I started this task of de-owning the children’s toys with high hopes to be done sooner – but a sick child and a couple of snow days has slowed life down in an unexpectedly peaceful way. My son and I played repeatedly with wooden blocks and a marble run set, which I’m happy to report are both in the Keep pile! The rest of the toys,however, were put through the process of deciding whether to consign, donate, trash, or keep.
I used this suggested process for decluttering the toys. My added category was “Consign” for those toys that are in great shape and would most likely sell. I’ve decided to do one more consignment sale for Spring/Summer and one more for Fall/Winter this year. After that, toys and clothes will be donated to our local thrift store or a free baby exchange that is held in our city.
The more I sift through our belongings, the easier it is to let things go. I’ve been approaching items with the lens of, “is this being used and enjoyed in the present?” As I mentioned here I am trying to declutter from a place of enough – that I don’t have to hold onto things “just in case”. I am trying not to live in the past or the future, but considering items in the reality of the present.
There were moments as I sorted when I caught myself saying, “oh, he might enjoy playing with that again” or “he might enjoy that in the future” when in reality none of the kids have touched it in months if ever.
Here are the visual results of my decluttering efforts:
We gave the toddler bed away to friends who needed it and we’re selling the bookshelf. De-owning those two big pieces of furniture has created much needed space. I’m happy to say that the Keep pile is the smallest of them all.
Containing vs. De-owning
My middle son asked me how my day was and I mentioned I spent it decluttering the kids toys. He said sheepishly, “Yeah, you’ve done that before mom, but it always seems to get cluttered again.” He said it in a very matter of fact way. I know that that has been true in the past – I’ve frantically cleaned an area (usually before a guest comes), only to see it clutter up again.
In the past though I have not made concerted, consistent efforts to donate, sell, and give away. I was mostly just shoving things away in bursting closets. Bursting closets do eventually explode. Joshua Becker writes of the helpful benefits of de-owning versus organizing here.
Setting An Intention for a New Way
How will I keep the toys at bay? How will I enlist my son and our whole family in de-owning versus organizing?
3 Steps our family will take:
- Follow the one in (at least) one out rule: if a new toy or book comes in the house, one should be put in the donation pile
- Involve the children in donating unused but usable toys and books regularly, but especially before birthdays and holidays
- Rotate books and toys in order to know what is loved and worth keeping
I’ve already noticed that my youngest son is playing with the Mr. Potato Heads in the bin now after they were organized and the area wasn’t overwhelmed with clutter!
Great post. It’s funny how those things creep back in if you’re not careful. I found our timeless toys are: blocks, doll house, play kitchen and trains. They are all worth keeping. Birthdays and christmas are the hardest, my family is always asking what they can buy for my children and I’m thinking… No more toys!!!! This year I was pleasantly surprised that they took my suggestion of a membership somewhere.
You’re so right Chellie. I’m trying to gear my family towards experiential gifts as well. I know it’s hard for relatives further away – they want to send a physical gift that can be opened. Blocks and legos are keepers in our house too!
This is great! I tend to have my daughter help me go through her toys, books and other stuff before her birthday and Christmas when I know there will be a lot coming in. I tend to let her keep things temporarily when she hesitates. We have the “if you don’t use it in 1 month, it goes” policy. It works so well!
Visiting from the Monday Madness link party!
Kate | TheOrganizedDream.com
Thanks for dropping by Kate! Yes, now that we’ve let a lot of the toys go, I’m hoping the regular practice of “one in, one out” will help us keep things in check!
Great job Angela. Came here from Nony.
I too am trying to declutter from a place of enough. Feels great to have breathing room, doesn’t it?
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
If you have space, keep their outgrown toys that are truly classic (i.e: they saw a LOT of playing in their lifetime) for when grandkids come around. I know that seems like forever, but my kids love to play with my old toys that my mom saved. Cool stuff that you can’t buy anymore because they don’t make them! Enjoy your new organized playroom.
Thank you Jenny! I might consider saving a small box of toys and books. Right now I just want to get rid of it all though!
Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog says
Great post. We don’t have kids yet so you’d think I wouldn’t have to worry about “toy clutter” but we seem to have plenty of “toys” ourselves! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty !
Yes, adults definitely have their own clutter with hobbies and interests!