The holidays are right around the corner, and along with the holidays comes space and organizational issues. Where will the out of town relatives sleep? Where will all the holiday decorations go? Where can we put the Christmas tree? And, perhaps, the most frustrating one of all – where will the kids’ new toys go when their rooms and play areas are already overflowing with toys?
Parents know this dilemma all too well. Keeping toys organized and under control can seem like mission impossible even under normal circumstances. But when the holidays roll around and Santa drops off a sleigh full of new goodies or Grandma puts half of the toy store under the tree, even the best organizational system can crack under pressure. Don’t wait until after the holidays to try and figure out how to handle the excess. Take time now, before your schedule gets overloaded with shopping, holiday parties, and school concerts, to go through your children’s toys and reduce the inventory in anticipation of the new additions.
There are two main approaches to take in your endeavor. You can involve your kids, letting them decide what to keep and what to eliminate. Or, you can take on the task yourself while your kids aren’t around. Which tactic to take depends on what will work best for your family, including the ages of your children and their willingness to part with toys. In both approaches you will need to decide what to keep, what to give away or sell, and what to throw away.
If you decide to involve your children in the decluttering process, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Ask them which toys they no longer want. You may be surprised to find that you have more sentimental attachment to their toys than they do. Try to refrain from putting a guilt trip on them by reminding them how much they used to love that toy or that it was a gift from someone special. Some parents have found it helpful to keep the toys selected to give away for a couple of weeks, just in case someone has a change of heart.
If you have children who can’t bear to part with anything or who suddenly decide that the toys designated as giveaways are suddenly their absolute favorites, it may be easier to reduce the toys while they aren’t present. To help you decide which toys to eliminate, spend some time observing and noting which toys get played with and which ones rarely see the outside of the toy box. Again, it may be helpful to hang on to the giveaways for a short period of time, just in case someone discovers a favorite item is suddenly missing.
This same process can be applied to more than just toys. It can also be used to reduce your kids’ collections of books, sporting goods, clothing, and more.
Out of the items you decide to keep, there may be some items that your kids don’t play with anymore that you don’t want to give away. Maybe you want hang on to some toys so you can pass them on to your younger kids or a relative at a later time. Or perhaps there are items you want to hang onto for sentimental reasons, like trophies, awards, or “baby’s firsts.” These items are perfect for self storage. Group items by age, gender, or type of item in large plastic bins and label the boxes so they’re easy to find later.
Even after reducing the amount of toys, many parents find that rotating the toys and making only part of the toys accessible at the time helps keep them organized and helps keep the kids interested. A self storage unit is a great place to store those toys that are not currently available in the rotation.
Once you’ve gotten the toys and other collections minimized and streamlined, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the holiday festivities. Who knows, maybe some of that recovered space will be the perfect spot for the Christmas tree.