5 ways to effectively manage toys in time for Christmas
Set your family up for less overwhelm and more time, space and money in the new year. With Christmas coming, now is the perfect time to put some strategies into place to ditch the toy excess and get organised in 2019.
Storage and organisation: Often, storage solutions end up being clutter magnets. The more space you have, the more you try to shove in and it quickly gets out of control. Your lack of toy organisation is not about a lack of space or boxes, it’s about an excess of stuff. When you have less to store, organising it becomes far simpler and less expensive. You don’t need to over-complicate it with expensive containers or systems. Reduce what you have, then keep 'like with like'. Make it easy for kids to access - and more importantly - put away again.
Enlist Santa: Start to reduce the existing excess now, and get Santa’s help. In the week leading up to Christmas, ask your child to choose a number of old toys to donate to other children. Let them know Santa can clean them up and re-use them for younger kids, and leave them under the tree to be collected on Christmas Eve. This will help make space for the new items coming in. You might help them focus on things they have clearly out-grown or large collections with too many items as a starting point; but let your child decide. And if they want to donate their discards to Santa after Christmas, let them know he is on holidays and not currently collecting, but that local charities need donations all year round.
Teach your child to de-clutter: Use the school holidays to your advantage. Set aside around 3 - 4 hours and teach them how to sort their items into categories and pick out their favourites. Don’t aim for perfection, but treat it as the first go around; any reduction of stuff is a win. Repeat the process each school holidays throughout the year, to take their de-cluttering further. Their skills and willingness to let go will increase with practice.
Toys out of sight: If you can, avoid having children's toys permanently located in the family area on display as this can disrupt the sense of calm in the home. Instead, work with your child to choose their activity, bring it out, enjoy it, and then put it away again. You may need to designate an area for 'works in progress' for short-term storage; look for a cupboard space with doors which is easily accessible to your child, and don’t let it become an ongoing catch-all.
Routine and responsibility: If your child is not contributing to the maintenance of the home, they will miss the opportunity to learn both cleaning and de-cluttering skills and will fail to make the connection between the quantity of their possessions and the time it takes to manage them. A great routine to install for the them is a 5 minute pre-bed put-away of any items they have left out; in both the family spaces and bedrooms. Ensuring they have a clean bedroom nightly promotes restful sleep and great habits.