I foung myself tripping over toys, angry and irritable at the onslaught of bright colored plastic that dominated every corner of my home. Can’t we EVER get these toys under control? It seemed like the mess was never-ending.
Aside from my personal perference for tidyness,
What’s Wrong with Too Many Toys?
Why Your Kids Need Fewer Toys
In our home, the abundance of toys had lead to some issues that I was concerned with.
As I mentioned, it seemed like the house was ALWAYS messy! Now, I have to tell you, we have tried every system out there for organizing toys. Even though we discarded regularly, there were always toys that needed picking up.
I tried to give my kids opportunities for success by making it easy to put away their toys in categorized buckets, but I was only setting them up to fail because there were so many items. It was beyond their development to manage such a large mess.
If I had trouble organizing and cleaning up, how could I expect them to!?
They Didn’t Take Care of Their Toys.
One of our first ways to manage toys was to discard broken toys, anything they stopped playing with or had outgrown. This lead to a replacement/disposable mindset.
They weren’t able to understand the value of their things so they didn’t respect them. Broke my Slinky? That’s ok, I was bored of it. Hey, this Christmas can I get a new Slinky?
Perhaps the worst case of this was the American Girl doll. These dolls are high quality, expensive, detailed, meant to last a lifetime. My daughter’s doll turned up one afternoon with frizzed hair and chopped-off bangs. Y’all, she had home-barbered Molly! I was disgusted, but not surprised. She hadn’t learned the value of toys because there was always a replacement ready to go.
Their Creativity is Limited
We tried a lot of organizing systems that ultimately failed, but the best option for limiting their toys was “the Bucket System” where we kept them all in bins of like items.
Only thing is, when their toys were all segregated, they couldn’t interact in new and imaginative ways.
If my kids had all their toys together, they might use the building blocks to make furniture for those American Girls, or houses for Barbie. Maybe the My Little Ponies would take up residence at the Little People Farm.
This is the work of play. It’s what children are meant to do. It’s creative thinking, problem solving, cooperative thinking, brain storming… this is the value of play. And I was robbing them of it.
It’s terrible really, but all those objects calling out for attention–needing fixing, needing to be put away, needing to be cleaned, cared for, organized, donated, etc.–was a huge irritaion to me. As I mentioned, I expected my kids to be able to put away their toys. The result of unmet expectations is dissappointment (at best). It just didn’t seem fair to set my kids up for disappointing their mom.
Children fight over toys. The more toys they have, the more they argue to claim dominance over a particular object. I predict that two children in a room with 7 balls would find a way to argue over who got which balls. But give them one ball, and they’ll quickly dream up a game to play together. My kids were fighting more than they were playing!
Too Much Time Spent Picking Up.
If they weren’t fighting, they were probably dawdling in cleaning up their toys. I might require that they clean up (the mess that was left out yesterday) before they play. They would spend all their time cleaning up and never have time to play!
The Consumer Mindset: Always Wanting More.
Too many toys actually leads to discontenment.
Have you ever gone to a buffet with hundreds of items and thought to yourself, “there’s nothing to eat”? That’s how children feel in a room with too many toys–bored.
They’re actually overwhelmed at the options. They don’t know what to do with all those things.
Compare that to the feeling of sitting down at a restaurant with a limited menu. You are able to quickly choose which dish you want and be quite satisfied with that choice.
When our kids get a new toy, suddenly it stands out of the crowd. Like the items featured in a seasonal menu insert, it seems like a better choice because it saves you from wading through the other options.
With too many toys, our kids had become addicted to the NEW. They were unable to create, unable to find satisfaction, and always wanting more.
I realized that if my kids were to have fewer toys, they would reap some amazing benefits.
Fewer toys would mean:
- They would be more content with what they had.
- They would take better care of their toys.
- They would be more creative in their play.
- They would be happier, argue less, and experience less frustration from their mother
- They would have more time for playing.
I was convinced, but how to get my kids on board with an EPIC TOY CLEANOUT?
It was easy when I followed a few simple steps: How to Convince Your Kids to Get Rid of Their Toys.
Have you ever felt like your kids have too many toys? What are some of the solutions you’ve tried? Let me know what your biggest frustration is with kids’ stuff!! Comment below, email Christina@gathering-joy.com, or JOIN the CONVERSATION in our Facebook group.
Bubbles and dandelion wishes,