I get asked this question a lot. How do we limit, even get rid of, all the kid stuff?! And once we’ve managed to de-clutter the toys, how do we keep them from coming back into our home? Here are some tips I have found particularly helpful for reducing kid-clutter in the house.

1. Be really conscious of the toys and games you buy

Ask yourself: Can this break easily? Will it last, even long enough for your grandchildren to use some day? Is it an open-ended toy that will encourage creativity and innovation, or does it provide quick, short-lived entertainment? Will it look nice in your living room?

2. Don’t bring your kids shopping

Leave them home if you can. Inevitably, if they come with you in a shop, there’s always something they just need to have… that really they don’t need to have.

3. De-Clutter when your kids aren’t around

Choose a time when you kids are distracted, or better yet, when they’re out of the house. (If they see you stuffing a toy into a bag, it suddenly becomes their most favourite object they can’t possibly live without!) If you’re worried they might miss the toy, you can wait a few weeks to drop the toys off to the charity shop and see if they’ve asked for the toy in the meantime.

4. Ask for books instead of toys

When it comes to birthdays and special occasions, you can always ask for books from friends and family. Books are easy to store and easy to donate when you no longer need or want them. (You can also ask for experiences instead of things — a zoo or museum membership, for example!)

5. Be selective about the kiddie art you keep

If your kids are anything like mine, the piles of papers, art projects and crafts grow quickly and create a lot of clutter around the home. Not all of it is worth keeping. If there’s something you really love, keep it and display it in your home. I love framing favourite paintings, taping cute drawings on the fridge or displaying clay pottery on shelves. You can also pin up their favourite sketches on a wall with a string and clothespins. Whatever doesn’t make the cut, throw in the recycle bin so it doesn’t end up taking over.

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