these toys there’s hype around them initially, but after a few weeks, and sometimes even a few days, the toys don’t get touched anymore. They’re not used. It was a temporary excitement to eliminate that whole situation gifts that are experiences are the best possible gifts for most people.
These experience gifts and the memories from them have the potential to last a lifetime experience. Gifts include memberships or like a membership to the zoo or a weekend at a theme themed hotel, or a amusement park tickets to a special event or concert or play. Think about things like this when you’re purchasing gifts. And when you’re asked what things your kids want to receive. If you have children that are interested in taking a new class or starting a new sport or something like horseback riding lessons, or they want to take an art class or something, giving a gift of gift card or gift certificate for a single class, or even the entire season or the entire session, maybe it’s a six week class. Something like that. When you can give gifts like that, then they can be accompanied by the supplies or clothing that are needed to participate in that.
So if there’s a uniform or special shoes that are required or a ball needed to practice, maybe you have to bring your own paint brushes or whatever it is that goes along with those specific activities or interests that these kids are having. You can do almost like a two for one gift where you are providing those necessities that they have to have and providing a gift that so all of these things are used together. There are a ton of ideas for experience gifts, for all ages, little kids, all up through adults. And that completely eliminates the need for storage and the overwhelm from the, and the stress caused by the incoming toys, the incoming potential toys that could be coming to your think about giving the gifts that are really experiences and things to do instead of the material possessions that do cause the stress for you.
When people ask you what your kids are wanting for Christmas, you can share these experience opportunities. If you you’re a family of four, you guys are all interested in going to the zoo or a new park or something in your area. Uh, maybe a museum that you want to go to, oh, your past is a great family gift, or it can be a gifts combined for two kids. You can spend the same amount of money that you would on material possessions, as you do unexperienced gifts, whether they’re individual or combined. Let me get back to the way that you can reduce the number of toys in your home so that everyone benefits from this first, we talked about lead by example. Then we start with a basic purge, just like we do in any project where we need to discard items. The next thing I would recommend is a gathering and sorting.
You are going to gather the toys that are throughout your house into one general area and sort them into categories and ask the kids this one powerful question, ask them, what do they want to keep? There are so many benefits of thinking about what you want to keep instead of what you want to get rid of. But if you ask the kids what they want to keep, they will pick a few items. They don’t want to keep everything and you will quickly see what their favorites are and what they really want to have in their home. It’s simple because you’re just asking them, Hey, here’s our toys. What do you guys want to keep? You don’t have to approach the situation as if we’re getting rid of a ton of stuff. Pick just a couple of things that you want to keep. I have done this, and I actually have a long blog post about this.
If you search on the intentional edit website, I’m sure you can find it. I do this with my old neighbors and they were actually shocked. They, they had so many toys. They add a living room, full of toys. Their family room had toys. The kids had tons of toys in their bedrooms. And when they asked the kids what they wanted to keep, they barely wanted to keep anything. It was kind of funny. And then they started trying to convince them like, oh, but don’t you like to push your dollies in the stroller? The, you know, we can play with them. And they were almost convincing the kids like, Hey, keep more. And they didn’t get rid of everything else. They got rid of a lot of things and they felt better because their kids truly didn’t care about a lot of the stuff that they thought that they cared about.
That’s why it’s important to gather things and bring them together. And if your kids are old enough to participate in this, instead of presenting them with the idea that they’re getting rid of a lot of toys, present them with the idea that what do you want to keep? The next thing you want to do is organize and figure out the proper containment and how you will store the toys that you have. Find proper storage and organization systems based on what the kids want to keep and what needs to be put away. When you have everything in one area, because you gathered it in the last step, then you can actually take a proper inventory and see what kind of storage containers do you already have that fit these things. Where can these items go? Because we know with toys, toys, don’t always fit in a nice basket or bin.
Sometimes they’re huge or big, strange shape that doesn’t fit into a container, but you still have to find a place to eat. Once you have gathered sorted Herge, determine where these things will, will be stored and how they will be organized. Then it’s time to make your donation donate the rest of the toys. You might want to have a garage sale or something like that. I think if that’s realistic for you, the best thing to do in the quickest way to get these toys out of your house is to donate them. If they’re a good condition, of course, you can reach out to friends or family or find different organizations. Sometimes there are a lot of toy drives around this year that take gently used toys or a regular donation or thrift shop is a great option for that too. But you want to get them out of your house and make those donations.
Then it’s time to celebrate, celebrate your accomplishments. You finished a big project. You should feel better and you should have relief because you got rid of these toys. They’re now out of your house because kids are constantly changing and the toys are not developmentally appropriate for all ages. After a few months, or at least once a year, you will need to do a similar project like this again, and go through a process similar to this one, to eliminate the toys that you decided to keep. Sometimes we have toys that lasts many, many years and that the kids are interested in. And sometimes, like I said, a few minutes ago, they only lasted. They’re only interested in these for initially for a few weeks or even just a few days. Once you’ve done the first big purge, that would be this time. It will not take you as long to do this in the future.
It will be a smaller project, but you still want ahead, go ahead and do it at least once a year, if not, maybe twice a year or every few months, once you do these things, you’ll start to see the benefits pretty quickly. Let me know how this goes for your family and what questions you have. I’m always happy to help you with these projects and give you ideas to bring simplicity to your life at home. If you are wanting to book a coaching session with me, I’m all booked for the rest of the year, but I’ve been receiving a lot of interests. And I know some of you are really wanting to do this. I’m trying to move some things around. So I could open up a few additional sessions the week before Christmas. And I will keep you posted on the podcast and Instagram and as many ways as I can, if I open up those sessions.
But I do have a feeling those will go pretty quickly, but don’t worry. I’m switching to a new system for scheduling and we’ll hopefully be easier for you. And for me, it’s a more streamlined process. It should be available shortly. So that’s how I’m going to do bookings from mid 20 mid January of 2022 going forward. So look for that. If you are interested in a coaching session, good luck with your toy, purging and simplification and send me your questions or concerns so I can help guide you in a direction that works specifically for your family.
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Lauren is the founder of Intentional Edit, a home organization and lifestyle company focused on consciously editing to create efficient and organized spaces. Lauren believes that a functional home that looks and feels good has a positive influence on all aspects of life. Creating systems that allow for the home to function more efficiently, therefore, eliminating most of the clutter and chaos is her priority. While trends come and go organization is always in style!
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