I’m that mean mom.
Like an evil Santa Clause I take toys away in the night. I bag them up and donate them without my kid’s knowing. As soon as I see our toy stash getting out of control – no room to store things, many forgotten items that neither one of them play with – I pack it up and send it away. Doesn’t matter if it is fairly new to us or a gift. If we have too much, or we’re not playing with it regularly, it goes.
This strategy isn’t for every family. It probably isn’t for my family long term. As the boys get older I’ll have them get more involved with the culling process. But right now it works. It works really well. Simplicity Parenting agrees (amazing book. Check it out from your local library. Great ideas for cutting out the noise in your family life and connecting more).
If your children will run away from home with my method take heart: there are many ways to reduce kid clutter that work. We’re going to talk about them this week and take a crack at seeing what the floor of your play room looks like.
Before you start sneaking Hex Bugs and shape sorting toys out in the middle of the night, ask yourself a few question.
- What will my children say if I donate toys without asking them or telling them about it?
- What are my children really using right now? No, not the stuff you had hoped they would use but the stuff they actually play with frequently.
- Is anything worth saving for younger children? Really think about this one.
We get fantastic age appropriate gifts for my boys at birthdays and Christmas. I’m really seeing I don’t need to store much for our second because not only does he prefer to play with his older brother’s toys but my mum or mother-in-law always gift him new toys and clothing. I do not have a shortage of toys coming into my house.
Kid clutter is a huge topic but we’re going to hit the big ones – toys, time, clothing – this week. So start thinking about what you, and your kids, will handle best: a toy-drive for kids in need or sneaking those forgotten Barbies out of the house one at a time.
If you want an in-depth book on this subject Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist has just released Clutter Free with Kids and it’s $2.99 until Monday (then it is $5.99 I believe). If you’re expecting a new baby you can check out my book, The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year (just say no to those must-have for baby lists).