Reduce Holiday Stress With One Simple Task

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So you want to embrace minimalism, or at least living with less stuff, but your kids haven’t got that memo yet. And with the holiday season approaching, and gift giving in full swing, all you can think about is where to put all the new toys your kids will get this year from well-meaning friends and family. More clutter, more frustration and less energy – these are not the gifts you’re hoping for!

Do just one thing now and your life will be easier come December 31st. Sort through all your kids’ toys, cull the ones they don’t play with anymore and donate them to a worthy charity. To make this process more meaningful, involve your kids. Begin by talking about keeping only the toys they play with now and giving their older toys to another boy or girl who will love them as much as they have. Consider bringing your kids along when you drop off your donation, so they can connect with the cause and feel good about their decision. 

Not all shelters and charities accept gently used toys. Be sure to call first and get details before delivering any items. 

How to start:

  1. Gather up all toys that are similar – cars and trucks, board games, stuffed animals, dolls, DVDs or wheeled toys – and lay them on the floor. Together with your child, choose which will stay and which will go. It helps if your child settles on the number of toys to give away in advance. For example, let’s donate 8 cars/trucks or 5 dolls.
  2. Repeat this for each category of toy or game. As you make choices, remind your child how much someone else is going to love this toy, too. (By the way, this process works well for adults who find it hard to let go of books!)
  3. Call the charity or shelter in your community that you want to support and ask about their guidelines for donating toys and games. If you don’t have a favourite charity, the Diabetes Association, Salvation Army and East End Children’s Centre will accept gently used toys.
  4. An ounce of prevention will make a difference! Talk to friends and family who usually give gifts to your child and suggest instead that they contribute to an experience, such as skating lessons, tickets to a children’s musical or movie, a pass for a day of skiing or an afternoon of bowling. 

De-clutter the toys now and experience the zen of an organized holiday season.