The holidays mean too many toys for many children. This may also mean more clutter. There are a variety of ways to deal with the mess. Let’s explore a few of them.
Donate to others
Many parents have shared that they go through toys with their children. They let the children choose which ones they have outgrown, no longer use or would be willing to give to another child. Then they donate them to others. If they know someone who would like them, they can give them directly to the family. If not, they can donate them to organizations or groups who will use them.
After the holidays, there may be many boxes that need to be re-used or recycled. Large shipping boxes that can be used for moving can be donated to some of the moving van companies who have a free box exchange in their lobbies.
But boxes can make great toys and can provide a place to store toys. Large boxes can be decorated to be a playhouse. Some can be turned into automobiles for pretend play. These large boxes can provide hours of fun, sometimes as much, if not more, than toys.
Boxes can attract pests and become a good place for them to hide. The glue used in boxes may also be a source of food for pests, so it is important to keep the area clean and watch for pests. Some people paint the boxes or cover small boxes in self-adhesive paper and use them for building blocks. Check for ideas online and allow the children to get creative.
Check to see if anyone in your community repairs broken toys. Sometimes people may want them for the parts.
I saved one of my favorite ideas for last. Favorites that still get a lot of use can be rotated with new toys. Take some of their favorite gifts and some of their favorite older items and put them aside in a closet or cupboard. Some children get so much they can become overwhelmed. Play is children’s work. So just like parents, when there is too much to do, it can become overwhelming. Too much “stuff” may be “over-stimulating” and stressful. How often to rotate is up to the parents, but usually every four to six weeks or keep some some things for certain seasons. This keeps the toys interesting and old toys become new again. Some of the new toys become more interesting than the day they were opened.
Ask loved ones to limit toys
For many adults, giving toys to children is the most fun part of the season. So, some may need to be reminded to limit how many toys they give. To help that loving, caring adult who wants to give, offer suggestions for things other than toys. For example, offer ideas of outings they can promise to do together, or other memory making projects they can do together. Because some of the best holiday memories are the times spent together while toys may be quickly forgotten.