Toys, toys, and more toys. So you have finally realized you need to know how to declutter toys, because you are drowning them!
You have come to the right place. This step by step guide can help you declutter your kid’s toys and stop feeling so overwhelmed by them.
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We all start out with just one child and a few toys. And in the beginning, we are very good at picking them up and teaching our little one to pick them up too. But soon toys start to take over your house whether you like it or not because of toy math…
If you do the toy math, it looks a little something like this:
1 child = 10-20 toys
2 children=100-200 toys
Each additional child = another 100-200 toys
Each year with Christmas and Birthdays = 1000-2000 more toys
So in total, you have about 5000 toys in your home!!! You know I am exaggerating…I think! 😉
But any way you look at it, drowning in toys is way overrated. So we are going to talk about how to declutter kid’s toys so you can re-claim your house!
And if you stick around till the end, I will give you some tips on how to keep toy clutter to a minimum.
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How To Declutter Toys One Step At A Time
Step 1: Pay Attention
Watch what your kids are and are not playing with for a week or two before you plan to declutter their toys.
That way, you will know that you are not getting rid of anything they are in invested in.
Step 2 Option 1: Find a Babysitter (optional)
This is a good tactic if you children are young and don’t really realize what you are doing.
I know you want to know how to declutter toys because in the end it is going to make you happy to remove them from your house but before you start, you need to set up a babysitter.
Trust me when I say that if your kids are in the house while you are trying to get rid of their toys, it will not be a happy day for anyone. As a matter of fact, it will easily turn into a complete disaster.
So make sure you find someone to watch your kids…outside of your house before you start to declutter all the toys.
Step 2 Option 2: Declutter The Toys With Your Kids
Another option to step 2 is teaching your kids how to declutter toys. And this could be just what you need.
Talk to them about the benefit of having experiences versus things.
Teach them that there are children in the world with no toys that would love to have just 1 toy to love.
Talk to them about placing value in friendships, family, and love instead of in things.
Teach them about giving instead of getting.
If you teach your children what to value early in life, it may save you from decluttering tons of toys in the future.
Step 3: Choose a Starting Point
I am not sure how you have your toys set up at the moment. Are they all over the house? Are they contained in a bedroom? Or possibly you have a designated toy room?
Wherever you keep your toys, or even if they are just all over, you need to decide where you are going to start decluttering.
If the toys are all over your house, then I would recommend picking them all up, and putting them into one room or space so you are not walking all over the house while you declutter the kid’s toys.
Start on one side of the room, and move to the other as you go through the toy clutter.
Step 4: Divide Into Piles
You will need 4 piles to divide the toys into:
I use these bins when I declutter because they are sturdy and can hold a lot of clutter.
Here are the criteria for each category:
Trash: Anything that is broken, torn, discolored, toxic toys, does not work how it should, fast food restaurant toys, or is just plain trash that has made its way into the toys somehow (like candy wrappers).
Donate: Toys that your children have not played with in a long time and no longer seem interested in. They still work and would make some other child happy.
Move: Items that do not belong in the toys…like mommy’s phone or kid’s clothing…things like that. Also, items that are for the older kids toys, but may be harmful to the younger kids, like choking hazard items. Those should be moved into the older child’s room.
Keep: These are the toys that you are going to keep and place neatly back in an orderly fashion so your kids can continue to play with them.
Step 5: Move Things Around
When you have decluttered all the toys in the room and have your piles sorted, it is time to move things around. Immediately take the trash pile to the trash and run the donate items to the donation center.
You already have 2 piles out of your house!
With the move pile, go ahead and place those items wherever they should be.
Step 6: Replace The Keep Pile
And the last step in the process of how to declutter toys is to replace the toys you plan to keep for your kids.
When you know how to declutter toys, it does not seem quite as daunting the next time.
But the true test is if you can create a system that allows you to keep the clutter to a minimum.
Here are a few options for organizing your toy clutter…
Option 1: There are shelves that have slanted plastic bins designed to help you organize things like children’s toys.
These shelves and bins are geniously created to also allow the child to see what is in the bin before taking the bin off the shelf.
Option 2: A cubical organizer is a great addition to any toy area when you want to keep the clutter out of sight. Add bins to this cubical organizer and you will have great categorized organization that is hidden from your guests.
Option 3: An all in one storage system. This particular storage system is small, but will contain all of the books, toys, and games your kids love.
How To Declutter Children’s Toys When Your Child Is Sensitive or Emotional
My son has a hard time with change, therefore, he becomes very attached to the things that are around him. Since he is a kid, most of what is around him is his toys.
