3 Simple Ways to Keep My Toys From Taking Over

Are you tired of stepping on toys everywhere you walk in your house? Those lego blocks are great toys, but they are the worst when you step on them without shoes! The toys just seem to fill any vacant space and you can’t seem to keep them under control. The question I am often asked is, “How do I keep my toys from taking over?”


A short lesson in supply and demand


Supply and demand is a simple economic principle. It says that the more supply there is of something, the less demand there is, and the less supply there is of something, the more demand there is for it. Demand is simply a word describing how important it is to people and what they are willing to pay for it.


If there are 100 rolls of toilet paper on the shelves and 500 people want to buy them then the price is going to rise….quickly. If there are 100 rolls of toilet paper on the shelves and only 5 people want to buy them then the store will lower their prices to create the desire in others to want to buy at a lower price or the store will begin to lose money.


Your children are not very different. If you create a ‘toy shortage’ in your home you will probably find that they will begin to play more with the toys they have. They will look around and be able to find things they couldn’t find before amongst the clutter and they will all of a sudden notice toys they haven’t touched in weeks.


Don’t take my word for it. A UK site pointed to research done in Toledo, Ohio which studied children who were given either 16 toys to play with or 4 toys to play with. Their findings showed that too many toys are actually bad for children. “They found that youngsters were far more creative when they had fewer toys to play with. They also played with each for twice as long, thinking up more uses for each toy and lengthening and expanding their games.”


Here are 3 simple ways that you can keep your toys from taking over.


Option 1 - Limit supply to 50%

The idea is to take about half of the toys and put them away for a month. Your child will get to rediscover toys they haven’t played with in a while. In a month when you box up the half they are using now and bring the other half out of storage, it will feel like Christmas with all the ‘new’ toys they will get to play with.


Option 2 - Limit supply to the top 10

Let your child pick their favorite 10 toys to keep out and box up the rest. All the legos count as one toy. Or the one boxed set of legos can count as one toy. You decide. The doll and all the clothes count as one toy or if they have 5 American Girl dolls then only one doll counts as one toy. Let them know that you are not getting rid of the rest (and then you actually can’t get rid of them!) Once a week or every other week you can assess the situation. If you see that they are not really playing with something then swap it out for something else. That way there is always something new coming out of the storage and yet they get to keep all their favorites as well.


Option 3 - Limit supply for a short window of time

If you have a period of time during the day that you really need your children occupied, then another great option is to have at least 5 different baskets filled with things that they are only allowed to play with during particular times. Maybe you have a 1-hour work call every day and the first 30 minutes goes great, but then the kids meltdown without your attention. If you have a basket you can pull out from the closet that they are only allowed to play with while you are on that work call, then they will begin to look forward to that hour and use every minute of time with those toys knowing that time is limited and after the call, the toys go back in the closet. Choose a different basket next time for variety.


You can choose any of the above options or even use more than one option at a time. Not only will your children begin to play with their toys again, but they will also rediscover old toys that they forgot about. This method also increases the attention span in children. You will save money by not being tempted to go out and buy the newest and best toy in hopes that it will entertain them and you will also have a more tidy house in the process. It is a win for everyone involved.


Just get started!


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