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Ask the Organizer: How do I know if my child has too many toys?

by respaced on February 7, 2011

Question: How many toys should my child own? I don’t know if my child has too many toys or not, or even how many they should have, so how can I tell?

Answer: Instead of coming up with a precise number of toys, think of how long it takes you to put them all away. If you do a nightly clean-up of your child’s play space with your child and it takes you more than 10 minutes to put it all away, then you have too many toys.

This will probably mean that younger children, who take longer to put things away, will have fewer toys than older children, who can quickly put everything back where it belongs.

If you have too many toys, consider putting some into rotation. This means you box up a percentage of the toys for six months and put it into storage (be sure to label that box with its contents and an “open by” date!) After six months, open the box up and put the toys back in the playroom while boxing up another set of toys for six months. The toys that have been recently taken out of the box will seem like brand-new toys to your kids, who will probably have forgotten they owned them. You might even decide after six months to get rid of that box of toys if the kids don’t seem to miss them or need them. That’s ok too.

When debating how many of anything to own (eg. clothes, dishes, shoes), it’s always more effective to ask yourself how much time you are willing to spend to put it all away than to try to commit to a certain number.

***Do you have a question for me about kids’ rooms, living rooms, kitchens, garages, attics, closets, collectibles and memorabilia, to-do lists, time management or more? Leave your question in the comments section or email me at info@respacedpdx.com. Thanks!

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