Millennial Mums are Overwhelmed By Toys (How to Declutter Them)

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Millennial mums are overwhelmed by toys.

If your kids’ toys are driving you insane, and you really wish you could get a handle on it, but you just simply don’t know where to start, then welcome, this article is for you. 

I’m a millennial mum myself, and I was in that place too. 

I was feeling really overwhelmed by my children’s toys. 

But I didn’t know how to start decluttering without upsetting my kids or feeling like I was going to ruin their childhood. 

And I did feel like there must be a kind and respectful way to do this for our children and at the same time have a balance so that we’re not constantly overstimulated and annoyed by toys.

Millennial mums are overwhelmed by toys clutter

Why millennial mums are overwhelmed by toys

I recently read an article by Business insider that says that millennial parents are overwhelmed by the number of toys that their children have. 

One reason why this is happening is the prices. 

While all of the other things have gotten pricier in our lives in the last 30 years, especially with the cost of living crisis, toys are the one thing that has gotten a lot cheaper. 

According to Business insider, a toy that cost $20 in 1993 can be bought today for a bit over $4. 

This means that we can afford to buy more, and it’s much easier to fill our homes with toys.

Feel free to watch the video or keep reading below:

Why children get overwhelmed by toy clutter

On the other side of this, a lot of other studies have said that children actually respond way better to having fewer choices. 

There are a few reasons for this, but one of them is decision fatigue (and we adults experience this too). 

Children can get overwhelmed if they have a mountain of toys. 

It can be way too stimulating for them to have too many choices. This is why we often see children hopping from one toy to the next in a short amount of time. 

They can’t really focus on one toy or one activity because their brains are just constantly overstimulated. 

So having fewer toys actually helps with kids’ independent play, creativity, and development as well.

This is something we have tried to incorporate too: just having fewer toys but better quality ones, especially open-ended toys as I have found that these work the best. 

For example, we love our Lovevery toys (*AD). I am a brand partner with them, and it’s the one thing that we actually get for our baby now. 

I don’t really buy any other baby toys. 

They’re great open-ended toys, made of wood, high quality, and perfect for their developmental age. 

Now I want to share with you five methods that have really helped us pare down our toys and manage what comes into the house. 

It might be easy to declutter the toys, but then Christmas and birthdays come, which means new toys might be coming in, and soon enough your house is cluttered again. 

So here are a few things to try and change that. 

5 Tips for Decluttering Toys (and keeping it that way)

1. The wishlist

This is actually something I learned from a friend of mine

When my son was a toddler, I used to go with him to the shops, and he would see the little car toys. He would always ask for a toy, and I would give in. 

I would buy him a little toy every time because they were so cheap! 

And we often do this, also because we want to treat them, we want to make them feel good, or sometimes we just want to avoid a meltdown. 

But obviously, it’s not the right message to send them.

So I would buy him lots of little cars and toys, and then I would be obviously overwhelmed by my home because it was so overstuffed. 

He’s a bit older now, so he understands things better, and what we do now and what has worked for a long time for us is ‘the wishlist of pictures’.

Let’s say we go to the shop. 

He sees a toy on the shelf and he really, really wants it. 

What we say is, ‘Okay, let’s take a picture of this and put it on your wishlist.’ 

On my phone, I have an album called ‘Victor’s Wishlist’, and it contains a bunch of pictures of all the toys that he’s seen and asked for. 

What this does is that it makes him feel like he’s got a bit of that toy, so he’s not going to lose it because we leave the shop and he’s never going to see it again. He’s got it there in the pictures. 

And then when his birthday or Christmas comes around, and we want to buy him something, we will look through the wish list and he can pick what he wants.

Doing this, we’ve noticed that it’s often about impulse buying. 

The impulse purchase that we as grown-ups experience as well. 

When his birthday came around, we looked through the wishlist and he picked one thing that he wanted from hundreds he had on his wish list. He picked one thing, a little monster truck. 

That’s it. He didn’t want anything else. 

Had I bought all of those little things right there while in the shop, those would have cluttered up my home and most likely he wouldn’t have played with them a week or even a day after the purchase.

So having a wishlist works like magic. 

Children might protest at first because it takes time to adjust to a change. But if you stick with this, it massively helps down the line.

The funny thing is, I have adopted this approach too! 

So now when I go to the shop and see a jumper or some shoes that I really love, and I’m thinking if I should get them or not, I take a picture and put it on my wishlist. 

This way, I’m giving myself a ‘cooling-off period’. Then, in a few weeks or days, I will go through my wishlist. 

And more often than not, when I’m home and I look at the pictures again, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I don’t really want that.’ 

When we’re in the shop, and maybe we are in a bit of an emotional state, it’s easy to feel like giving in to that impulse buy. 

But having that wish list and that cooling-off period helps enormously with this.

2. The Container Method

We use this for a lot of different things in our house. 

