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If you are constantly stepping over toys, cleaning up messes, and finding yourself going crazy from trying to control the toy clutter, this post is for you! Find out how to declutter toys, gain back time and sanity in your day, and maintain a clutter-free kids’ room!
You’ve cleaned your home, you’ve decluttered and organized all YOUR things, but your home is still a mess.
That’s because your precious angel just dumped out all his toys on the floor.
You look at the ground and begin to wonder if there’s actually a floor in the room at all, or if it’s just an endless sea of never-ending toy clutter.
I know that as moms, we want our children to be happy. In fact, we often think that toys are the way to make them happy. After all, don’t we love the smile on their face when we gift them a toy they’ve wanted for so long?
Luckily, I can tell you how to stop constantly picking up after your children and gain back your time and sanity.
You have to declutter their toys. It’s as simple as that.
Well — it’s not that simple. That’s why this post is going to break down every little thing there is to know about how to declutter toys. It can be a tedious process, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. These tips will end up saving you time and frustration in the long run.
Let’s dive in!
How to Declutter Toys: What does it mean?
What does it mean to declutter and organize toys? Well, the concept is simple.
Decluttering toys means getting rid of toys that no longer add value to your kids’ lives. Are there toys that are causing them frustration? Anything that may be broken or in bad shape? What about toys that they’ve stopped playing with? This is the type of clutter you will encounter when decluttering your child’s things. We will go more into this when we discuss the types of toys to get rid of.
Another thing to keep in mind is how many toys you are going to allow your children to have. This may vary family to family depending on age, maturity level, and your own values. Many families wish to follow the 20 toy rule, and others go even more extreme. There is no right or wrong answer. Do what feels best for you and for your children, and reap the benefits in the meantime!
How to Declutter Toys: What are the benefits?
Before we can talk about how to declutter and organize toys, we need to talk about the benefits of toy minimalism and why you should be decluttering toys often.
Over the past couple of years, I have done everything I can to embrace toy minimalism in my household. And let me tell you, the benefits have been amazing.
By embracing toy minimalism, your children will:
- Practice creativity and innovation. When children have fewer toys, they become more creative and innovative with the toys that they do have. They use their imaginations more, and their open-ended toys take on many different purposes.
- Feel less stressed and overwhelmed. The science is clear: Clutter causes stress. Our children become stressed and overwhelmed when they have too many choices and too much stuff. Getting rid of the clutter causes everyone in the home to feel less stressed and children have an easier time sharing and making decisions.
- Become more independent. When kids have fewer toys, they become more independent. They are able to easily pick up and put their toys away, and can easily find what they need to engage in creative, imaginative play.
- Gain time back in their day. With fewer toys, kids aren’t spending thirty minutes before bed picking up and putting away their things. And even more importantly, you aren’t either. Fewer toys mean more time to play and less time to clean.
- Practice conscious consumption from an early age. Conscious consumption simply means being thoughtful about your purchases. This applies to toys as well — the toys you allow into your home should add value to your children’s lives. This is a skill I want to teach my children early on. When I teach them conscious consumption NOW, I teach them to be more appreciative about the toys they have.
How to Declutter Toys: Why do you have the clutter in the first place?
Now that we have gone over the benefits of toy minimalism, let’s talk about why we have so much clutter in the first place. Once we recognize where the clutter is coming from, we can be aware of when it starts creeping back into our home.
Here is where some of that toy clutter may be coming from:
- Christmas and birthdays. Most children get an abundance of toys around the holidays and their birthdays, especially if you have a large family. Toy clutter can quickly add up around this time.
- Party favors. We all know how kids love party favors, and if your child is in school or has friends, it’s inevitable that they’ll be bringing that clutter into the home.
- Family members. My own children have family members who love gifting them every time they come to visit, adding to the toy clutter.
- Discounts you couldn’t pass up. I have been guilty of buying a toy just because it was on sale and I knew my child wanted it.
- Kids’ meals. Every time you buy a happy meal, it’s bound to come with a toy that never seems to last longer than a few days.
- Attachment. You may be holding on to clutter due to your own personal attachment, such as baby items.
- Rewards. You may be using toys as a reward for good behavior or good grades.
There are many different reasons why clutter can be in our homes. By recognizing these sneaky forms of clutter, we can stop it in its tracks before it overwhelms our home!
How to Declutter Toys: The process
Okay, we’ve discussed why we need to declutter toys, the benefits, and where the clutter is coming from. Now, it’s time to finally declutter!
Now, it is entirely up to you whether or not you let your children be involved in the process. You will need to make your decision based on their age and maturity level. For young children, it may be best to leave them out of the process to save time and even a few tears. However, I have written a full guide on how to declutter with young and sentimental children, which you can read about here.
I highly encourage you to invite your children to witness your process and use it as a teaching moment, but as the parent, you have the final say.
Step 1 – Take all of the toys out of the room and put them into a big pile.
The first step in decluttering toys is to see just how many you have! Take everything out of the room (except for large pieces of furniture) and place in another room. I like to do this in the hallway outside of my children’s bedroom, but you could use the living room or even outside if you’d like.
You may be tempted to skip over this process because it can be time-consuming and very overwhelming. However, I urge you to reconsider! It is important for you and your children to see how much clutter you have so that you can do the next step a bit more ruthlessly!
Step 2 – Start purging.
This is the second step that I take when decluttering toys. When purging toys, I make two piles; a keep pile and trash/donate pile.
These are the things we keep:
- Toys that I know my children are still playing with.
- Open-ended, multi-purpose toys.
