Thursday, October 6, 2011

Too Many Toys Getting You Down?

We have just gotten through to the other side of Emmett's second birthday and we find ourselves absolutely inundated with toys.  And a lot of them are either new, or still in regular use!  Emmett seems to play like I work, with all of his creative materials spread out around him on every available surface.  So it is time to adopt a few clutter reducing systems, and I am open to suggestions!  So I thought I would put up my ideas, or some ideas that have been given to me, and then hopefully open it up to any of you who have found good ways to deal with this problem.  I am hoping that the comments on this post, as well as the body, could become a helpful resource.   
So my friend Truddi, (who, let's be honest, is part of the cause of the inundation) suggested a tactic to me that I put into effect right away.  And the best thing about it is that it actually serves a double purpose.  She suggests packing up a bin of lots of tiny trucks and stashing it away high up in a closet out of sight of curious little toddler eyes.  Then when you really need an occupied child, or are at a loss on a rainy day you can pull it down and open it up.  Isn't this genius?  It gets rid of clutter and supplies a parent with a periodic "get out of jail free card." She said she had certain toys when her children were young that they only were allowed to play with when she was sewing, and really needed a little peace and quiet.  
Another somewhat simpler version of the same idea is just to rotate your whole toy collection every month or two.  Just pack up half or a third or whatever toy quantity seems to be a problem and put it away.  Then when the current selection of toys gets stale just switch it up.  

And another variant that I love the idea of is to do a rotating toy swap with your friends with children the same age. Of course this means that you are bringing more toys into the house, but you are also sending some out, and you are sharing the wealth.  As long as you are careful about remembering that the point is to have less toys underfoot and not more, than the system should work.   It's so crazy, it just might work!!

So who has other ideas?  I'd love to hear them, and as you can tell from the top photo, I really need the help!  So much so that I almost titled this post "I think we need an intervention!" 


  1. I LOVE THIS! Love it. You could plunk my two-year-old down in Emmett's place and we'd never know the difference. We have SO MANY toys. And Christmas is coming. One thing we did do is pack a bin to leave at Grandma and Grandpa's house, so he has stuff to play with there without them buying more. This year's Christmas list, since I can't get by with just saying no toys please, is going to have a lot of books on it!

    I will check back because I'd love to see other suggestions. I do like the idea of the quiet time bin, though I have to say, my guy knows what he's got and he's likely to know if something's missing!! :)

  2. Thanks for the grandma and grandpa's house idea Kristen! Thats a good one, and economical as well! Maybe if your little guy notices something is missing he will be all the more excited to see it again when it reappears?

  3. That's entirely possible. If it's new, he wouldn't even notice (we have a bubble-blowing octopus that we couldn't return stashed in a closet that he doesn't even know about) but some of his older stuff he would. We really just need to do a whole reorganization of the whole mess!

  4. uh oh. there's another box coming your way i.e. emmett's belated bday gift. feel free to save it for a rainy day!

  5. Here's another trick I played on my kids when they were too young to notice: I stashed un-opened Xmas gifts in a closet when the number was overwhelming for a toddler and brought one out once a while to be opened and enjoyed throughout the post holiday doldrums. You have to acknowledge the gift promptly to avoid mad relatives, but it's fun for them to get an enthusiastic thank-you from the child later instead of an insincere attempt to remember who gifted what in the chaos of too many gifts. This can also reduce clutter if the deal is that the child chooses a toy to put away each time a new present is brought out. No negotiations!