Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Toy Downsize: ML style!

Do you ever have too many toys in your house????
Ok, well, I'll tell my little story and perhaps one day you can pass on these tips to someone else.

Sometimes your closets can become overwhelmed with a lot of toys.
You have three options
1. Throw everything away behind your child's back
2. Move to a new house to store your stuff
3.Teach your children the blessing of purging!

I love to clean and get rid and minimize. LOVE IT!

And it has come time to thin out and weed out the toys.
Here's how you can teach your kids to do it using Mediated Learning techniques.

What will happen if we keep all these toys? Where will we put them? How can you play with them all? Do you play with them all? Can we get new toys if we don't have space for them?
Bring them through the thought process of change and help them discover WHY they need to get rid of excess.

2. Take it outside.
I have a wee little house and storage is limited so we have to purge continually. We also don't have a lot of space in the house to go through things. But our yard is very spacious and a great way to put everything out where we can see it.
This is the bin for Yard Sale stuff. Our goal today is to fill it to the top!!!
3. Follow the rules of SPACE
SPACE stands for Sort, Purge, Assign a Home, Containerize and Label and Equalize
(I love you, Julie Morgenstern creator of such smart thinking)
Make a game of the Sort part of Space. Have your kids group and classify their toys. Cars, balls, dolls, marbles, etc.
Make them into little groups and then go through each group of toys one bite at a time.

4. Stay Focused
Kids will play with toys. Obviously, so keep them reined in while you go through the toys. Playing with them is fine but remind them of the larger goal and why they are out here.

I love forcing comparison here. Get rid of half the toys by picking up two toys and saying, "Which would you rather keep, this one or this one?"
I gave a basket of balls to my daughter and asked her to choose 5 balls to put into the yard sale pile. She did it quite easilly and found a sixth ball she could do without. Yay!!!!
Here are some other questions:
Do you want to keep this, give this to a friend or put in the yard sale pile? ( I recommend only giving friends up to three toys as it's a headache to try and get the toys to the friend and no friend need more of your old stuff)
Why do you want to keep it? Why is it important to you? What do you think you could buy if we sold these two items for $2.00?

6. Respect
I love to purge. I would gladly throw away a great deal of junk from our place. However, my definiton of junk isn't the same as my child's. If they really want to keep something, find out why.
Sometimes we hold onto things because of the memory that the item evokes in us. Here are some questions to move beyond the memory and helping them determine if they truly want to keep it:
Why do you want to keep that toy? What makes it so special to you? I remember when we played with this toy and ____ (insert their memory). Wasn't that a fun time? You know, I wonder what we could do to remember this special time? What do you think we could do?

WAIT for their answer. They may say take a picture of the toy, or write a card to that person or keep the toy forever. (If they want to keep the toy ask them if they want it in their room or put away in their heritage box--that's what I have for my kids).
Sometimes they will freely part with the memory if they know that they can still preserve it another way.
One idea that comes to mind is having a memory journal. Together you can write down the memory and keep it safe...and then pass on the toy to someone else.

Hope that helps. Happy Purging!

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