Learn how to declutter and organise your kids toys – one of the trickiest things to do for those of us living minimally! On my simple living journey, children’s toys have been the most difficult thing for me to manage. Trying to find a balance between too much and too little can be troublesome.
Toy clutter can be overwhelming, and it can seem like a never-ending battle to keep toys tidy and organised. You start to feel the toy clutter piling up, and you realise you’ve got more toys than you have toy containers.
Does this sound familiar?
Well now that the kids are back at school…. (yes I am going to mention the C word….!) and the shops are starting to stock Christmas items (yikes!). I find it one of the best times of the year to declutter and organise the kids toys before the festive season begins and more items enter the home.
Personally I don’t buy a lot for my kids at Christmas. We tend to focus on experiences, consumables and things they need.
However, they receive other gifts from friends and family members that we have less control over, so it is not only best to be prepared but it also gives us a great opportunity to review what we have in our home.
As much as I’d love to be a totally minimalist mam, I know it’s just not realistic for our family – and that is ok. The benefits of fewer toys are well documented and the girls have a reasonable number of toys and books to play with – but not too many that we can’t easily put it all away at the end of the day. Let’s review how you can declutter your kids toys and put a very simple system(s) in place for ongoing maintenance.
1. HAVE AN INITIAL DECLUTTER SESSION!
Any time I know the girls are going to be receiving gifts (Christmas and Birthdays), I go through their current toys and pull out:
· anything they don’t play with or have outgrown
· anything that’s broken or has missing pieces
· anything that has too many duplicates (how many toy horses do we need?)
For the most part, these unwanted toys go in the donate pile. More expensive or special toys might go a on a selling page on Facebook or given to a friend.
I do put any special toys that they have been particularly attached to but have outgrown, in to their memory boxes for when they are older. Although I try not to be too sentimental, when it come to my girls it can be difficult! I find it easier to pass things on to family and friends when I find myself going down that path.
If your kids are older, get them involved. Have them choose which toys they would like to give to a kid who is less fortunate than they are. Lots of lessons to be taught here! My 7 year old is very good at this and regularly comes to me and asks if she can donate some of her toys – which is lovely to see!
2. NOW ITS TIME TO ORGANISE – HAVE A DEDICATED SPACE FOR TOYS
Our house is not huge but we are lucky enough to have a playroom. We have an IKEA unit with the fabric boxes in. I am a bigger fan of these versus the plastic boxes as the items contained can be hidden which makes it look neater.
I have each box dedicated to a certain type of toy, with a label on the front. We have dolls, puzzles, soft toys etc – adapt it to your child. Once you have decluttered, put them all back into their corresponding space. You can then breathe a sigh of relief as everything fits in and you can shut the drawer….
Other tips on how to contain the chaos here.
3. MAINTAIN BY CLEANING UP EVERY SINGLE EVENING
I make a point of making the girls pick up their toys before bed (or I did it when they were too young) It’s not difficult — they just put everything back into the corresponding boxes and takes no time at all!
There are times when we’ve skipped the tidying ritual and every time I regretted it the next morning. Having a clean slate every morning makes me feel like my house is not ruled by the kids, and being able to relax on an evening with a drink in front of the TV without seeing toys in the corner of my eye is priceless.
Looking for more maintenance tips, read this!.
SAVING TOYS FOR OTHER OCCASIONS
Try letting your kids have a few of their new toys after special occasions and put the rest in storage for a few months. This is great if you have had a kids party and the gifts are either a little too advanced for them or they have received duplicates. You can then pull them out on a rainy day or perhaps as a little bribe for good behaviour?
ROTATE THE TOYS ON A REGULAR BASIS
Consider introducing a toy rotation system that will encourage imaginative play, role play and reduce screen time. Other benefits include:
· It keeps their toys exciting – feeling like they are getting new toys all over again!
· It is easier to organise toys into a collection and allows your child to see exactly what they have got to play with.
· Having fewer toys gives your child a larger space to play, which encourages role play and imaginative play.
· Playing more imaginatively with toys, and engaging in more craft activities, helps to refine your child’s fine motor skills.
Try rotating every 2-3 weeks. I prefer to store all the toys not being used in groups, in an airtight boxes, so it is easy to choose new toys to rotate. I store my toy boxes in the garage. (make sure all toys are stored out of sight from the kids!)
As you start your journey through toy rotation you will have a better idea of which toys your children never play with. If you notice unloved and unplayed with toys do not put them back into the toy rotation system, donate them immediately, this is a great way to keep on top of the toy clutter!
Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Wellness & Lifestyle Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!