No more toys! 5 reasons that having too many toys is destroying our homes
Around this time of year, a lot of people wonder what in the world to buy their already fortunate child for Christmas. And others are wondering how they can get rid of what their child has before getting another Christmas load dropped down. That is how I feel and why this year I am saying “no more toys”. At least, I am not buying anymore toys because having too many toys is bad for our children, ourselves and our environment. Here’s why.
A few years ago, I read a post by a blogger about how she got rid of all her kids toys. I was so inspired by this, but it took me a few years to really do it. I was still struggling daily with the amount of toys that my child would play with and leave strewn all over the floor.When we downsized our home, we got rid of so much, including a ton of toys. It has been such a life changer but not only for me!
Child development DOES NOT depend on toys
Just as I need empty horizontal surfaces to keep my mind from going crazy, a child needs room to create. When they have more space and less clutter, they are more creative. We tend to think that children want stuff everywhere, but it can be overwhelming. Too many options, too many working parts, too many decisions. It is just more than a little person can handle.
Clearing out their room or play space can be as easy as putting away toys or as deep as getting rid of truck loads. One thing is for sure, when you give them less toys, they will find something to play with. Just the other day I took Little Mister with me to the store. While he waited for me to try on something, he found a clothing tag and started to play with it.
It is amazing what they can imagine if we just give them the space for creativity to emerge. Creativity and imagination are a huge part of child development. Both of these are developed when children are presented with a task that they need to figure out on their own such as finding a way to play.
Toy clutter is driving the kids AND you mad!
Or is this just me? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Toy clutter makes it difficult for us to feel like we have it all together for sure because everywhere we look it is a mound of mess. That is no way to live! Narrowing down the toy selection will only help your child and your own sanity, I promise.
I use to fight with Little Mister about cleaning up his play space. Toys would be EVERYWHERE! We eventually came to a point where he only had to clean twice a day, but he never wanted to. It was “too much mess” or “too hard”. And really, when he got it all out it WAS too much mess. Now, we have a couple of bins of toys and he does a great job of cleaning them up (most of the time anyway).
Toy clutter turns into toy waste
Here’s the thing, we are dealing with primarily plastic toys that get tossed to the side after weeks to months. We are overloading our landfills with brightly colored, non-biodegradable plastic. And even if we did try to take it to the thrift shops near us, some won’t even take them anymore. Several times recently I have heard that thrift stores are turning away toys because they are so overloaded. You know it is a problem when a thrift store won’t take them.
Make a positive environmental impact and find a recycling facility near by and find out if they wills take broken plastic toys. Try to sell them or give them away to local families. The root of the problem though is still overconsumption. The less we buy, the less we waste. Making environmental impact doesn’t have to mean making HUGE changes, check out this post to learn about small changes you can make that will make a difference.
Also, try to find earth-friendly toys instead of the main stream toys.
Check out one of my favorite shops, Earthhero.com for eco toys and other products.
Who makes the toys?
It is true, some of our products that we so freely purchase are made by those who are anything but free. While scrolling a toy site or strolling through the toy isles, my mind tends to go to the place of wondering “did a child make this bright, fun toy?”. It kinda breaks my heart to think of child labor. The sad fact is that it is extremely difficult to keep all slave-made goods out of your house. While I have been working at it for a couple of years, I still have a ways to go.
Overconsumption tends to feed this ugly reality of slave labor. We can all do our part in being intentional with our purchases instead of buying just about anything. Do some research on items before you make the purchase. Are they produced in ethical ways? Do they give back somehow?
Check out these awesome fair-trade toy companies instead!
So many toys so little money
Kids toys are really fun…for a short span of time. Once the next fun item comes out, kids want to go and get that. You know what happens next. That new but “old” toy is pushed to the side and forgotten. We can spend so much on toys every year if we allow ourselves and our children to be turned to the new shiny object.
Set a budget for toys for your child or make a rule that they only get them for birthdays and Christmas. In our home, Little Mister gets birthday gifts and Christmas gifts which usually involve a toy from someone in the family. Throughout the year, if he gets money for some reason, he can buy a toy if he so desires, but I am done buying toys!
There are so many reasons that we buy toys in the first place. Maybe it is a piece of nostalgia from our own childhood. Possibly we want the most educational gadget out there. Or maybe it is just that our children say they want the toys. Whatever your reason is, I get it. Creating an intentional home and giving intentional gifts is all about making better choices.
These are the reasons why I say no more toys (at least from me). Maybe they also speak to you. Maybe you have another reason. I would love to hear it!