Monday, May 25, 2015

KonMari- Kids' Toys 2015

First, a note: Please don't start with this category. Read the bottom of this post to see why.

So the KonMari book does not cover kids' stuff with any depth. Our kids, like many American kids, have too many toys. This despite the fact that Kevin and I have bought approximately 10 toys for the kids... combined. Everything else was a gift because we are blessed by people who love us and our kids. We are extremely appreciative, and we have never exchanged anything. If someone gave us something, our kids played with it.

But this happened:

Konmari- Toys 2015
Kids' Toys Part 1

Konmari- Toys 2015
Kids' Toys Part 2

Even with my toy-management tricks (more on that later) all of these toys became a full-time job. And now that Miranda is a year old, both kids have officially outgrown some stuff. So I waited until the kids were asleep because my kids are 4 and 1 and aren't quite old enough to make decisions regarding their stuff yet. If your kid is older, you might think about including them in the process- depending on the child's personality. Then I enlisted the help of my husband. Kevin had a few different opinions as to which toys he likes the children playing with, which he finds annoying, and even which toys he thought the children liked. All valuable input. 

We put all the toys on the guest bed and took out any that James isn't yet old enough for. Those went in a box I labeled, "James- Next Stage" and stored. Then we pulled out the toys that are too young/boring for James, but which Miranda is not mature enough for yet (this box had a lot of dolls) and labeled, "Miranda- Next Stage," and stored. Okay, two whole boxes out of the way.

Konmari- Toys 2015

We still had a lot of toys, puzzles, and drawing stuff. So we divided the toys into KEEP- MAYBE-NO. Our criteria was:

1) Does my child enjoy this toy? (Does it spark joy for him?) If no--> NO pile.

If yes--> 2) Do I hate this toy so much that I still want to throw it out (usually involved toys that were worn out, had a million annoying pieces, choking hazards, or talking toys with no off switch)

If we hated it--> No pile. If we liked it or could tolerate it out of love for our child --> YES pile. 

Konmari- Toys 2015
Pile of yes toys!

So we obviously still had too many! Enter my Toy Management System. I use a bunch of Ikea fabric boxes and plastic tubs to divide the toys. Puzzles and drawing stuff gets their own boxes.  All the other boxes have a mix of James and Miranda toys. I take out one such mixed box and leave it out for about 3 days. They play with the toys enthusiastically. After about 3 days I put the box away and take out a new box and they act like I just bought them a box of new toys.

This is because kids have kind of poor memories. Giving the toys a rest makes them new again. This is also why trying to talk a kid into donating a toy that "he hasn't played with in a long time" usually fails. The other good thing about my system is that if a toy is "like new" and she still doesn't play with it, then I can safely assume it's because she actually doesn't like it. Also, because each box only has about 20 toys in it, clean up at the end of the day is much easier.

Konmari- Toys 2015
All the boxes that are hidden in my living room
(not pictured/not in living room: puzzles, drawing stuff, easel, and
toy car which we currently keep in the office/playroom)

Konmari- Toys 2015
What the living room looks like with all the hidden boxes (in Ikea bookshelf)

* Note: 
    I really don't think you should start with this category, or any category that involves stuff that belongs to other people. If you start with your own clothing, as Kondo suggests, you not only get a reduction in stress from not dealing with the stuff you don't like, but also an increase in joy from seeing only the things that you love. 
    You don't love other people's stuff, and you only have limited control over how they treat it or put it away. Starting with this category is likely to lead to disappointment because you will still have a lot of toys, you don't love those toys, and every time things seem messy you might feel like KonMari failed. 
    Whereas, if you attack it after you have done your own stuff, you will already be a believer; you will already be surrounded by what you love in your spaces. The toys can be a less-than-perfect cherry on top. And I think the kids will learn best from seeing how you take care of your own things.
Any other kid toy problems I can help with?

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