How to Declutter Kids Toys and not Destroy Their Childhood
Many of us began buying kids toys before our little bundles of joy were even born. Little did we know, those same toys would create a constant struggle to maintain a clean house. If you are ready to learn how to declutter kid’s toys, then let’s get started!
How to Declutter Kids Toys
Welcome to Day 4 of the Declutter Your Life series!
Each post in this series is full of practical tips to make your mom life easier.
Today we are tackling one of the main causes of clutter – KIDS!
Ok, I guess it’s not accurate to say that the “kids” are the clutter – it’s actually all the stuff that they have…..especially THE TOYS!
I am excited to share the tips that have worked for my family with you today!
But before we get there you may want to start see what else we covered in previous posts:
Here is a look at the entire Declutter Your Life Series:
Day 1: How to Declutter your Bedroom so it Stays That Way
Day 2: How to Declutter your Clothes Closet; For Real This Time!
Day 3: How to Declutter your Kitchen Like a Minimalist Mom
Day 5: How to Declutter Your Mom Brain
Now on to our topic of the day: Toy Clutter
First, let me say that we used to have a house FULL of toys.
I mean that literally – our house was very tiny and was packed with all of the typical hallmarks of childhood:
- Hot Wheels
- Action Figures
I couldn’t even walk through my house without stepping on a Lego (have mercy that hurts!) knocking down a block tower, or moving piles of stuffed animals around to find the other toy that they were looking for.
Eventually, it all just became too much.
I was tired of:
- Picking up toys
- Nagging at my kids to pick up toys
- Listening to my husband nag at the kids to pick up the toys.
And actually it was hard to admit, but when I sat back and observed, they didn’t play with most of the toys anyway.
They played with the same toys over and over and the others just got pulled out in the process – making a huge mess.
Our toybox was full of missing pieces, broken parts and random items….like 1 boxing glove.
What is anyone going to do with one boxing glove?
If this all sounds familiar…keep reading.
I am going to help you discover the tips and tricks that helped us declutter the kids toys.
Too Many Toys Syndrome
Ok, I know that your main goal is to declutter the toys so you can have a clean house.
But guess what….
Having fewer toys will also benefit your child in many ways including their creativity, independence and behavior.
In fact, researchers in Ohio discovered that children play for longer periods of time and are more creative when there are fewer toys around.
They also tend to be more calm and able to entertain themselves without the need for adult guidance.
Doesn’t that sound like exactly what mama needs?
So, how do you make it happen…
How do you organize and declutter toys?
If you are just getting started with toy minimalism, I highly suggest that you begin with a strategy called toy rotation.
Toy rotation is perfect for beginners because you aren’t really getting rid of all the toys.
Here are the basic steps
- Do a quick declutter/purge of the current toys
- Sort the remaining toys into categories
- Divy up the categories into bins
- Then you just utilize the toys from one bin at a time.
Whenever the kids start getting bored or asking for new toys you just swap out the bins.
Voila! So easy and it works like magic!
Interested in getting more details?
Read this>>>>> 6 Simple Steps to Start a Toy Rotation and Be Clutter Free
The great part about setting up a toy rotation is that kids are excited to help because they don’t feel like their toys are going away forever.
(However, if you read my tips on starting a toy rotation you will see how sometimes the toys do go away for good. It’s brilliant!)
Tips on purging toys
Ok, ya’ll this is not my first kids bedroom decluttering rodeo.
I have come to you prepared with the absolute best strategies to make this process as quick and painless as possible for everyone involved.
Wanna hear it?
Here it goes:
1. Start Without the Kids
This is especially true when they are really young. If they are over 10 you can definitely put them to work.
This step is crucial, because involving your kids from the get go is going to seriously slow down your momentum.
2. Throw Out the Garbage
I am all about being eco-friendly and donating and repurposing whenever possible.
But right now is when you are getting rid of the actual garbage and items that can no longer be used.
If the kids are there for this part it will become an absolute chore.
Without them you can quickly and easily toss all the stuff with missing pieces, dried out markers and straight up broken toys.
3. Sort the Toys into Categories
Sorting is an excellent skill for kids to develop (I know because I teach first grade).
Once the garbage is gone allow them to be involved (if you like).
I will admit that I did this part myself the first few years.
It was just easier and faster and I was a stressed out mama to the max and just needed to get it done.
Now my kiddos do it themselves.
Group toys by type so you can see what you are actually dealing with.
Once you see how many stuffed animals, army guys or hot wheels you actually have two things will happen:
- You will be able to remember which toys they have a ton of when you go shopping and they start begging
- It will be easy to see the items they really don’t play with anyway
4. Choose favorites from each category
Again, you can do this yourself or incorporate your child.
Go through each category and pick a few favorites from each to keep.
At this point you will have made such amazing progress!
Now you are ready to get these items out of your house!
Where to get rid of kids toys
As I mentioned above, I think we should all be respectful of our environment and landfills when it comes to decluttering.
We have all heard of the immense impact the KonMari Method is having and to just throw everything away is lazy and horrible for our planet.
The best option is to donate the toys whenever possible.
Here are a number of places that will gladly accept your gently used and clean toys:
- The Salvation Army and Goodwill
- Women’s and Children’s Shelter’s
- Church nurseries
- Local preschools and kindergarten classrooms
- Pediatrician and Dentist Offices
You could also
- Sell the toys on social media
- Take them to a children’s consignment boutique
- Host a toy swap with other moms
Which toys do you keep?
Child development experts are clear that open-ended toys are best.
These are toys that are flexible and allow the child’s imagination to be the guide when it comes to how the toys are used during play.
Typically, these toys don’t have batteries, lights or make sounds. So those toys might be the first you want to pass along.
Here are some of my favorite toys from over the years:
- Minimalist Toy List: Top 10 Essential Minimalist Toys
- The Best Open-Ended Kids Toys for Moms who Love to be Organized
- 30 Delightful Clutter Free Minimalist Gifts for Kids
How can I get my child to declutter?
I know this sounds crazy, but both of my kids went from being messy slobs to border line neat freaks just by being involved and watching me declutter our home.
A child will learn what they live.
If they are used to neat and tidy bedroom, where everything has a place to go when play is done then they will notice when items are out of place.
Kids crave structure and routine and decluttering and organizing toys is no different.
Here are some helpful tips to encourage them:
- Turn decluttering into a game! Here is a link to my printable Kid’s Decluttering Bingo game.
- Have them select a toy to donate anytime they get something new.
- Allow them to periodically go through their toys and pull out anything broken or they no longer play with.
- Use the holidays as a time for them to gift their toys to others in need.
- Have a clear spot for each and every item to go when play is over.
If you stick with this consistently, your kids will acclimate to this “new” way of life and get on board with living fewer toys.
There you have it mama! My favorite tips to keep your kids toys and bedroom clean and clutter free!
Read this next: How to Declutter Your Mom Brain
I love all your tips on how to declutter kids toys easily! I did a type of version of toy rotation that worked when we had somehow (AGAIN) gotten way too many toys and started sorting through. We made a bag of toys that weren’t the kids favorites but they weren’t willing to part with either and sent them to live at Grandma and Grandpas house. We got to declutter, and they have toys for the kids when we visit! I do like your rotation system, I think we’ll give it a try too and take out even more clutter!