Any parent who's a fan of a) Marie Kondo and b) tidying up (we refer to you, again, to Marie Kondo) might well have avidly watched her How to Store Toys video on YouTube, and felt both inspired and totally inadequate in one fell swoop.
And you'd be right to, because instead of only keeping toys that 'spark joy', as Kondo's KonMari method advocates, it seems many of us are not only holding on to an unreasonable amount of our children's old toys but, as a result, sitting on a substantial amount of unrealised cash, too.
Yup, a survey of 1,000 families has revealed that almost a third (29.5 per cent) of us have as many as 10 unused toys at home, and another 22 per cent have anywhere between 21 and 50 toys hanging about, unloved. That's a whole room's worth of toys, space that could be usefully employed, not housing neglected teddies and ignored board games.
The reasons for holding on to all those unused toys? They're not always sentimental, as you might think. While 27 per cent of parents did cite sentimental feelings as the reason they've kept their kids' toys, far more (32.6 per cent) simply haven't got round to getting rid of them. And many of us seem simply unsure of what to do with all those toys. Er, time to rewatch that Marie Kondo video, people. Or, perhaps try these tips below.
eBay, who conducted the survey, has teamed up with top psychologist Honey Lancaster-James to develop the tips for parents keen to free up some much-needed space in their home, and make some extra spending money in the meantime.
'Parents these days seem to feel busier and more overwhelmed than ever, so it’s no wonder that having a clear out of all the old toys from around the home can feel like a daunting task, especially when they might be emotionally attached to some of them,' says Honey. 'Sometimes people hold on to children’s toys for longer than needed because they get caught up in the memories and their emotional connection to them, and don’t know how to detach and deal with the practical issue. This can especially be the case when it comes to play-things they gave their little ones at an early age.
'For parents who struggle to let go of their child’s toys, it can be helpful for them to think about the need to lead by example and find a few practical strategies to help to reduce the emotionality of it all. Selling on old toys together as a family can also be a great way to free up some cash and invest that in making new memories together.'
If it sparks joy, keep it, and lead by example. Sounds like Marie Kondo (remember when we reported on how she gets her own children to tidy up?). And don't forget her new children's book, Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship, which was written to inspire children to embrace tidiness.
And if none of that advice works? Just think of the spare cash you could free up by selling the unused toys. Nikin Patel of eBay comments, 'At eBay we see a huge market for pre-loved toys. We understand that many parents not only find it hard to let go of toys their children have loved, but also what to do with them when they’re no longer played with. By listing unused toys on eBay we can guarantee that, just like Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, they’ll be off on their next adventure in no time. These toys can be given new homes, make new children happy, and even help you make a bit of extra cash.'
And if that doesn't spark joy, we don't know what does.