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Toy Overload: How to go from Chaos to Calm

Toy Overload versus Calm

Are you and your children spending hours cleaning up play spaces? Have you hit toy overload, filling bags with broken and unused toys?

Going from chaos to calm isn’t as challenging as you may think, we’ve found 10 ways to start on the journey to feeling less overwhelmed in the home. But firstly, how do we get to this point?

The toy industry in Australia has ballooned into a $1.5 billion industry, surpassing even the rapid growth of the online retail sector with 11.4% per annum average growth since 2018.

Despite the positive consumer shift in preference to educational toys focusing on STEM, and eco-friendly toys, the ease of access and the range of these products and the traditional ones now online is a concern.

It comes at a cost, with toys contributing significantly to global landfill plastics, comprising 6% of all plastic waste.

What’s alarming is the staggering statistic that 51 percent of toys end up discarded within just 12 months of purchase. (Austoy) At SPARK POP, we’ve taken note of this concerning trend, especially as we hear firsthand from parents grappling with the overwhelming influx of toys into their homes.

When it comes to the children, we know from our own experience and through research, that more toys result in less play and less appreciation, while less toys translates to more play and more gratitude.

Transitioning from a cluttered toy landscape to a curated one that is appreciated, requires thoughtful strategies and proactive measures.

Here’s how SPARK POP and many other parents are tackling this challenge:

  1. ROTATE

    Make an old toy feel new again! Box up and put older toys away for a while so that they’re exciting again when you get them out later on. Experts in this space tend to recommend 8-10 toys out at anyone time is an ideal number, with a change over every fortnight or month. Try Simplifying Childhood for further insight and a Toddler Toy Audit. 

    Two girls playing with toys

  2. LEND + SWAP

    Arrange with friends and family, through your mum’s group, or at your local community centre. It’s a sustainable way to keep toy collections fresh without accumulating more.

  3. DONATE

    To your local Toy Library or an Op-Shop or a platform like Givit. Your generosity can bring joy to other children while reducing clutter in your home.

    Toy Library In-Store

    Brisbane South Toy Library In-Store

  4. REPURPOSE

    Get creative with repurposing toys for alternative uses or DIY projects. Transform outdated toys into new and exciting creations, minimizing waste in the process. Take a look at some of the creations available on Etsy and ideas found on Flora & Fauna for inspiration.

  5. SELL

    Host a garage sale, place items on Facebook Marketplace, and explore local community platforms like My Kids Market for opportunities to sell your pre-loved toys.

    Facebook Marketplace

    Facebook Marketplace

  6. GIVE THINGS THAT GET USED UP

    Such as food, playdough, stamps, slime/mud.

  7. GIVE EXPERIENCES

    SPARK POP is dedicated to finding the best activities, attractions, tours and even live events so that you can easily find a suitable experience to gift or gift a SPARK POP Gift Card so they have an amazing range to choose from.

    Boy horse riding at Jarrahdale

    Private Horse Riding Session in Perth

  8. PRIORITISE

    Encourage your children who are over 3 to write a list of what they’d really like, and then put it in order of most desired to least This has been an activity our kids really enjoy, with research even taking place and revisions over a few days. This wishlist makes it easy to share with family and friends.

  9. LIMIT

    Try to stick to main occasions such as Christmas and Birthdays for gifts. If they want to purchase something on a whim, encourage this to be done with their own pocket money so are more committed to the purchase.

    Funday Gummy Bears

    Gummy Bears

  10. RECYCLE

    If all else fails and you still end up with those knick knack toys – RECYCLE! Visit The Ginger Factory, Miss Petite Children’s Day Spa or Area 51 to put your pre-loved toys in our Zero Waste Toy Boxes or visit a Big W and find their Toys for Joy boxes.

Recycle Your Pre-Loved Toys with Zero Waste Toy Box

Recycle Your Pre-Loved Toys with Zero Waste Toy Box

In this up and down rollercoaster of chaos to calm, adopting intentional strategies can transform overwhelming toy and stuff overload into a harmonious and serene environment for both parents and children alike. By implementing even some of these ten practical tips – from rotating toys to embracing experiential gifts – families can reclaim control over their spaces and foster a sense of tranquility. Remember, transitioning to a curated lifestyle is not about perfection but progress. Keep it collaborative and as fun as possible with all family members involved. Each small step towards decluttering and prioritizing meaningful experiences contributes to a more balanced and joyful home.

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