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  • Shelly Olson

How to Tackle the Toy Problem

Young parents in the sandwich generation, this one for you! Or grandparents. Or friends of young families. Or really anyone with kids in their life. Listen up!


Let’s talk toys. Even though my kids are adults now and have left the nest, I remember constantly cleaning up our playroom like it was yesterday. If I would have known sooner how to simplify and declutter my life and living spaces, trust me, I would have started decades ago. I’m writing to share some valuable tips on how you can effectively manage the toy overload in your life, and ways to teach your little ones early on how to organize their space.


Experiences Instead of More Clutter


My number one tip would be to be intentional with your gift giving. Instead of bombarding the Target toy aisles on Black Friday, scrambling for the perfect materialistic item, maybe try swapping that toy out for an experience. I have learned over 25 years of motherhood that my kids always respond more to a unique experience than they do a materialistic item.


There are a multitude of reasons as to why I find experiences more valuable gifts than toys. First, this means less gadgets and gizmos covering your playroom floor. We are all about the simplified lifestyle, and this begins with birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holidays your family celebrates. Second, it teaches your children to appreciate delayed gratification, life experiences, and living life in the moment. These are all things that will shape them into the person they will become in the long run. Lastly, and possibly most important in my opinion, swapping an experience for a toy gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with your kids before they get to the age where hanging out with their parents isn’t cool anymore (don’t worry, they come back around after their teenage years). While a toy is something they can just play with by themselves, and experience is something that will bring the family closer together.


Toy Management


Now, I am not saying to never get your little ones physical presents and toys. In fact, My kids had the fullest toy room out of everyone (Of course, full of thrifted and gifted toys, because Momma still had to put food on the table)! What I am saying, is to look into practicing options like toy rotation. One toy in, one toy out. While you’re at it, find a shelter to donate your kids gently used toys to. This practice is beneficial for all parties. Your kids get to play, you get to relax in your uncluttered space, and a child in need gets a few toys every once in a while.


While I write all of this with the intent of teaching you decluttering methods, I also write with the hope that these tips will help you instill some life skills in your young children. If you, like me, haven't had kids in your house for quite some time, please feel free to share this post with anyone in your life who may find it helpful as they tackle toy management in their home.


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