When it comes to toys, my son has some toy baskets downstairs, and some in his room. 

For example, he has a basket where we keep all the soft toys. 

If it’s overstuffed, if you can’t put anything else in there, and you want to buy or get more soft toys, we will have to look through it. 

Maybe we’ll have to get rid of some toys from there because there’s not enough space to put more in it.

I think this also teaches them to appreciate what they have a lot more and also to think harder about which ones are important to them and which ones are not. 

And this is a way to include children in the decluttering as well. 

For example, we have a basket for magnetic tiles, one for wooden blocks, and one for cars. 

And we’re not going to buy more tiles, blocks, or cars because there’s no more space for more. 

Giving a container for each category or collection of toys is extremely helpful.

And we did this not just with ‘proper’ toys, but also with ‘treasures’. 

My son has a little basket in his room where he keeps all of those little treasures, like party fillers from birthday parties or special rocks found on the ground in the park. 

If this basket gets overflowing, and he wants to add more, he will have to go through what’s in it and see if there’s anything that doesn’t really mean that much to him anymore. 

And he has gotten very good at this as well. Again, it’s not about perfection, but about practising together to gain this new skill for them.

3. One in, one out

This method, of one-in-one-out, works for pretty much anything for us, from clothes to accessories. 

When it comes to toys, if my son wants more toys and we already have a lot of them in that category, or if I just feel like it’s too overwhelming, I will say, ‘Okay, if you want to buy this new toy, we can look through your basket of things, and you can decide which one you’re ready to let go of so we can bring that new one in.’ 

This way, I’m making sure we’re not going to get overwhelmed with toys. 

If we are to think about it, how many items do we bring into our house each week? 

And how many things do we take out of our house each week? 

If these two numbers are not kind of equal, things are just going to pile on, be it toys or clothes. 

That’s why I think the one-in-one-out method works so well because it keeps you in check. And it also keeps you decluttering while at the same time bringing in new things (as this is inevitable, especially with kids).

4. The ‘Decide Later’ Bin

This method has also worked really well for my son. 

Sometimes I will say, ‘Okay, things are getting a bit out of hand, let’s declutter some toys.’ And we go through them together.

How this process goes depends on the child’s emotional state, depending on how tired they are, how the day was, or how school went.

In my son’s case, he does have moments when he’s fine to get rid of stuff. And he also has moments where he’s like, ‘No, I want to keep pretty much everything.’ And that’s also okay. 

What we do is we have a ‘Decide Later’ bin. 

So, I will tell him, ‘Put the things that you want to keep and really love to play with in your ‘keep basket’. 

Anything else that you don’t really want to play with right now, how about we put it in this Decide Later bin?’

And he’ll put those toys in there. 

We’ll then go through them at a later time and make decisions about them.

When it comes to younger kids, babies or toddlers, I feel like decluttering is not really something you can do with them. You’ll have to wait a bit. 

When my son was younger, I would just do the ‘Decide Later’ bin myself. I would put toys in there that I knew he wasn’t playing with. Then, if in a month or so (you can choose your timeframe) he hasn’t asked for any of those toys, then I would feel okay to declutter them (donate or sell). 

During that month when a toy was in the ‘Decide Later’ bin, if my son were to ask for it, I could easily grab it for him. 

But most of the time, he wouldn’t even notice that they were gone, and he had never asked for them. 

He didn’t even remember them. If I had shown it back then and asked him, ‘Do you want to keep this?’, then of course he would’ve said ‘yes’ when he was 2-3 years old. 

So do keep your child’s age in mind, as sometimes they might be too young for decluttering with them.

5. The toy rotation system

Piece of advice, do be careful with this one because it can get out of hand if we use it as a way of keeping all the clutter. 

First, declutter, and make sure things are in a more manageable place. That’s what I did. 

Now, if I find that I’m still a bit overwhelmed but my kids still want to keep all the toys, I will put some of them in a storage bin. 

And I will keep it in the shed or loft, making sure I’m not overstuffing my storage areas. 

This bin becomes a ‘toy rotation bin’, as later on, I can swap them with other toys, or I can bring them back into the house. And it feels like having new toys. 

Millennial mums are overwhelmed by toys clutter

I do think it’s really important to be kind and considerate to our children. I don’t want to just throw away all of my kids’ toys, or things that mean a lot to them. 

Even though for me it might be ‘just a rock’, for my son it might be a very special and important rock. So we need to make sure we strike a balance here.

Decluttering toys can also mean more independent play and less stress for us too. 

If we are less overstimulated, less stressed, and less annoyed by all the things we see on the floor, then we probably have a bit more energy and a bit more time. 

And we will be able to spend that quality time with them, do activities with them, and play together. 

I truly believe that this is going to help their development and their connection to us a lot more than having a pile of toys. 

I hope you found this article helpful and you’ll stick around for more decluttering tips.

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