Tag Archives: birthday

Clutter Free Gifts For Kids

Cowabunga!

Have a cherished kid in your life that you enjoy gifting to? Great intentions and generosity from friends and family leave many homes overrun with toys. Every birthday or holiday brings in gifts from multiple people and often each of those people gives multiple gifts!

When considering what to give, begin with the end in mind. Inevitably the toy you give will be outgrown and need to be disposed of somehow –  it is VERY difficult to donate toys. Most thrift stores won’t take them. Toy consignment stores are picky and toys need to be complete and in great condition. Most families don’t have the time or energy to sell things online or have garage sales. All this means many, many toys end up in landfill or homes get overrun because folks don’t want to just throw things away.

There are lots of clutter-free ways to express your love and care for kiddos, here are some easy gift alternatives to toys:

  • Memberships – or single visit tickets to fun kid places such as amusement parks, zoos, or aquariums
  • Digital Gifts – Audible, iTunes, digital books, online magazines
  • Experiences – movie tickets, miniature golf or fun centers, mani-pedi or facials, a picnic outing with special relative
  • Classes – toddler play spaces or mini gym. Summer camp. Swimming, gymnastics, sewing, cooking, art, nature; there are classes in every topic imaginable!
  • College fund or savings bonds – Open or contribute to a college fund
  • Food – a variety popcorn tin, box of cake pops, tour of Jelly Belly Factory,  candy apple making kit, cake decorating kit

A quick google search of “clutter-free gifts for kids” will turn up lots of other creative ideas. Give your adult children a break by not burdening them with toys to sort, store and pass on when the kids outgrow them.

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Filed under children, Decluttering, Holidays, Kids

Making Room for Toys

Prepare for the invasion!

Prepare for the invasion!

Balls and trains and bears, Oh My!

It’s that time of year…the new toy deluge! You may be wishing you got a magic wand for Christmas or Hanukkah to wave and create space for all the toys.

The key to organized toy storage is adequate shelving and right-size containers.

  • Most kids will play with the things they can clearly see and easily get to
  • Open shelving 12-16” deep works best for toys
  • Use labeled containers where it makes sense to group similar small toys together: one for all Playmobil®, one for magnetic toy building sets, one for doll clothes, etc.
  • Larger toys can sit out on the shelf and don’t need a container
  • Legos®: don’t waste your time and money on complicated sorting systems; kids rarely keep them sorted. A large shallow tub they can paw through works best
  • Accept the reality that there will always be some amount of miscellanea – the giveaways from birthday parties, small trinkets, etc that need their own container. Use a container as a limiter – only allow as much as will fit.

Schedule a purge before holidays and birthdays.

Make room in advance for the new toys by making a point to gather donations of older or unused toys ahead of time.

And yes, it is perfectly fine to purge toys behind your kids’ backs! If possible, however, involving your kids in the process helps teach them about setting limits and generosity.

What’s your toy challenge?  Comment here.

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Filed under Bedroom, Closets, General Organizing, Holidays, Kids, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Storage, Strategies