Do You Ever Feel Like You Are Drowning in Toys?
Toys, toys, toys. What is a mom to do? It seems like the toys are everywhere! We pick them up and put them away, but somehow they sneak back out into the living room or the middle of the walkway where I step on them, ouch! How do I get control of all these toys? This week’s challenge is to organize your children’s toys.
It’s week 10 of our Organize Your Life in 52 Weeks Challenge. This week we are tackling the toy clutter in the playroom or game room.
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Reducing toy clutter has always been difficult for me. Every time I start sorting the toys (even the toys all my children have outgrown), I will think about fun memories or how it was their favorite toy when they were 10 months old (my son is almost 12 years old now) and I add that toy to the keep pile. Sometimes we have to accept it’s time to let go. But recognizing that we need to let go of the toys, doesn’t mean we love our children less or we have forgotten the wonderful memories from when they were younger.
We have a “play room” where we keep most toys. Although since the children have gotten older, maybe I should call it a “activity room”, a place to play games, watch TV, and hang out with friends. For this project, I am working on cleaning out and decluttering toys in our playroom.
Getting Control of the Toy Clutter: A 5-Step Process for Decluttering and Organizing Your Toys
1. Start by Sorting All Your Toys
I think every decluttering and organizing project starts with sorting first right? Sort all the toys and divide them into 3 groups: broken/doesn’t work, donate, and possible keeper. If you are like me, you always leave too many items in the “keeper” group, so this group usually has to be evaluated twice.
Toys to consider donating or selling:
- Toys your children have outgrown
- Toys your children just don’t like or play with (you have to accept if you have had the toy for 2 years and they don’t like it by now, it’s not likely they will ever like it or play with it)
- Bulky items. We had a mini game table in our activity room. But no one every played the games on the table, they just piled Legos, books, video games and more on the table. I decided to donate the table, it makes a huge difference in the room not having the bulky table that was always a mess. Just removing this table made the room feel less cluttered.
You will save time on step 2 if you are good at “letting go” in step 1 and adding more toys to the donate group on the first step.
2. Purge, Purge, and then Purge a Little More
Look at the toys you have saved in the “keeper” group. You probably still have too many. Purge those toys. It’s time to clean out the old toys, toys your children have outgrown, and toys nobody liked.
This is not Toy Story. I promise your old toys don’t have feelings. I understand you might have feelings for the toys. Donating the toys will not make your memories any less. Those memories are your fun times with your children growing up. If you donate the toys, then another child will get to enjoy them all over again.
3. Keep Only Toys and Games Your Children Use and Love
If you are still having difficulty purging toys, ask this question, “Does my child love this toy? Would they miss it today if it was gone?” If the answer is no to those questions, then you can probably safely donate that toy.
Use this simple rule when keeping toys, if your child doesn’t love it, don’t keep it.
4. Organize the Remaining Toys
At this point, you should have a much smaller collection of toys. Start the organizing process. I always suggest using or repurposing organizing tools you already have. If you have baskets for toys, then try to find a better way to organize the toys with those baskets. For example, you could have all the girl toys in one basket and all the boy toys in another basket or give each child a place just to have their toys.
Ask your children to help you with the organization system, because after you set-up the organization you want them to handle all the up-keep right? How would they like to organize their toys (use parental judgement and guidance when needed, of course)?
5. When Adding New Toys, Be Extra Selective
One of our biggest mistakes we made when our children were little was to buy what seemed like every toy. I guess I thought the more toys the better. But that’s not true. Even small children will only play with a few favorite toys, then you know what happens, Mom has lots of toys to put away when the babies go to bed each night.
To control toy clutter henceforth and forever more, promise yourself that you will be extra selective when buying new toys and games. You will only select the most fun toys and games that you know your children will love and you will not overwhelm them with excessive gifts on Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and any other day.
For additional ideas to declutter not just your toys, but a complete guide to decluttering your home, you will find Step-By-Step Decluttering, a great resource to declutter your entire home.
In Step-By-Step Decluttering, Sarah Mueller will take you through her proven system to help get started and stay on task when you start decluttering. Sarah will give you tips and ideas to make decluttering an easier process and help you not feel overwhelmed.
Before you know it, you will have all your toys decluttered, organized and under control. This 5-step process of sorting, purging, saving only the most loved toys, organizing what you keep and being extra selective when you add new toys will keep your toys decluttered and organized permanently.
How do you keep your children’s toys organized? What are your best toy decluttering and organizing tips?