Appeal to their better nature: Explain that Christmas is the time of giving and sharing and that a lot of little kids will get nothing this year if we don't give and share.
Enlist their help: Kids will be a lot less upset to see their toys go if they are part of the process. Let them help select what will stay and what will go.
Look at everything: Use this opportunity to reorganize as well. Have the kids dump all their toys in a big pile in the middle of the floor and go through everything, piece by piece.
Use the three-basket approach: Put three plastic laundry baskets in each kid's room. Ask him or her to fill the red basket with broken toys, the blue basket with toys they don't play with anymore, and the pink basket with toys they want to keep. Oh yeah, and the pink and blu baskets have to have equal amounts of stuff.
The fourth basket: If too many toys wind up in the keeper basket, try this strategy. Have the child fill a cardboard box with toys he's not playing with right now and store the box in the attic or the garage. By summer, he might be ready to part with them - especially if you let him sell them at a garage sale and keep the proceeds to buy one special new toy.
Create a holding zone: If your child's too little to make a real decision, stash broken or ignored toys and books where she won't find them. If she hasn't missed an item in a month or two, it's fair game for donation or disposal. Just cart it away in a black garbage bag so she won't see it go.
Create a festive mood: Get the right atmosphere for sharing by heating mulled cider on the stove to fill the house with Christmas aromas. Put Christmas music on and sing along as you work.
And once you've culled the toy box, you might even have enough energy left to tackle the kids' closets and drawers. There might be room for Christmas after all!
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