Inside: Learn exactly how to declutter toys before the holiday gift-giving season begins. There’s no better time than right now to get your playroom organized and the toys under control!
It’s that moment when your toddler dumps out every.single.toy.bin. that you truly realize just how many toys you’ve accumulated.
As you sit there slumped on the floor, staring at Toy Mountain, you ask yourself: “how did we get so much stuff?”
With birthdays, holidays, grandparents, and hand-me-downs, it’s no wonder our homes easily pile up with unused things.
Over the years I have learned some expert tips for controlling the toy clutter and today I am going to share those practical tips with you.
What’s the best way to declutter kid’s toys?
Today I’m going to share with you a simple 3-step system that anyone can use. You will learn:
- How to declutter the toys you currently have
- And how to prevent unwanted toys to begin with
With the holiday season approaching, now is a great time to take a good look at what your kid’s have and to think about what they really need.
I shared this post on Instagram and so many of you reached out to say these were the exact tips you were looking for – simple, easy to follow, and most importantly, doable!
How to Declutter Toys Before the Holidays
Step 1: Zones
To start off, you’ll want to write down all the locations or “zones” where toys are located in your home.
For our purposes here, I’ll use toys as a catch-all term for: stuffed animals, games, books, supplies, puzzles, Legos, blocks, dolls, etc. Basically all the things 🙂
Here is an example of the toy zones in my home:
- Downstairs playroom
- 5 year old’s room
- 3 year old’s room
You may have additional spaces such as backyard toys or items in your car. It’s essential to consider every single space where toys are located.
Step 2: Options
When it comes to decluttering toys you have 4 options:
- Toss it
- Recycle it
- Donate it
- Keep it
Following your list above, you’ll want to start with one zone at a time.
Let’s say you want to start decluttering and organizing the toys in your playroom “zone”. Here’s how to do it:
- Take out all the toys in your playroom and put them in the center of the room (Marie Kondo style, if you know, you know).
- Go through each item one at a time and decide if it needs to be thrown out, or if it can be recycled. If it’s in good condition, you can donate it. If it’s something they want to keep, set it aside so it can be organized later.
What about toys I want to keep, but don’t need right now?
One toy trap we often get caught in, especially with young kids, is that we forget to weed out their baby toys as they grow. Sometimes we think to ourselves, “maybe they’ll still play with it” or sometimes, we just forget to donate or put them away.
Mom-to-Mom Tip: If you’re planning to have more kids and don’t want to donate the baby toys, head to Target and buy a clear storage tub. Label it “baby toys” and pat yourself on the back for being that organized mom. If you find sentimental items while you’re decluttering, same thing. Clear plastic bin and label it “sentimental”.
How do I know whether to toss, recycle, donate or keep?
Here are my basic guidelines to follow:
- Recycle or Trash: My first avenue for broken things is always to recycle if possible. If not, it goes in the trash. When decluttering toy zones, I toss or recycle anything that’s broken, missing pieces, doesn’t work, or has been torn up/ripped.
- Donate: I only donate items in good condition. It’s important to remember that donation centers do not want broken toys or ripped stuffed animals. Only donate something if it’s good enough for your kids to play with, but they just don’t play with it anymore.
- Keep: What things should you actually keep? Think about the things your child plays with the most. What are their favorite toys they turn to again and again? If there are some things they have lost interest in, but you’re not ready to donate, consider setting up a toy rotation to regain their interest. I also try not to keep duplicates of anything. Even with two kids, I try not to have two of the same toy or two of a very similar toy.
Mom-to-Mom Tip: When I’m ready to declutter, one thing that helps me is to get in the mindset of moving. So I ask myself: “If we were moving and I had to pack all of this up, would I actually keep XYZ?” – this “moving mindset” really helps me get rid of stuff I’ve been holding on to. And often times I think we are more attached to their toys than they are 🙂
Step 3: Prevention
Now, you may be thinking: “this is great and all, but what about the massive influx of toys at the holidays or birthdays?”
As with all things in parenting, it helps to have a plan (and to have your partner on the same page).
Here are a few ideas for preventing unwanted toys:
- Create an Amazon wish-list for each child. Email the link to relatives with a simple note that says: “Here’s what John wants for Christmas!” And don’t feel guilty about it!
- When grandparents or friends ask what they can buy, tell them your preferences. If they don’t ask, tell them anyway! Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t want any electronic toys, or that you’re full to capacity on stuffed animals. If you don’t speak up, you may end up with a ton of stuff you don’t want or need.
- Have a “one gift” rule. I recently learned this one from a friend. When it comes to birthdays, she’s asking the grandparents to only send one gift. Easy!
- If all else fails, do a pre-screen if possible. When packages start to arrive in the mail, put them right in your closet (still in the box). After the kids are in bed, check out what was sent. If it’s something you’ll keep, hide it for wrapping up later. If it’s not, put it right in a donation bin or keep to give to a friend for a birthday.