Christmas is around the corner and many kids receive new toys as gifts. Although there is more focus on technology these days many kids still enjoy Legos, stuffed animals, puzzles and board games. Kids grow out of toys; sometimes within days and other times it may be years. As a professional organizer, I walk into many houses where 14 year olds have old toys collecting dust in the back of the closet because reevaluating and de-cluttering was not at the top of the list. Just think of all the fun another kid could be having if these toys were donated!
Top reasons to reevaluate your kid’s toy collection:
• Teach the value of de-cluttering. When we own less, we can more easily find and enjoy what we own.
• Teach the value of giving. When a child experiences giving it promotes a spirit of generosity. Don’t we need more of this in our world?
• Help your child define what enough is to them and how to stick to limits. An example of a limit may be “we will keep the number of puzzles that will fit on this shelf.”
• A room with less stuff is easier to keep clean. It is also easier to transition as the child grows up and their interests change.
• Help your child be a part of a process of defining their own rules for their stuff and helping them to be responsible for their own environment. We want them to move out one day, right? We also want them to have a respectable and safe home.
Four strategies to try!
1) Ask your child these questions:
• Do you enjoy this [game, toy, item} as much as you did when you first received it?
• What are your favorite toys? Is this one of them?
• Do you think another kid would enjoy it more than you?
• How many are enough?
• Is there something you would enjoy playing with more?
2) Lay out a series of toys or all like items (like all the stuffed animals) and use the strategy that Professional Organizer, Judith Kolberg, developed called “Friends, Acquaintances and Strangers.” The “game” is played by keeping your friends, pondering your acquaintances and donating the strangers!
3) Take your child on the donation trip so that they can see where their donations are going. Some of these experiences can have a profound impact.
4) Perhaps you are leaning toward a life with less stuff and you want your child to follow this path. Consider giving experiences rather than stuff.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Membership to a zoo, science center, museum
• Special dinner out to a special place
• Day trip to an amusement park
• Concert tickets or sporting event
• Cooking class or lesson of some sort
Happy Holidays and Happy Organizing!