Trading Toys for Experiences (cut the clutter!)




Whether you have one child or many, there always seem to be too many toys. Even if you’re hyper-vigilant about not over-buying yourself, there are always friends and relatives and, all too quickly, that stuff builds up. This simple method of trading toys for experiences helps cut down on clutter and gives children great incentive to pare down.


There are many different ways of managing toy clutter. There’s the “one-in-one-out” rule. There are bins and baskets for organization. There are the rotating daily toy tubs. Oh, there are lots of great ideas out there. And, the thing is, they DO work if you stick with them.



If you find yourself already knee-deep in the stuff, though, it can be hard to know how to start culling. Should you ruthlessly sort and discard while the kids are away? Should you involve them in the process and use it as a lesson in giving? There are arguments for either, and I’ve done it both ways.


We recently got rid of a whole bunch of toys and things for a tag sale in May. So it’s not terrible around here in any way. Still, I have no doubt there are things we could part with (and not miss.) And I had a thought…


I’m a huge fan of consumable and experiential gifts. My kids love them, too!



Here’s what I’m going to try next time:


I plan to assign a point value to each toy. The children can go through their toys and decide which ones are no longer needed here and might be better enjoyed by another family. I’ll add up their “point totals” based upon how much they get rid of.


But, you might wonder, what is the POINT of all these points?


I will let the children trade their points in for treats and/or experiences. For example: perhaps five points can be traded in for an ice cream cone. Ten might earn a picnic at the park. Maybe they’ll work together and pool fifty points (hey– toys can add up fast!) and earn a trip to the zoo.


I’m excited about the idea. I think my kids will be, too.





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