Cull Toys | Day 2 – 30 Days TYP

30daystyp Day 2 - Cull Toys {An Everyday Story}

Today we are going to tackle those toys. Have a look around your house and the places that your children play most; how do you feel? Do you feel inspired to play, to tinker, to explore, to linger a little longer? Or do you feel a little overwhelmed and would rather spend time elsewhere?

Typically our children have a lot of toys. And quite often a lot of tiny pieces to all those toys. Imagine your kitchen. If it is bursting at the seams with pots and pans and the benches are covered with old mail and assorted junk, then we don’t really feel inspired to cook and create in that space, do we?

Our children’s play areas are much the same. And it all starts with the toys and materials we choose to put into that space.

Today, and over the next few days, we are going to sort and cull those toys. Last week I asked you take note of all the toys your child chose to play with in their free time. Keep those. Put them to the side. Now let’s tackle the rest.

Task:

  • sort through all your children’s toys
  • decide which one’s you are going to keep, donate and trash
  • be ruthless! The money has already been spent. You are not going to get any more value out of a toy if you keep it in the house and your children do not play with it. It is better to be moved on to a charity or local preschool
  • put aside any toys with sentimental value. Put them into storage if your children have outgrown them.
  • get some plastic containers (that way you can easily see the contents inside) and sort all the toys into sets or theme; superheroes, farm toys, train toys, math, language, science and so on
  • if you have any of those cheap junky toys which sometimes find their way into our homes; trash them. Best not to clutter up other people’s homes (or charity stores) with them

 30 Days to Transform Your Play - Day 2 Cull Toys {An Everyday Story}

Jack and Sarah’s toys are sorted into these identical clear 10L containers that I bought from Bunnings. We have a small house with very limited storage. These containers are stacked in our small laundry cupboard. Having the toys sorted this way means I know exactly what we have and where it is. I try to keep each theme to one container. Even if I see something on sale that I know Jack and Sarah would love, if that container is full then I don’t get it. Something would need to be donated first.

This is a big task. I know. And one that can and most probably will  feel very overwhelming about half an hour into starting. But stick with it. Just think of it as making space for new kinds of play to flourish; new levels of creativity and deeper levels of concentration.

You are going to feel so much better after sorting through and culling your children’s toys. This one change will make a dramatic difference to how your children play. Just the new empty space you have created will have a very positive effect on your and your children’s psyche.

Good luck!

If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series

27 Replies to “Cull Toys | Day 2 – 30 Days TYP”

  1. Had a big clean out last fall of baby & toddler things & another one recently…. we’re down to a few pretty good pieces. But, I think we may need to make some smart purchases that will grow more with where they’re at right now – can’t wait to see some of your suggestions! Our youngest 2 are 3 1/2 & turning 6 in 2 weeks :0) The older ones are all grown up already, but they still love to play! Thanks so much for doing this series!

  2. Working on it! Nothing feels better than a big cull. But always has to be when the children aren’t watching-they ‘rediscover’ things (not matter how awful) to save them from their fate!

  3. This has been on my To-Do list for a long time. Thank you for creating this series, I am looking forward to each post which will hopefully nudge *push* me in the right direction!
    Thank you!!

  4. This is a hot topic in my house at the moment! We have a playroom for family day care with ‘toys’ chosen for their versatility across age groups, open-endedness (I think I just made up a word there!) and beauty. My boys play with them quite a bit. But they rarely play in their bedroom because it’s always so messy due to the huuuuuuge number of toys in there! The LEGO collection that is regularly played with is actually in a 3rd room. I did say we have a lot of toys, didn’t I? The grandparents visit every 3 weeks and the boys love getting a toy each at every visit, which means they have an awful lot of toys in their room. They tip them all out looking for something, then don’t clean up the mess because they’re too overwhelmed by the number of toys/size of the mess. There are going to be tears and anger from the 6 year old but we really need to declutter. I’m thinking we set some groundrules on what toys to keep, sort the toys into a go pile, potentially keep pile and a definitely keep in your bedroom pile. Then once they show us they can keep their room (reasonably) tidy with the keep pile of toys, they can choose one or two extra toys from the potential pile. And anything from the original definitely keep pile that they never play with can be moved on then too. There are some sentimental toys we’ll put in storage, but I think once a lot of the toys are out of their eyesight they won’t actually miss them.

  5. Off to Ikea tonight . Reflecting on toy culing on my blog.

  6. I love a good cull! We have one every year just before Christmas, but I’m looking at the playroom, and thinking about the boys’ bedroom, and we definitely need another one. Just need to manage it when they’re not looking!

  7. We have a good rhythm in terms of rotating toys out right now, but that doesn’t mean that the excess toys are well-organized or even thoughtfully kept. We need to figure out a better system for toys that aren’t in current use.

    I love your point that the money is already spent. I’m going to keep that in mind when facing financial guilt as I go through the spring cleaning process in all areas of the house — not just the toys (I’m looking at you, unworn dress with the tags still on it).

    Thanks again for the push to get started.

  8. This is such a wonderful project! We would all benefit by clearing out quite a bit of our stuff, I believe. I’m a little troubled, though, at the encouragement to “trash” what we might think are “cheap junky toys.” With landfills that are overflowing, I think that it’s always wise to be very, very mindful about sending as little there as possible. Especially plastic, which won’t even come close to decomposing in our lifetime.

    While having these toys may not fit in with our personal lifestyle, others may still get use out of them. And there may be uses beyond their original intent. I would offer as an alternative, finding a creative reuse center to donate these items, or using a service, such as Freecycle, to offer these items to others. Artists and makers of all kinds may have projects in which they could re-use these items in ways we never would imagine. If that’s not possible, I would also explore the possibility of taking these toys apart and recycling whatever plastic or other bits that are able to be recycled before just tossing them in the trash.

    1. Thank you for mentioning this. The thought of perfectly good toys being thrown in to the landfill because we have somehow arbitrarily decided that we are too good for them is heartbreaking, environmentally-frightening and just plain sad. Any parent who thinks they are doing good by throwing toys to the landfill should take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror. Some parents would love to be able to give their kids toys like this, because it may be all they can offer. Shame to create garbage.

      1. What about making mobiles out of the little plastic toys? One could spray paint the toys each a solid color, then hang with fishing line or wire from gathered sticks. Fun project with kids when the paint is dry. Can hang outdoors from trees!

  9. love the idea of the clear plastic containers!

  10. My husband & 1 and our 2 children live in a small one bedroom flat whilst we renovate our future home. My son has one drawer under his bed for toys and my daughter a slim cupboard in the kitchen (which also houses card & board games).
    Although there is not much to cull, I will be looking to organise better so that this will be habit in the new house.

  11. Thank you so much for writing about this. I just have a question: When you say we should sort toys and put ay in plastic containers, do you mean the toys we have decided to keep? Or do we keep those out on the shelves? I’m wondering if the idea is to just declutter and keep toys to a minimum, or to completely put away all toys so there’s just space.

  12. Hi,

    I stumbled across this post when looking up Reggio Emilia early education system and I love this concept. My LO is 16 months old and I think there may be too much in the playroom and it’s hard to get him to focus on a specific activity – I know…. he’s young and that’s quite normal. I also want to make sure I am investing in the right type of toys and activities. Right now he’s into cars and fish….any tips you can send my way would be appreciated. I know I am late to the party but am looking forward to this 30 day journey 🙂

  13. Please don’t say to not junk up charity stores with old toys and just throw them away.
    Donate or recycle. There’s no reason to throw away a toy when many go without and landfills are too overfilled.

    Please be mindful.

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