Has your child ever sat in the middle of a room full of toys, looked you straight in the eyes, and whined, “I’m bored!”
Are there more dolls and plastic dinosaurs in your kids’ closets than there are clothes?
When your house is so overrun with toys that the only explanation is they’re multiplying in the middle of the night, then it’s time to purge toys and reclaim your home!
It sounds so simple, yet it’s one of the more difficult things to do. Seriously, if the kids are bored now, what on earth will they do when there are fewer toys?
But the reality is that kids don’t need a roomful of toys to satisfy them. Give them a cardboard box and their imagination springs to life!
So, keeping in mind that “less is more” here is a list of some of the top tips to help you declutter and organize the toys in your home.
1. Figure Out Your Reason Why
Before you start running through the house throwing everything you see into a giant black plastic bag, think about why you are doing this. Knowing your end goal will help you make decisions as you declutter your home.
Feel your children are not as grateful as they could be and wish they would take better care of the things they have?
Is the sight of all the toys just an overwhelming weight every time you walk into the playroom and just see So. Much. Stuff!
Want your kids to be more creative and imaginative, making up their own backstories to their dolls and trains instead of just depending on the existing story advertisers have sold us?
There are no right or wrong reasons, but it helps when you know what your reasons are before you get started.
2. Set the Criteria for Which Toys to Keep
Once you know your reason why you’re doing this, decide the criteria you will use to decide which toys to keep and which to get rid of.
Some ideas for your criteria might include toys that:
- Spark creativity through art and music or role-playing
- Encourage team play and engagement with other kids
- Inspire more physical activity through sports or the outdoors
- Foster learning and development
- Stimulates the imagination with items that can be used in multiple ways
3. Collect All the Toys
Designate the room you’re going to work in, then go through your entire house and collect ALL the toys.
Empty the closets, check under all the beds, pull everything from the car and the backyard, and put it all in one pile in the middle of the room.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. This is actually going to make all the rest of the decluttering tips so much easier!
When you have everything in one place, you can really get an idea of what you have and see more easily what you don’t need.
So, take a deep breath and get ready to begin!
4. Purge Toys That Are Broken
Ease into the purge by starting with the low-hanging fruit: broken toys. Grab that giant black plastic bag and fill it with all of the toys that are broken or have missing parts.
Once the bag is full, immediately put it out at the curb for trash or rubbish removal.
Now that those are gone, take a look around. Feeling lighter? Seeing more space on the floor? Great! Now you can move on to the next step.
5. Choose What to Keep and What to Donate
Take a look at what’s left and sort the toys by age. Any pile of toys for children younger than yours can be set aside for donations.
Then look for duplicate items – you may be surprised to find out there are multiples of the same toy! All of the duplicates can also be set aside for donations.
Ask yourself three questions as you look at the remaining toys:
- Is this toy played with every day?
- Is this toy loved?
- Does your child notice when it’s missing?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then they can go in the Keep pile.
6. Where to Donate Toys
Clean toys can be boxed up and donated. This is a great opportunity to teach children about generosity. They’re not losing something so much as they’re sharing their unused toys with another child who may not have any.
Many nonprofit organizations can use donated toys, including church nurseries, crisis assistance centers, homeless shelters for families, medical centers or fitness centers that have a kid’s area, and don’t forget your local schools!
7. Purge Regularly
The more you can make decluttering a part of your routine, the easier it will be – for both you and your kids.
Plus, if you purge toys every few months, it becomes easier because there are fewer items to go through.
8. Organize the Toys You Keep
Keep all the toys in one location and don’t let them spread throughout the house. Pick one place – a playroom, the kids’ bedroom, a corner in the living room – where all of the toys live all of the time.
Keep toys in easy-to-access bins that children can take down and put away on their own.
9. Consider Rotating Toys
One thing you might want to consider is rotating the toys: have some items available for active play and pack up the others to put away in storage.
Then, every few weeks switch out something that isn’t being played with often with something in storage. Your kids will feel like they have something new to play with and you haven’t added anything to the toy collection!
10. Going Forward, Stop Accumulating!
Setting limits on bringing more toys can be easy if you turn it into a game. When your child wants something new, they have to give up something old.
Don’t worry that you might be limiting your child’s imagination when you limit their toys. One of the most surprising benefits of a toy purge is that when there are fewer toys and less clutter, kids will actually use their imaginations more!
Limit Your Toys, Too
Once you’ve gone through the kids’ playroom, go through your own room! Kids will always learn more by example so when you start to declutter your things your kids will be more likely to follow suit.
Remember, less is more. So, purge toys and play more!