Time to Tame the Toys

Jun 8, 2010   //   by simplicity   //   Simple Environment  //  2 Comments

Pic Courtesy of http://toyreport.org/

In Kim Payne’s book, Simplicity Parenting, he shares with us that the average child in America has over 150 toys.  The idea of that is shocking and it’s easy to believe how overwhelming that can be for a 4 year old.  Clearing away the toys and the clutter in your home is the best place to start simplifying.

A clean and orderly play area will allow your children the opportunity for much deeper, creative, and independent play.  My own 4 year old exclaimed, “Before I didn’t know what to play with first. I like this so much better!”, after I had put 75% of their toys in bags to donate or in boxes in storage.

Parents in my 7 week Simplicity Parenting Course are making toy-decluttering play dates with one another for the summer.  While one parent volunteers to watch the children at her house, the other mom is able to organize and clean up without the distraction of her little ones.  Then, they switch jobs so that both houses undergo one big clean sweep.

Where do you start with your big sweep? Payne reveals some great tips about what to get rid of first…

Ten kinds of toys you may want to consider discarding or storing:

  • broken
  • developmentally inappropriate
  • fixed (doesn’t evoke the child’s imagination)
  • too complicated, breaks easily, batteries involved, plastic
  • high stimulus
  • annoying or offensive
  • pressured to buy, commercial (Webkinz, Silly Bands, Zhu Zhu Pets)
  • corrosive play (guns, swords, evil characters, war paraphernalia)
  • environmentally unhealthy/toxic

What do you want to keep?

  • beloved toys (teddy bear, special “lovey”)
  • healthy for humans and the planet
  • can be put away in 5 minutes

Some of my kids’ favorite toys are: the jump rope, a bag of special rocks and gems they’ve collected, shells, a basket of play silks, dress-up costumes/hats/capes, their bears and/or doll, books, art supplies.  The basket of stuffed animals has a silk draped across it and that alone has made a huge difference in keeping things less overwhelming – using something pretty to cover up the clutter.  Most of the time my kids are pretending, creating art, or running around outside or jumping on the trampoline.  Toys aren’t the center of their play.

We’ve definitely been hood-winked as parents to believe that our children need toys in order to be entertained and occupied.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised once you venture into simplifying the toy clutter.  It will surprise you also how grateful your children will be that they have an orderly area for play!

Share with us your experience in de-cluttering toys in the comments below or join The Circle, an open, free forum for our simplicity parents! You can find the link in the navigation bar at the top left of this blog.

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