There’s no doubt that most parents struggle with the abundance of their children’s toys. Even if you occasionally purge toys, it’s just a matter of time before the toy clutter seems to creep back in. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to declutter toys efficiently!
When you know how to declutter toys and prevent the mess from returning, your home will feel so much lighter. Not to mention, there are so many benefits to having fewer toys.
So, if you’re ready to take the plunge to start organizing and decluttering your kids’ toys, you’re in the right spot. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about decluttering toys, plus answers to frequently asked questions.
Let’s get started!
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Why should you declutter your kids’ toys?
First, knowing the benefits of decluttering your kids’ toys is helpful. While there are many benefits, here are the top four:
Do you ever get overwhelmed by too many choices? Unfortunately, that’s what can happen to kids when they have too many toys. The child goes to find something to play with and then realizes that they have so many choices!
Next, they might get discouraged and not play with anything or only play for a limited time. Or, the toy your child might have wanted to play with is nowhere in sight, which can also be disappointing.
When your kids have a limited amount of toys, and the toys are all easily seen and accessible, it can help your child get their imagination flowing. They will be more likely to quickly find what they want to play with and start playtime!
Less Stress and More Space
I know that when my house is a mess or starting to get cluttered, it can make me a little anxious or stressed. While my house isn’t the perfect picture of cleanliness and organization, I try hard to keep it at least somewhat tidy.
Plus, as many parents can experience, toys can start to take over the whole house! When you take the time to declutter toys, it can make your home feel much cleaner. Not to mention, with fewer toys, you’ll have more space!
Less Time Spent Picking Up
Having fewer toys means that there is much less to pick up at the end of the day!
Also, having fewer toys won’t be so overwhelming if your kids decide to dump every toy at once. And, when all the toys have their own spot, it can make picking up more manageable for your kids to help with!
Our last benefit of learning how to declutter toys is that you’ll ultimately save money. As you work on decluttering toys, you’ll understand what kinds of toys are a real hit with your kids and which ones find their home at the bottom of the toy box.
When you know which toys your kids prefer, you won’t waste money buying toys that your kids will only play with for a short period.
Also, you can use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about knowing which things they really want or need versus stuff they see at the moment and want as an impulse. Teaching this great lesson will help your kids manage money and bring less toys home!
How do I start to declutter toys?
Looking at all the toys in your home can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. Decluttering can seem like such a huge chore, but it’s really not that bad! Here are our best tips for starting:
1. Observe Your Child Playing
One of the most crucial steps in learning how to declutter toys is to watch your kids while they are playing. Observing your kids’ playtime will allow you to see which toys are their favorites and which toys don’t really get touched.
For this step, it’s best to observe for at least 3-4 days, but watching for one week is ideal! Kids’ preferences can change day-to-day, so the more time you have to see playtime in action, the better.
While observing your kids while they play, make a mental note of the following questions:
- Which toys do your children play with the most?
- Which toys are never touched?
- Are there toys that regularly frustrate your children?
- Which toys do your kids play with only briefly? (5-10 minutes or less)
- Which toys help your kids stay active?
- If you have multiple children, which toys does everyone enjoy?
Answering these questions will give you some beginning insight into which toys are keepers and which ones you can start purging.
2. Choose a Free Afternoon
Instead of decluttering toys at different stages, it’s beneficial to declutter all at once. By decluttering on one afternoon, you’ll have the peace of mind that it’s done.
When choosing a time to declutter, you’ll want to make sure you have no appointments or errands at that time. Also, if your children are younger, having a babysitter or grandparent help watch them can be helpful.
Having your children occupied while you declutter will prevent them from taking toys out of designated areas and prevent them from trying to keep every little thing.
3. Bring All Toys to One Room
Surprisingly, decluttering toys goes much faster when you have all of the toys in one place. Gathering the toys will allow you to see everything your children have.
Then, you’ll be able to see if they have many of the same toys, making it easier to collect all of the pieces that belong in a set.
When I recently decluttered and organized my sons’ toys, it seemed overwhelming to dump everything in the middle of the room. But, it was so much easier to organize when everything was visible.
4. Sort By Category
Once you have collected all the toys into the same room, you’ll want to start sorting the toys by category. Sorting the toys is crucial because, as I mentioned above, you’ll be able to see which kinds of toys your kids have a lot of.
As you start to go through the toys, start with broad categories. For example, here are some common toy categories:
- Figure Toys (Like animal figures, action figures, or dolls)
- Kitchen/Food Toys
- Imaginary Play Toys
- Music Toys
5. Gather a Trash Bag, Donate Box, and a Keep Box
You’re almost ready to start decluttering! Once you’ve finished sorting the toys into categories, you’ll need to grab some bags or boxes for trash, donations, and the toys you’ll keep.
Having a designated place to put toys as you sort them will help you stay organized. Also, it will ensure that you don’t get any toy piles mixed up throughout the process.
6. Pick Up Each Toy Individually
Now that you’ve gathered your supplies and have sorted toy piles, you’re ready to start! Go ahead and choose one category of toys to go through first.
You’ll want to pick up each toy individually as you go through the toys. Holding each specific toy will help you to think about whether or not you should keep it.
Now, as you go through the toys, ask yourself these questions:
- Does my child still play with this?
- Do we have room to keep it?
- Is it in good condition?
