Despite the 25 stages below know that you will never be finally rid of those old toys. Some you will even grow fond of and when a daughter spends a few nights at home during a relationship crisis you can be sure you will find her clutching her old teddy.
Boys grown into men will come home with their kids and happily get involved in games from the old toy box, reminiscing about when they received a toy and where it went with them. The following steps will however help you cut the clutter, but be warned; it is not as easy as it sounds.
1. Sorting out the toys with your child to be ditched does not always work. They will clutch at something you regard as broken, dirty and definitely not worth keeping and declare it has to stay. Get rid of broken, dirty and un-played with toys when they are not around.
2. If you are going to dump toys they have decided “can go” keep the bags out of the way until garbage disposal day – otherwise they will fiddle in there and “rescue” toys, hiding them in weird and wonderful places.
3. Plan a trip to a home for abandoned babies and tell the kids you need to take them something nice. Offer to buy one new toy for the babies home if the kids each donate one toy in good condition. They will usually enjoy handing them over and playing with them with the babies, then leaving them there.
4. Ditto for an orphanage where there are older kids – arrange a visit to help kids with homework and insist your kids take along something – like a bat and ball or a toy they have grown out of.
5. Clear out the clutter when they are at crèche or school. Find a cardboard box and dump all the toys you think they don’t play within it.
6. Hide it away in a garage or top of a cupboard. If a day or two later they start complaining about the missing toys – well then you can let them take out only what they want.
7. If there is silence after a week and they have not even have noticed a whole box of toys has gone then feel free to donate them to a good cause.
8. Puppies can get rid of toys super fast – get the kids to offer soft toys to the new puppy – within a week said puppy will have destroyed the toy if you are lucky, then you can ask them to donate another toy that’s past it’s sell-by date. If you get a Doberman this could go on for two whole years!
9. Keep going with this – you will soon be rid of all unwanted toys – plus a few wanted ones they left carelessly lying around. It will teach them to be tidy.
10. Strange as it may seem elderly people like soft toys too – a visit to a retirement home may enable you to get rid of some good-looking but unwanted soft toys.
11. On camping excursions really beat up toys can be used for target practice – chances are the kids will leave them lying outside and you can persuade them to dump them rather than returning home with them.
12. Send torn books to the paper-recycling bin.
13. Good books they have grown out of can be donated to a cause to be re-sold or given to the less privileged.
14. Toys will grow like some kind of magic foam and come oozing out of the kids room to take over the rest of the house – make sure you have a toy box for each and that for every new toy one old one has to go.
15. Persuade your children they do not really need so many toys – rather encourage them to play outdoors – often some old cardboard boxes to build a fort will keep them amused longer than the expensive remote control car.
16. There are those toys that refuse to die –like the sticky ball. Sticky balls pick up every bit of fluff, dust and hair around. Throw it out and the child will find it in the trash – heaven knows why they spend so much time analyzing the trash – said sticky ball will then be “rescued” and stuck to your ceiling.
17. Scrape it off the ceiling and dump in your handbag – the trash is obviously not a secure disposal spot.
18. Try to put it in your waste bin at work and the young guy who works near you will go “Aha, a sticky ball, I remember these,” and throw it up on your office ceiling – well now it’s your boss’s problem and no longer yours. Just so long he didn’t throw it directly above your workspace.
19. Lego does not count as clutter. It will be used right up to their teen years. Keep all the Lego in one box and save it for the grandchildren to play with.
20. Allow kids to trade their toys – hopefully they will not be good at bargaining and for two toys bargained they may bring home one. If they are skilled at bargaining you may have a problem – more toy clutter!
21. The toys kids have grown out of can be put aside in a box for visits from your friends with much younger children. You won’t be racking your brains on how to amuse them and hopefully can offer them a couple to take home.
22. You can recycle toys – use suitable ones that have hollow spaces as quirky succulent planters – give them away as gifts or keep them. At least there will be fewer toys in the toy box.
23. Lego can be assembled into a toothbrush holder, a pen holder or cell-phone holder – there are loads of possibilities.
24. Large construction toys – like a back-actor or bulldozer can be used as the base for a light in a teen room.
25. Little toys – lets says sets of fairly flat plastic figures can be glued onto a clock face bought at a DIY shop to create the hours – kids could have a dinosaur clock or a farmyard clock. Let’s hope they learn the numbers too instead of saying it’s chicken o clock!