Sorting the kids’ toys once and for all… and my upcoming Decluttering Workshop

I have been decluttering and organising alongside clients in their homes for almost 12 years and probably one of the main problem issues that comes up time and time again has been sorting and organising children’s toys, games and books.

Toys tend to multiply into every room in the house which can be challenging, quite aside from the child’s room itself which can become chaotic. Not fun for Mum to clean, and ultimately not great for the child either as they try to find a particular toy or game and end up turning the room upside down in the process.

There are obviously a couple of issues here: one being when to let go of toys, books and games because they are no longer used or the child has grown out of them, and the second is organising those that are going to be kept.

So when is it time to let things go? What I do want you to think about here is that children learn to hoard very early in life, and often want to hold onto every stuffed toy, tiny first books and games that they have had since birth because they hold ‘memories’ for them. What I explain to children is that if we hold onto everything, then there won’t be any room for new toys and books and games. You could also suggest that it can be a wonderful thing to give away those items that they no long play with to those children who don’t have toys at all.

Here are a few other suggestions which I hope will help:

– You could start the process of weeding out the toys etc when your children are tiny, and if you are the one wanting to hold onto those very cute items perhaps choose just a few and keep them in a pretty memorabilia box. You could also take a photo of those that you’ve decided to let go and make a photo scrapbook showing those favourite toys etc that your child has loved, and you could do that through the ages so they can also enjoy it.

– When weeding through the toys those that are broken or missing bits and pieces should be the first to let go of. These should be thrown away rather than donated.

– Those toys and games which your child has never played with or read maybe because they don’t appeal to them, or they’re not age-appropriate, can be given to charities [rather than clutter your child’s room or the rest of the house].

– Toys which have lots of small pieces could be kept in a plastic container so pieces don’t go missing. Likewise with jigsaws which can have hundreds of pieces – if the box is coming to pieces as often happens keep them in a plastic container. Make sure the containers are clear plastic rather than coloured so it’s obvious what’s inside.

– Lego is made up of millions of pieces and I’ve found the best way to store lego is in various clip top containers. Your child might want to categorise them by type, hence the different containers.

– There are a multitude of bins, baskets and shelving units for storing toys, books and games and your choice may well depend on the size of the bedroom and what you think will be the easiest system for your child to use. Open bins on shelves can be most useful for small children so they can see what they want and easily access them. Large toy boxes are often difficult for children to access and they are more inclined to tip everything out to find the one tiny toy they are seeking.

– Above all, teaching children to be responsible for their own things, and putting them away in their room, can start very early on and they can have fun collecting up their toys and putting them back in the right place in their rooms. It will certainly save you time if they are encouraged to do this on a regular basis. A little bribery can help sometimes to get them started, or maybe create a game to see who can pick up and tidy their rooms the fastest.

You could involve your children in choosing their containers and shelving units for their bedrooms, and setting them up – that way they take ownership of the system. After all, it’s about creating what will work for them, and for you.

And now for something completely different! I am conducting a full day workshop at Selwyn Community Education in Kohimaramara Road on Sunday November 5, here’s the link to the course:
http://www.selwyncomed.school.nz/courses/1106-declutter-and-or-downsize-your-home/
We will be discussing downsizing and decluttering, what to keep and what to let go, storage ideas, organising personal papers, and more… So if you think this is ‘just what you need’ I would love to have you join us.

I wish you joy and blessings for a wonderful month ahead as we head towards warmer weather, and rapidly towards the end of the year.

In Joy!

Angella Gilbert

P: 09 410 4166
M: 027 224 8937
E: angella@gioia.net.nz
W: www.gioia.net.nz

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