- Toys that encourage dramatic, creative, and/or educational play.
- Toys that exercise fine or gross motor skills.
- Any toys that we have negotiated on and contained to a small box.
And these are the toys we donate or trash:
- Anything broken or unsafe.
- Toys that haven’t been played with for a while.
- Any toys that the kids have grown out of.
- Recalled or unsafe toys.
- Cheap or junky dollar store toys, party favors, and happy meal toys.
- Games or puzzles with missing pieces.
I am a bit ruthless when it comes to decluttering the toys. My children are definitely a part of the process and allowed to make many choices. However, as the parent, I have the final say in what stays and what goes.
Step 3 – Put toys into categories.
After you have decluttered your toys, it’s time to put what’s left into categories. How you categorize them is completely up to you, but here are my recommendations:
- Educational toys (games, puzzles, learning kits)
- Dramatic play toys (kitchen, dolls, animals, cars)
- Outside toys (balls, riding cars, large toys)
- Bath toys (rubber duckies, boats)
- Stuffed animals
- Creative toys (arts & crafts, playdough, blocks)
After all the toys are put into a category, I may purge even more to narrow down what we have left. Which brings us to the next step!
Step 4 – Intentionally and strategically decide what to keep.
Now it’s time to do some intentional reflecting.
After all the toys have been into a certain category, I narrow down those categories to a certain number. How many toys you decide to keep is completely up to you. It all depends on your child’s interest, which toys complement each other, and encourage learning and play.
If you find that there are still a lot of toys left, consider putting some away and rotate them out as needed.
Step 5 – Organize what’s left and put everything back where it belongs.
The last step is to organize what you have left!
How you organize your children’s remaining toys is completely up to you. Many people like to utilize a single-lid toy box, multi-bin toy storage, and some people like to keep toys on a shelf. Personally, I like to keep large toys in a single-lid toy box, and toys with small pieces in Sterilite containers. I know that a toy box can still invite your children to dump everything on the floor, but when you have fewer toys, it may not be as much of a problem. I dislike visual clutter as much as I dislike physical clutter, so bins work best for me and my kiddos. Use your own discretion!
My favorite toy storage and organization products are:
- Bins for Toys
- 8-Cube Organizer Shelf for Bins & Books
- Wall-Mounted Coat Rack for Jackets & Backpacks
- Sterilite Bins for Small Pieces & Art Supplies
- Sterilite Drawers for Clothes
- File Organizer for Important/Sentimental Papers
- Large basket for stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets
How to Declutter Toys: Best toys for kids to have
The best toys for children to have are multi-purpose toys that encourage dramatic, imaginative play. When keeping toys or even bringing new toys into the home, consider the following:
- Does it encourage your child to use their imagination?
- Is it educational?
- Does it reflect your child’s current interests?
- Can your child exercise fine or gross motor skills?
If the answer is yes to any of the questions, it could be a great addition to your children’s play area! I also recommend toys that are durable and high quality over plastic and dollar-store cheap if you can avoid it. Try to stay away from single-purpose toys that limit the imagination.
How to Declutter Toys: How to maintain a clutter-free playroom
Decluttering toys is not a one-time event; it is an on-going process. That being said, it is completely possible to maintain a clutter-free room and make the process even easier for next time.
Here are some ways to maintain a clutter-free playroom that your children can grow, learn, and have fun in!
- Start saying no. It’s okay to say no to certain things like Happy meals, party favors, and junk toys. If the clutter is inevitable, try to keep it contained to a small box.
- Limit toys at Christmas (and birthday) time. Whenever Christmas or birthdays come around, I follow the four-gift rule. This has saved us so much time and money, and helped to keep our home clutter-free!
- Buy higher quality toys. If toys are constantly breaking, you may consider buying higher quality toys. It may be an investment at first but will save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to constantly replace broken toys.
- Request non-toy gifts from those outside the family. When family members ask what gifts our children may like, I always request non-toy gifts such as books, clothes, experiences, or consumable gifts.
- Establish designated toy areas. For example, If you find that toys are all over your home, establish designated toy areas such as an extra playroom or a certain part of your living room.
- Contain and label everything. A place for everything and everything in its place! Make sure all items are contained and labeled for easy organization.
- Teach your child responsibility. Train your children to pick up their own toys! For instance, we always pick up right before bedtime. With older children, you can teach them about putting one toy away before moving on to the next.
- Explain the benefits of experiences over materialism. Teach your children the value of experiences over constant buying.
- Encourage generosity. Teach children the act of giving and donating toys to others who could benefit from them.
- Stop buying toys as a reward. You don’t have to buy a toy for good behavior or good grades — you can always gift them an experience or extra time for their favorite activity.
- Let them play outside more. I will always advocate for outside play! Let your children exercise their gross motor skills while keeping the inside clutter-free.
- Purge often. Remember this is an ongoing process. I like to declutter right before birthdays, during my spring cleaning ritual, and before the holidays.
- Put toys on rotation. Consider putting toys on a rotation to prevent your children from boredom and making a mess.
Final Thoughts on Toy Minimalism
Maintaining a clutter-free kids’ room doesn’t have to be a losing battle. Your children can still enjoy a clean and organized room and have fun at the same time! In fact, I’m willing to bet your kiddos will enjoy themselves more in a space in which they can play, concentrate, and burn their creative energy!
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for other kids’ room organization and decluttering ideas!
Related Decluttering Articles:
- How to Declutter: 135+ Things to Get Rid of for a Clutter-Free Home
- 35+ Quick Decluttering tips that Simplify your life TODAY!