Christmas is fast approaching and for some, like myself, there maybe a child's birthday looming too. For my family, this is a great opportunity to have a sort through of all the toys, books and games and to declutter. We tend to have a good sort through twice a year to keep on top of everything, which I highly recommend.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with toys, and children are notorious for telling you that they have to keep absolutely everything, but the reality is that in doing so, not only does your house become cluttered, your children become overwhelmed, which means that they struggle to play - their brains have gone into overdrive and they find it difficult to know what to play with, jumping from toy to toy, not knowing what to do next.
Research shows that, provided with fewer toys, kids will engage in longer periods of play and play more creatively, but the benefits don't there and here is why de-cluttering the toys in your home is important.
Less stress - Physical clutter creates stress. This can reduce your ability to focus and can diminish how satisfied you feel in life. By reducing the amount of toys within the home, you will not only be helping to decrease the levels of stress in your child but also yourself. It will also help both of you improve focus and satisfaction.
Less time tidying up - Sounds obvious, I know, but having less, means less to clear away, which means more time for other things. You will also find that your child is more likely to help with tidying up if there is less to do.
Children will care for their possessions more - Having less and feeling less overwhelmed will help your children to care about their possessions more, and take pride in keeping things tidy, which means they are more likely to tidy without prompting.
You may be wondering where to begin. If you have a lot, spread throughout the house it can be hard, so here is what to do:
Pick one room at a time - Decide which room that you want to tackle first. Is it one of the kid's rooms? Or perhaps the playroom?
It is much easier to take each room, one at a time so start with where you feel needs sorting first.
Pick a time where you have time - De-cluttering can take hours, and it is best to finish a room on the same day that you have started or you will run the risk of more clutter and less enthusiasm!
Pick a time where you can take the whole day if you need to and where you can take your time - the aim is to make life les stressful, not more!
Get the kids to help - I think it is important for kids to help, not only so they learn vital life skills but so that they understand that it is important to declutter. You can explain that to have new toys/books/games, they have to get rid of some of the older ones. You could suggest to older children that can sell some of their things to make some money, but it is also important to give some things to others too.
Keep these questions in mind -
" Does my child play with this?" - think back throughout the year how often have they played it it?
" Has my child outgrown this?" - Are there toys that they are now too old for? Nostalgia can play a part in keeping some toys but they might not be getting anything out of toys that are more suited to a child two years younger.
" Does my child really love this?" - If the answer is yes, then keep. If no, get rid!
"Would my child realise that this is gone?" - When it comes to getting rid of toys, children often suddenly decide that they love everything. The reality is though, they seldom do and those toys that you know they have shown no interest in for the last year, are very much going to be the ones that they will not miss.