The Sticky Files - Marisca Bakker

Is less more when it comes to toys?

Marisca realizes her house has a Barbie overpopulation problem

Do you ever feel like you clean one side of the house while your children destroy the other? And then you go to tidy that half and suddenly the clean rooms are messy again? It is a vicious cycle. I feel like I can’t win.

The problem in our house is the sheer amount of toys we have. I have three daughters and all of them love Barbies. Every Barbie we own has a bigger wardrobe than me. I’m actually jealous of their shoe collection. The Malibu dream house is an actual dream. Apparently, inflation and a crazy hot real estate market has not had an impact on make-believe Malibu.

I try so hard to keep the Barbies in one room of our house but somehow they seem to creep out. I do love how much my daughters love their dolls. Pretend play encourages their imaginations, develops motor skills, encourages communication and boosts independence.

Plus, they aren’t watching TV or sitting behind a screen. It’s all good things but the mess it creates causes me anxiety. I have no idea how their collection has grown. There is an overpopulation crisis in our toy room.

A toy company did a survey that revealed eight in 10 kids play with only 20 toys or fewer out of all the toys they have at home. We have way more than 20 Barbies, and way more toys than just the plastic dolls.

Fewer than four per cent of the world’s children live in the United States but American children have more than 40 per cent of the world’s toys. I’m sure the statistics are similar for Canada.

How did we get here? And how can we stop consuming all the toys? I know my daughters don’t need all these dolls but it is hard to say no.

I need to be more intentional with what I give my children. They don’t need so much. In fact, research has shown that less is more. Children with less toys developed a longer attention span, and established better social skills all while learning to take better care of their things.

This week, I am going to downsize our toy collection and get the kids involved too. There is a somewhat new Facebook group called “Smithers Buy Nothing Group.” People can post things for free for others to pick up. It is a great way to get rid of things.

There are lots of these groups in other communities as well. Donating items to New to You is also great but they only accept donations during the day when they have volunteers there. Sometimes that isn’t easy for people to donate. This Facebook group gives more flexibility for donors. It is also fun knowing your things will be appreciated and put to good use.

Birthday season is now over in our household and before Christmas comes, I think this is a good time to minimize the toys and clean out the toy box.