Why We Get Rid of Our Kids' Toys (and 9 Keepers)

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We regularly get rid of our kids’ toys. 

If something is outgrown, broken, not played with regularly, misused and/or a constant cause of drama in our home – it’s out of here.

Honestly, it’s one of the nicest things we can do for them. Here’s why:

Kids get overwhelmed too.

Think of how you feel when your closet is so full you can’t find what you are looking for.

Or how you feel when you sit down to do work at your cluttered desk or to prep a meal on your crowded kitchen countertops.

Kids can feel that way too when they are surrounded by too much stuff.

Play is a child’s work. It provides them with opportunities to problem-solve, negotiate, imagine, create and learn.

And just like adults sitting down to a tidy & well-stocked work space, having a clear space to play and a few creativity boosting toys sets kids up for success and gives them the ability to get right down to work.

They CAN have too much of a good thing.

When our boys are surrounded by too many different toys at once, they can’t focus. They get excited about one toy, pick it up, look at it and then drop it to grab the next thing that catches their eye. It becomes a frantic quest to. touch. every. thing.

By dramatically cutting back on the number of toys they have access to at any one time, their play has gone from scattered to focused. After our latest post-Christmas toy clear out, our busy 2-year old actually sat still (!) and built a large structure out of magnetic tiles. Even though we knew this strategy worked well for our kids, we were still like who is this child?! 

How We Do It

  1. Pull Everything Out

  2. Sort & Categorize

  3. Get rid of anything broken, outgrown, worn out (with the exception of special sentimental items).

  4. Reduce by Category (How many cars to they need? How many stuffed animals?)

  5. Choose their favorites (kids can be great at helping with this).

  6. Choose a few toys to keep within reach. We tend to only put out one or two bins of things that come with multiple pieces (trains & train tracks or Duplos, etc.) out at one time per area.

  7. Set the rest of the keepers in a large tote to rotate in and out.

  8. Step back and watch how your kids react to their cleaner space and featured toys.

What We Have Kept

In our family, some toys have remained winners after multiple toy reductions. Not surprisingly, they are all toys that offer a lot of opportunity for creative play.

Here are nine toys that our boys highly recommend.  Note: I’m definitely not suggesting that you rush out and buy any of these, especially if you are currently drowning in toys! 

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Note: This post features affiliate links, which are a tiny commission companies pay me if you purchase an item through a link I share on this site. Your cost stays the same, your identity is confidential (I have no idea who you are) and it’s a nice bonus that helps support the site. (But seriously friends, PLEASE hold off on introducing any new toys until you deal with the toys already in your home.)