We decided to put half of the toys in a box in the closet for a month. At the end of the month we took these toys out and exchanged them for the toys that they had been playing with all month. The stored toys were like brand new ones to the children. Their eyes sparkled with excitement and joy. We made this exchange every month and it worked great. They were no longer overwhelmed and truly played with everything.
The problem that the children had, which even most adults have too, is seeing what is actually in front of them, especially if there is clutter. If everything they play with goes into one box, the pieces to something like a puzzle could go missing, they won’t play with it and it simply adds to the clutter. To take some of your children’s toys and put them in a box to store them means they can now actually see what is left and is available to play with.
I had a horizontal chest freezer that was well used with our family of six. There was a problem with the food that ended up at the bottom. I couldn’t reach that far in without falling into the freezer. As a result I picked out and used the easily accessible food at the top. I really had to work at using that which was at the bottom. Then we purchased an upright freezer with drawers to replace the old one. Amazing! It is so lovely to be able to open the drawer and to see what is in the freezer.
After thinning the toys out the choice of what to play with was made so much easier. Next Jim made shelves that the toys could be displayed on. The shelves were all at their eye level and below. There were toys such as Lego that they played with and then put back on the shelves, keeping all the pieces together. The toys could be played with at any time but before bath time at night every toy had to be back on the shelf. We would work at this together. This ensured that one; the mess was cleared so that tomorrow was a fresh start with no messes to clean up. This created a feeling of a brand new day without any problems, all ready to go. Two, it was training them to be responsible for their possessions. We put value on them, that they were worth caring for, and as a result they learned to value them too. Three, it made the space they played in free from clutter. Sure in a very short time of activity in the room many of the toys would be off the shelves but an area that is free of clutter invites play and activity.
By putting half the toys out of sight for a time you create an opportunity for the children to play with what they have and can see. Then when the new ones come out it’s like Christmas morning all over again. Their faces light up and they rediscover old friends.