Your Kid Has Too Many Toys!

by Jon Nunan

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As there are many causes and factors that lead to a home with too many toys, there are also several ways to solve the problem. Ignoring the situation isn't one of them. If you find that your happy home is being systematically overrun with your kid's play things, now is the time to take action and better the situation before the holidays make it worse!

Donate Unused Toys
Toys collections can add up quietly, until one day you are simply overwhelmed with the amount of toys in your house. If nearly every walk from room to room is hindered in part by dodging toys on the floor, it might be time to get rid of some of the excess. In an article on Parenting Magazine's website, Katy Koontz tells us that, "[Too many toys] can have negative effects on kids' psyches. For toddlers and preschoolers, an overload of playthings can be overwhelming and distracting." This means that not only can reducing the number of toys in your home benefit looks and prevent accidents, it may actually be beneficial to your child's development!

Of course, keeping favorite toys and toys that your child plays with frequently is a priority, but there's a good chance that much of your toy storage space is being taken up by items that don't get used very often (or even at all). Donating slightly used toys to charities or women's shelters (where toy shortages are common) can reduce clutter in your house while doing something good for your community at the same time.

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Enhance Toy Storage Areas
Many times, the problem isn't that there are too many toys, but that there is a lack of adequate, convenient toy storage. Reorganizing, restructuring, and remaking areas of the home where toys should be stored can be an important step in reducing the amount of toys you step on/trip over every day.

Note: If your children are old enough to pick up after themselves, providing storage areas that are appropriate for their height is important.

Limit Toy Purchases
The experts agree that it is the quality of play rather than the amount of toys that really matters. According to the founder of the Better Parenting Institute Dr. Vicki Panaccione, "Too much stimulation, too many choices can actually result in acting out or withdrawal behaviors." With that knowledge, parents should be very careful not to bring too many toys into their children's environment.

Limiting the amount of toys that enter your home can be difficult. While you can certainly curb the toys you purchase yourself, controlling gifts from others (especially around birthdays and holidays) can become a headache in itself. One recommendation: find an out-of-the-way area where you can store toys and use it to rotate what your child has access to. This will reduce clutter while simultaneously giving your kid a treat when something they haven't seen in a while shows up!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.