5 minimalist tips for decluttering toys
Don’t you think that we’ve gone a bit overboard in the last couple of years when it comes to our consumption? We work all week long, just to spend all that hard-earned money over the weekend on stuff we don’t even really need. And with this consumption, we give an example to our children as well. They get an inflatable pool, three different stacking ring toys, more stuffed animals than they can even fit in their room, a plastic train, a garage full of cars and everything that they desire. Within years the house is full of stuff for the little ones and still they hang on the couch, bored out of their minds and whining that they don’t have anything to play with. Of course you want to make sure that your kids have everything that they can possibly need, but be honest: do they really need or even really want all of those things? When it comes to children, less is often more. The more stuff they have, the less they actually play with it. It’s high time we declutter and minimize all of these toys. But how to go about this? And how do you keep your family from making those same choices again in the future? Today I will share 5 minimalist tips for decluttering toys, for now and the future.
#1 Minimize and Buy Less
The very first step in decluttering toys is minimizing the toys that you already have. Take a good look at everything that your family gathered over the years. Anything that doesn’t suit your child’s interests anymore can go. Same goes for all those toys that they never even play with. And as far as I am concerned, you even get rid of all those toys that drive you mad. You know the things I am talking about. Those pianos that just won’t stop playing the same tune over and over again. Those puzzle books that they never finish, so you end up crawling under the couch every single night to gather all those pieces. Those toys that only seem to make the kids angry when the pieces won’t fit together. I got rid of most of these toys to save myself and my kids a lot of frustration. All those toys that you gathered and that are still in reasonably good shape can be donated to a school, day-care or hospital nearby. Or maybe you have friends or family with kids that would be very happy with it? Don’t just throw it out but put those toys to good use. After cleaning out all of those toys, you can take a good look at what is left. Maybe you’ll notice that there is something that would make a nice addition to it in the future for a birthday or holiday. Just keep that in mind and add it to the list, but stop buying random toys that they don’t actually need. The kids will probably be delighted after seeing what you did with their toys. They get to play with things they forgot they had and because they no longer have an overwhelming amount of toys, they actually appreciate and play with the stuff they do have.
#2 Buy Second-Hand
When you do buy new toys for the kids, consider buying it second-hand. There are a lot of parents out there with the same overwhelming amount of stuff and they would love to get rid of it, just like you. That is why you can buy so much kids stuff, that looks like it’s never been used, online and in second-hand shops for just a fraction of the original price. Shopping second-hand is by far the most sustainable option and it makes it easier to switch up the toys from now and then. Is your son or daughter going through a puzzle phase? Just buy a stack of second-hand puzzles to give them a challenge. Once they are done, you can easily return the puzzles to the shop without having spent a whole lot of money on them. I wouldn’t be so quick to give away toys that I bought brand new because of all the money it cost me, but with second-hand items this just isn’t that much of an issue.
#3 Go Sustainable
I mentioned earlier that second-hand toys are by far the most sustainable option. By buying second-hand, no new toys have to be made and no new resources have to be used. But there will be times that you just want to buy something new or that you can’t find a particular toy second-hand. Luckily, there is a still growing selection of great sustainable toys out there that you can choose from. Because you buy less toys overall, it is definitely worth investing some more money in toys that are safer, more durable and more sustainable. Invest in quality over quantity by choosing brands that have the best interest of the production workers and their costumers at heart and choose sustainable materials, like recycled plastic and wood, over cheap plastic toys that tend to break when you touch them and can even be harmful to the health of your little ones. There are more sustainable plastic toys out there, like LEGO and Playmobil. These brands make toys that last longer than a lifetime and that stay interesting, even when the kids get older.
#4 Skip the Trends
Sure, it is easy for me to talk: I have two little kids that haven’t quite reached the age that they are super susceptible to trends and the opinions of their peers. But I strongly believe that raising kids that are aware of these mechanisms and immune to trends starts from a very young age. That is why I don’t buy them things from brands and cartoon characters that they love. Watching the cartoon should be enough, they don’t have to have a backpack, lunchbox, socks and slippers from Paw Patrol or Frozen. It adds nothing and when the trend fades and interests change, they will insist that you buy them something new because they can’t and won’t be seen with these things anymore. It’s a never-ending cycle that you best don’t start with at all. And if there is something that they really love, they can put it on their list for a birthday or holiday or even save money for it themselves. If it matters that much to them, it will still be relevant in a few weeks or months.
#5 Borrow or Rent Toys
Since kids tend to grow out of both clothes and toys relatively fast, it can be worth considering renting or borrowing toys instead of buying them. Most towns have a toy library. It works just like a regular library, but with toys. If you don’t have that option nearby, try looking online. There are numerous platforms that offer possibilies for renting toys for a certain amount of time for kids of all ages. Or you could consider setting up a plan with some other parents to borrow and switch toys with eachother. That way you always have something interesting to offer the kids without having to buy something new.
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