The following is a guest post about managing toy clutter from regular contributor, Yuni at Love Your Abode.
One of the most common complaints I hear from my mom friends is the stress of keeping toys cleaned and organized. I can definitely relate because almost every day, I’ll tell or more like nag at my kids to pick up their toys and put them away. We lived in a smaller town home without a garage for 10 years with 2 kids before moving to our current home. Back then, I really had to be creative about organizing our stuff since storage space was so scarce. Since we’ve moved to our larger home, I noticed stuff just gradually accumulates, especially since we now have a separate play area. I’m by no means a minimalist but my husband and I made a decision to pare down stuff in the home, especially when it came to all of the toys. Making this choice has been so beneficial to our family!
Six Tips for Managing Toy Clutter
Today, I’m sharing some helpful tips when decluttering toys and keeping them under control in our home. I know that every family is different when it comes to decluttering and purging items so I hope these tips will help start that process for you.
TIP 1: Get rid of all odd pieces, puzzles with missing pieces and old or broken items.
Do you keep the same missing or odd pieces of toys or puzzles hoping to find the rest of their “family?” I don’t know how many times I’ve done this. This last time, I said “no more!” I trashed all of the odd pieces of toys, missing checkers pieces and all of that Monopoly money. It’s amazing how completing this one step cleared so much clutter! Also, please don’t donate these random items, friends. Just throw or recycle them. You will be so glad you did!
TIP 2: If your child hasn’t played with it in over a month, it’s time to let it go.
Have you noticed once you start decluttering toys, all of a sudden some of them become their most favorite possession? This is a wonderful time to teach your kids a valuable lesson on generosity. If the toys are in great condition and donation worthy, my husband and I tell the children that it’s time for these same toys to bless another family as much as it has blessed ours. It’s difficult at first but I’ve noticed that it gets easier over time. Even better, let your children physically pass them on to others.
TIP 3: Use baskets and label them.
We recently got rid of a good amount of toys so now there’s only about 5-6 bins left. The bins or baskets don’t have to be expensive. I created simple labels to hang off the containers so the kids know where to put away their things. It’s easy to yell at the kids to organize and clean their stuff but, as parents, we need to teach them these skills. Be patient and show them how to organize so they know and understand where to put things away.
*Note from Laura –> I’ve got some free printable toy labels HERE.
TIP 4: Arrange a toy swap with friends or rotate toys in your own home.
In my closet, I keep a few bins of toys like this train track set and rotate them every few months. This is especially great for young children because they forget about what they have and it’s like new toys again. This works wonders on those rainy days when you’re stuck inside with your little ones.
Another idea is to create a toy box swap with a friend that has similar aged children. You can coordinate swapping a box of clean, gently used toys once a month and rotate them.
TIP 5: Keep a container in the main living area to keep toys out of sight.
In our home, the kids know that by the end of the day, toys need to be placed back in the toy room. This doesn’t mean that they can’t ever do puzzles or play with their toys in our living room because we’re all about game nights and doing puzzles together. However, there’s nothing worse than stepping on Lego in the kitchen. Plus, a lot of homework and crafts happen in our kitchen so the less distraction, the better.
Keeping a basket or bin near our stairs has helped keep those main living areas free of toys as well as keep our feet safe from those dangerous Lego pieces. Before bed, we make sure the space is clean by easily throwing all the things that don’t belong into the basket. I don’t mind seeing the play room messy since it’s not visible from the main living areas and the kids are in charge of cleaning that room once a week. This teaches them responsibility and the importance of each family member doing their part by taking care of their things.
Tip 6: Be intentional about what toys you purchase.
I’ve had to remind myself that just because it’s a great deal doesn’t mean that my kids need it. Maybe instead of material gifts, you can save up to enjoy that special family vacation.
I hope you found these 6 tips helpful when it comes to managing and organizing toy clutter in your home. After purging our home of a bunch of toys, it has been a huge stress relief! I’m all about removing stress in our home and I realized accumulating things was doing the opposite. It’s so much work managing our stuff and it can really become a full time job. Instead, removing some of these material things has helped my kids utilize more of their imagination, understand the value of what they do own and to see the importance of having a generous spirit.
Do you have other methods to managing toy clutter in your home? I’d love to hear them!
Yuni is married to her high school sweetheart and is a stay at home mom to three precious miracles. She is passionate about Jesus and loves creating a home with purpose. You can find her at Love Your Abode where she shares her love for DIY, organizing, cooking, and interior design. She loves gathering, feeding, and celebrating people.