Parents rejoice! It is time to get rid of your kid’s toys! No, not all of them. Unless you want to unleash an unhealthy amount of drama and meltdowns. Instead, let’s do the more logical thing, and reduce the number of toys your child has in the home. It’s a well-known fact that most kids don’t play with all of their toys. When they are new they pay attention to them but then they quickly shift their attention elsewhere. Then those neglected toys get piled up in bins or closets and rarely see the light of day while taking up copious amounts of space. Not any more! This month we are going to deal with that clutter. The September Use It Up Challenge is here and the focus, as you may have already guessed, is toys.
I’m not going to lie, this may very well be the most difficult month of this year-long decluttering challenge. But let me assure you, that if you stick with it and have plenty of patience, you will be able to get rid of some of those toys that are taking up space. Stick with me and you will have a successful September Use It Up Challenge.
September Use It Up Challenge
What is the Use It Up Challenge?
This is a monthly decluttering challenge that focuses on using the items instead of simply getting rid of them. This helps to reduce waste and also gets your money worth out of those items. Each month, a new category is chosen and we will focus on that category all month long. However, you don’t have to stop once that month ends. Keep decluttering and using up those items all year long. It will have a huge impact on your home and life at the end of the year.
If you are joining in, be sure to share your progress on social media using #IHUseItUp. I’d love to see how everyone is getting along with the challenge.
Where to start
This is where things will get messy. Go around your home and gather ALL of the toys your child owns. If there are outdoor toys, be sure to gather those as well. Though you may want to keep those ones outside to prevent bringing all kinds of sand, grass, and other items in as well.
At this point, you are likely feeling overwhelmed and your bank account is crying over all that you spent on these toys. You may even feel like giving up because it just feels too overwhelming. Don’t quit! The key to being successful at decluttering is to overcome the hurdle of seeing all that stuff out in the open.
Where you go from here will depend on the types and quantities of toys in your home. They can be sorted into categories and then you can go through each category after that. Or you can dive into that chaotic pile and start purging right from there. Basically, you need to find the process that works best for your family.
Get the kids involved
One of the biggest struggles this month will be getting your kids on board with getting rid of some of their toys. But I am here to tell you that it is possible. The older they are, the more willing they will be to get involved and actually want to part with some of their toys. For younger children, it can be a challenge, however, there are ways to work around this and, eventually, reduce the number of toys in your home.
I will say, that sometime you will need to make the decisions for them. That broken toy at the bottom of the bin or one that is missing most of its part. Go ahead and get rid of them.
Tips and tricks
Gifted toys. When it comes to toys that were gifted, you may feel guilty about getting rid of them. This is a hurdle that you must overcome. If we kept every single item we were ever gifted we would need insanely large houses to store all of that stuff. One trick is to take a picture of the toy with the child, so you have the memory of it, but not the physical item.
Hide some of the toys. Go ahead and put those items temporarily in a box. This works especially well when you have young children. If they have a room filled with toys, observe which ones they play with regularly. Then, take some time and gather up the ones they don’t touch. Put those ones in a box and set it aside for a while. This can be a long process, as you don’t want to rush it and have them wanting that toy three days from now but you already got rid of it. Instead, set a time limit, a week, or maybe even a month, and if your child never asks about that toy in the allotted time, then it’s safe to get rid of it. This is how I got rid of a lot of toys when my son was younger. Repeat this process as many times as it takes to get the toys down to a manageable number.
Purge some toys while your child isn’t around. I can hear a lot of parents gasping in terror at this, but trust me, it works. This is especially good for younger kids who already have way more toys than they need and only play with a handful. Whenever they are asleep or out of the house, grab a few of the toys they never touch and get rid of them.
Take your time. While the September Use It Up Challenge is meant to be done in a month, I know it will be much easier if you spread it out over a greater amount of time. The more kids and toys you have, the more time you will need to tackle this task.
Have patience. Chances are, at some point there will be a meltdown. That toy they haven’t touched in over a year will suddenly be their new favorite toy and they can’t part with it. This is one of those times where it is best just to let them keep it and then when they lose interest in a day or two, put it in a box, like described above, to see if they notice it missing. If they notice right away that it’s gone, then you may need to allow them to keep it for longer.
Gather all items related to that toy. So your child has decided to get rid of a toy. But the real challenge has just arrived. Now you need to find all of the parts and accessories for that particular toy. This is especially important if you are going to sell these toys. No one wants to buy a toy only to find out half of it is missing.
Donate or sell the toys
Once you have reached the point where decisions have been made and there are toys they are willing to get rid of, it’s time to actually get rid of them. You can give them to friends or family, donate them to women’s shelters, or hold a garage sale. If you do sell them, some or all of the month made from their sale should go to the kids. Not only will they see this as a positive experience, but it may lead them to get rid of more toys in the future.
Just remember, you haven’t been successful in the September Use It Up Challenge if all those toys you plan to get rid of are still lurking around your house months or even a year from now. Once the decision has been made, try to get it out of your house as quickly as possible.
What I plan to use up
Honestly, my son has done a pretty phenomenal job already of making sure he is only keeping toys he actually still plays with. But that being said, decluttering is a long-term process, so I will be ensuring he goes through his toys again this month to sort out any that he may have outgrown or no longer has an interest in.
Will you be joining the September Use It Up Challenge?