Do not mistake this for a review of the latest sequel in the amazingly successful film franchise; you might have to wait a little longer for that. Think instead of a reality show, taped in your home, depicting your perpetual losing battle against the menacing onslaught of toys encroaching on your adult living space. With the holidays just around the corner, if you are a parent, you are no doubt girding your loins in preparation for a hefty invasion of action figures, games, and hot rods with miles of tracks. Even if you are bound and determined not to cave when your offspring throws a tantrum in the mall regarding the must-have toy of the moment, other well-meaning friends and relatives can be counted on to supplement the vast collection that leave no single room un-spared.
Our clients cite children’s toys among the most difficult clutter issues they face on an on-going basis. It is easy to understand how they come to be an accepted feature of interior landscape. We purchase various toys to support our children’s development or because of pressure both from our children as well as marketers. We even buy toys from time to time to assuage our guilt for not giving them as much time or attention. Some parents go on toy buying sprees to make up for their deprived childhoods.
Toys are among our children’s most prized possessions. The problems related to too many toys fall into several categories. They can constitute a major expense and increase your debt load. Experts warn us that an overabundance of toys becomes a replacement for more imaginative forms of play. Toys left unattended on stairs are accidents waiting to happen. Yet, from what we are exposed to as organizers, the twin issues of storage and attrition, particularly with respect to toys and games that have small parts that disappear, are the thorniest.
This is your wake-up call. Get a handle on this before the next big wave hits your beachhead. Ideally, try and get your kids involved in this project, which may be easier said than done. If not, don your warrior gear and go in solo. First, gather up the parts – doll clothes, Lego, game pieces, glitter sticks, etc. to try to restore order. Missing pieces make some games and craft sets unusable, so you need to take appropriate action. Toys that are still capable of maintaining your child’s attention require a different approach. Rather than keep everything available all of the time, you can implement a rotation system. Simply remove access to a percentage of the playthings and store them in a place that is hidden from view. This way you have a ready supply of “new again” distractions that you can introduce at those times when they are bored or you are coping with a migraine. If all of your toy storage is maximized, you still may have to purge deeper. Do you need guidance on which toys need to go? Topping our list of toy C.R.U.D. from the standpoint of sheer annoyance is anything that talks, barks or sounds like a siren. Do not despair, their batteries do expire eventually.