I learned a long time ago that I needed to have patience if I was going to get rid of anything of his.
When it has been a while since he has last played with something, I will put it through a long step by step process before it leaves our house for good.
- Place it on the back of the counter top for a few weeks. It is there, he can see it, but more than likely, he will not ask for it.
- Move it into a cabinet. It is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. If he again does not ask for it for a few weeks, it gets moved again.
- The third move is into a black bag in the basement. At this point, I know he is probably not ever going to play with it or even remember it. But I keep it because there have been a few occasions when he did ask for it after months and months in the basement. I normally keep the bag of toys for at least a year.
- That bag of toys finally gets moved out of my house. I normally take it to a donation center if all the toys are in good, usable shape.
I know this sounds like a lot, but if you have a sensitive child, you know this is the best way to declutter toys without guilt or tears!
How To Manage Toy Clutter
One In One Out Rule
With this rule, every time you bring a new toy into the house, your child must part with one toy.
You can make this process easier for them by teaching them about children who are less fortunate and need toys.
This is a great way to keep toy clutter to a minimum and also make every week feel like Christmas for your kids.
As a mom of a 10 year old and a 13 year old, I have been through enough Christmases and Birthdays to know that most kids play with about 2-3 of the gifts they receive.
The rest are completely forgotten about.
So one way to make sure they play with all of their toys is to do a toy rotation. Place 2-4 bins in a closet (I like these bins so the kids can’t see inside). Mark them with week 1, week 2, and so on. Place toys in each bin.
Then during week 1 of the month, they play with the toys in the week 1 bin. During week 2 they play with the toys in the week 2 bin…and so on.
This keeps them engaged, interested, and they get use out of all of their toys instead of just a handful of their favorites.
Instead of buying new toys for your kids all the time, what about a toy trade with family and friends.
A toy trade will allow your kids to have new toys to play with, while getting your old toys out of the house on a rotation. Keeping your toy clutter to a minimum.
Set a Limit
One of the best ways to avoid having to learn how to declutter toys is to set a toy limit. If you know you will always only have 20 toys at a time, then you will never have to go through the painful process of decluttering 5000 toys!
Stop Buying Them
The best idea for how to declutter toys, is to not buy them at all. Instead, try buying experiences for your kids.
Some toys are fun, but so are experiences. Buy tickets to a play, buy passes to the zoo. Take a weekend trip to the mountains.
Time with you and fun experiences are what your kids will remember, not what toys they had when they were 4 years old.
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Keep a box in the toy room or somewhere nearby. As you notice that your child has outgrown a toy or stopped playing with it, place it in the outgrown box.
This box allows the toys to stay in the house in case your child decides to play with them again, but also gets them out of the way for when they are finished.
When the box is full, donate the toys and start the box over.
Keeping The Space Tidy
Be sure to clean up every day in order to keep your newly decluttered toy space tidy. Here are some ways to keep up with your clean space:
- Be sure to have a dedicated time each day when you AND your children clean up the toys. This helps teach them the importance of cleaning up after themselves, and it gets them ready for preschool and elementary school, where they are expected to clean up the messes they create each and every day.
- Make it fun by having a fun cleanup song that you sing or play each day. If you children are older, try making it a race, or a game so they have a good time cleaning up your decluttered toy space.
- Teach your kids how to declutter toys by teaching them how to part with them regularly. Each month, tell them they need to add some toys to the giving box so they can give to children in need.
How To Declutter Toys Without Guilt
If you have been holding on to toys as keepsakes and memories of your child’s youth, that is okay. Unfortunately, the clutter problem starts when we begin to hang on to ALL of the toys and do not get rid of any.
In order to keep the memories alive, without the toys, my suggestion would be to take pictures.
Take pictures of the toys you are currently holding onto. But also, as your kids play, take pictures if them playing with the toys that they love.
Believe it or not, you do not need the actual toy to remember all of the good times your child spent with particular toys.
If you are saving some of the “special toys”, that is fine. But keep them in a labeled bin in your storage area so you know exactly where they are.
Learning how to declutter toys from time to time can have a huge effect on how your home looks. And having a clutter free house can make your home happier.
Looking for other ways to declutter? Check out some of these related posts:
As a stay at home mom myself, I have found ways to keep myself sane while loving what I do …be with my kids! For this reason, I decided to become a professional organizer to help moms like you run your home more efficiently. Join me to learn ways to declutter, get organized, and manage your home better as a mom. Things I love…feeling motivated, Harry Potter, being outside, and digging deeper into my life and my family’s life in order to make it better. I have a background in biology and am also a freelance writer.