- Is this toy open-ended?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then that’s an automatic keeper! But if you find there’s a mix of yes and nos to a particular toy, reevaluate how often your children really play with it.
Also, if you’re unsure about a toy, you can always keep it and put it through a trial run. Keep the toy out and easily accessible, and see if it grabs and keeps your child’s attention. If it does, keep it! If it’s a dud, donate it.
7. Put The Toy in the Respective Bin
After thinking about the questions above and deciding on the specified toy, it’s time to put it in the appropriate bin; either keep, donate or trash.
Once you’ve finished with the current category, you can take the toys from the keep bin and organize them however you choose. (More on organizing options below!)
8. Involve Your Child If They Are Older
If your child is a little older, feel free to involve them and show them how to declutter toys! You’ll want to ensure they are old enough to understand the process and not want to keep every single toy they see.
What to do with toys after decluttering?
Once you’re done decluttering your kids’ toys, you’ll probably wonder what options you have for all the toys you’re getting rid of. Here are the top three things to do with old toys:
If the toys you’re getting rid of are in good condition and have all the pieces, you can try to sell them!
To sell toys, you can use Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or you can have a good old-fashioned yard sale. Remember that you don’t want to overprice used toys because nobody will give you an offer.
Another great option that I’ve mentioned is to donate old toys. You can donate the toys at a local thrift store, or you can check local churches, daycare centers, shelters, and even the library!
When it comes to recycling toys, it can be tricky; you might have to do some googling to figure out how to recycle certain toys.
One cool thing I’ve found is that certain brands, like Hasbro, allow you to send brand-specific toys back to them! So if you’re getting rid of many specific brands, see if they will take them back to recycle!
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How To Organize Toys After Decluttering:
If you didn’t have a proper organization system before decluttering toys, you’d want to ensure you implement one now! You don’t want your hard work to be disorganized right off the bat. Here are our favorite ways to organize toys:
A while ago, we invested in this toy organizer with bins. I have to say; I was not disappointed!
This bin organizer was easy to put together by myself, has so much room, and even comes in different colors. I also love that you can have certain toys in their own bin, which are nicely displayed so your child can easily see what’s in them.
Stackable bins are another great option, especially since you can neatly stack them in a closet, and they are out of the way!
I’ve found that these stackable bins are a great set to start with. These 12 qt. bins come in a group of six and have latching handles for secure closure. Plus, they are a nice size that can fit a good amount of toys inside!
Stuffed Animal Pillow
I don’t know how we ended up with so many stuffed animals; they seem to multiply overnight! Once the stack in the corner of my son’s room was getting out of hand, I knew we needed something to contain them.
I also knew I wanted something more functional than a basket to put them in. That’s when I found this stuffed animal storage pillow!
I’ll start by saying that I was amazed by how many stuffed animals and blankets this pillow can hold.
Then, once all of the stuffed animals are inside, it’s a cozy spot for your kiddo to hang out! We have read many stories on my son’s ‘stuffy pillow.’
In addition to the large capacity that it holds, I love that this storage option is budget-friendly and comes in a few cute prints to choose from.
How To Prevent Toy Clutter:
After you’ve put in all the hard work to declutter your children’s toys, you’ll want to ensure it stays that way! Here are some great ways to prevent toy clutter from returning:
Involve Your Children
If your child is a little older, have them help you declutter all year round! One thing that helps keep the clutter down is to have your kids go through their toys around their birthdays or Christmas to make room for the new toys they’ll likely receive.
Also, it can be meaningful to let your child decide where to donate their toys. Not only does donating toys help teach them about giving back to others, but it can give them a sense of community and boost their self-esteem!
Implement the Buy One, Give One Rule
Any time your child wants to buy a new toy, explain that they’ll need to get rid of one old toy to make room. This helpful rule ensures that new toys are never piling on top of the old ones!
Consider Gifting Experiences
When it comes to Christmas and birthday gifts, gifting experiences are a fantastic option.
When you gift an experience, your child will have lasting memories of the gift instead of a physical gift they will have grown out of after a little while.
Some examples of experience gifts include taking a particular class or music lessons, going somewhere fun like bowling or a water park, or going out to do their favorite things!
Adopt the Want, Need, Wear, Read Option
The want, need, wear, read gifting option will help prevent you from over-buying gifts while also preventing clutter. The rule behind this idea is that each child will get four gifts:
- The first gift is something they want; this could be anything your child has wanted for a while.
- The second gift is something your child needs; this could be something of theirs that needs replacing.
- The third gift is something to wear. For instance, this could be new shoes or maybe a new jacket, anything they will enjoy wearing.
- The last gift is something to read. This could be a book your child has been wanting, or if your child doesn’t like to read books, it could be an audiobook or a magazine about something they like to do.
How do you get rid of toys without feeling guilty?
If you fear you might feel guilty for getting rid of some of your kids’ toys, that’s totally normal. Some parents worry they’ll get rid of something they didn’t know their kid still enjoyed.
One of the best ways to get rid of toys without feeling guilty is only to get rid of the toys your children don’t use anymore. If you have any doubts or questions about a toy, don’t get rid of it yet!
And there you have it! Learning how to declutter toys might seem daunting at first. But, once you start, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is!
Before you go, check out these related articles:
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- The Best Ways to Clean Baby and Kids’ Toys
What are your favorite tips for decluttering toys? Does your child enjoy helping with the process? I would love to know in the comments below!