To declutter the children's toys. Go ahead, do the collective groan!!
Children and their toys are a monster of a job for most of us. And lets admit it, it's not even just about toys. They have papers from school and the ones they have made at home, trinkets from the birthday party, cards from their best friend at school, as well as their clothes and supplies for needed activities.
Let's get started. Because my youngest is just 15 there are no pictures to show of toys strewn about the floor. But I'll give you a few peeks into some of her toys stashes she is still holding on to.
|Art supplies (primarily paper and beads)|
|Trinkets and keepsakes (in her closet)|
|More trinkets and keepsakes (these were in her desk)|
|Even MORE trinkets and keepsakes (stored under her bed)|
The truth is you really need to go through ALL the items in your child's room. Every drawer and bin should be gone through. The closet, the desk, the dresser. And under the bed. And I'll leave it up to you to decide if your child is the right age to help. Or maybe you go through with the obvious or hardest items for the child and then bring them in later with items they may need to have a say in. I would often do my children's rooms when they were at school. :) Now, I pretty much leave the decluttering up to them.
Look for the trash first to get your started. Gum and candy wrappers, boxes from opened presents, school worksheets, meal toys, freebies from the school carnival or bible school, Papers from their pretend play. Coloring books that are used up or have very few pages left. Broken pieces of anything. Journals that aren't being used. Children's magazines.
You might not see all of the trash right away, but it will keep popping up. Keep a trash bag, recycle bin and a bin for donations nearby. I would often put our donations and recycling in the hallway just outside the bedroom as we worked.
If the floor is covered with random toys, start grouping them together (and putting away if you know where). Think like with like for Lego's, dolls and their clothing, games, dress up clothing, and toy cars. Sorting things starts to put organization to the chaos. If you don't know which parts go to which toy, definitely ask the child, because it seems they ALWAYS know. If you find a lot of things you don't know what they go to put those in a pile together. As you continue to put things together you may figure out where that red piece goes.
Some non trash items that can definitely go:
- Toys your child is too old for
- Toys your child doesn't like
- Stuffed animals that they don't play with (consider a house limit!)
- Dress up clothes and costumes that are torn, stained and ripped or are unsafe
- Games and toys with missing pieces
- School work from the previous year
- Books the child has outgrown
- Gifts the child received but doesn't like
Keep going!! You don't have to 'perfectly' declutter. Your first instinct about whether the item can leave your home or not is probably right. Listen to that voice as you touch all the toys in your child's room. This is the first pass through. In a few months you can go through again and dig deeper.
If you are considering my post an assignment, you are done if you did your child's entire room!! And entire room is a lot of work. If you are looking for ideas, you might take this post a step further and look for toys in your living room, family room, car, basement, garage and yard that could be decluttered. Maybe if you did your child's room there is now some space to bring the items from other areas in the home into their bedroom, wouldn't that be great?
And definitely consider your child's feeling during the process. They may be confused about why you want to take their toys away. Explain what your doing, or consider waiting until they have seen you declutter your room or another area of the house. If a child insists on keeping something and is very upset about letting go, respect that. They may change their mind in the future. Or if it is a very young child you may be able to get rid of the item when they aren't around.
Tomorrow...I'll have some thoughts on keeping toys organized!