When you can't walk across the living room without tripping over your kid's junk, it's time to do a clear out.
Santa has just been through and delivered a bunch of fresh shiny new toys for your kids to play with for five minutes before they get completely bored and ditch them forever. If your house is starting to resemble something from an episode of Hoarders, it might be time to suck it up and do a cull. Here are some simple methods you can try to get started on it today.
Do it when they're not home
If your kids are too young to understand the concept of getting rid of old, unused toys to make room for something new, then it might be best to do things on the sly. Wait until they aren't home and start by gathering up bags of things you know for sure they haven't touched in months and whisk them away, just make sure you get rid of them straight away so they don't accidentally find them bagged up somewhere.
Test the waters
If you're not comfortable sneaking toys out of the house that your child might miss, try gathering up some stuff and storing it in the garage or other storage space out of the way for a few weeks. If your child doesn't notice it missing - cull it for good.
Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.
Get them involved
If your kids are old enough to get the concept, get them involved in the process. Ask them to sort toys into three categories first: A must keep, a maybe and a get rid of pile. Once they've sorted them out, ask them to look at the maybe pile once more and sort it into keep or get rid of. Reward them with an activity they love once they get through it.
Consider the timing
When you plan to cull, try to time it around a birthday or Christmas, that way you can sell your child on the toys being replaced by new gifts and ease the blow for them a little bit.
Let them choose the charity
Rather than sending all of your child's toys off to a landfill, consider donating the ones in good condition. Not only will you be helping out people less fortunate than yourselves, but it's also a way to help your child feel better about losing some of their many toys. To help them feel more in control of the potentially upsetting decision, get them to choose which charity they want to donate them to, show them the charity website and explain the ways in which their toys can help others.
Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes, other family and social gatherings, and children's bedrooms screen free. Turn off televisions that you aren't watching, because background TV can get in the way of face-to-face time with kids. Recharge devices overnight—outside your child's bedroom to help him or her avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. These changes encourage more family time, healthier eating habits, and better sleep.