Solving Too Many Toys With Perceived Scarcity
This is from one parent to another. I know your pain. I know your kids have too many toys. They never stop coming. Birthdays. Holidays. The list goes on. Of course we’re grateful that our children aren’t in need. But too many toys creates a problem.
That’s technically what you call having too many options to choose from. And that’s your problem. Ironically, the more options you have, the harder it becomes to make a decision. Sorry Baskin Robins. The same happens with our children and their toys. The more toys they have, the harder it is for them to choose which ones to play with. That’s why your kids dump all their toys out, don’t play with any of them, and say they’re bored. It’s also why you spend one hour each day cleaning up toys that were never played with. That’s seven hours a week, by the way.
A long while back marketers realized that if people perceived that something was scarce (or not always available) they’d be more likely to purchase, be grateful for, and use that scarce thing. That’s why we have limited edition everything, low inventory counters, sale timers – that sort of thing. It’s all part of something marketers and psychologists call perceived scarcity. The thing with perceived scarcity is that perceived scarcity is mostly just perceived – it’s not actually scarce.
The Toy Exchange
It’s easier to point out problems than it is to solve them, so I’m going to tell you how my wife and I use something called a toy exchange to use perceived scarcity as a tool to get rid of decision fatigue. It’s simple really, and the results are astounding.
1.) Remove all toys from visibility and organize them (use totes)
2.) Give each child a set amount of toys for one week
3.) Exchange the toys weekly
The Results Are In
Before you call us the Grinches right before Christmas hear me out. This is what’s happened. We have:
- Super fast clean up times
- A more clean home
- Toys that get played with more often
- More toys end up getting played with altogether
- Excitement about old toys every week
Why It Works
If you haven’t figured that out, refer to the above.