If you have kids and you've had clearing toy clutter on your mind... today we are going to work on it. We are going to talk about decluttering without throwing every toy away. These tips work and you can start today.
With four kids, we’ve accumulated a lot of toy clutter. Despite our best intentions to limit the amount of “stuff” we brought into the house, it didn’t always go as planned. One day, you look around and realize that you have too much toy clutter. Whether you have one child or a dozen, the toys just seem to multiply!
How to tame the toy clutter:
Tip 1: Lay It All Out on the Floor
When you’re trying to clean up the clutter, it may seem counterproductive to empty the toy bins all over the floor. Trust me, when you spread it all out, it’s so much easier to do the next steps. If you don’t have enough time to get through all of the bins and baskets in one sitting, just do them one at a time. I used to use nap time to conquer one basket at a time and, while it took me awhile, it made it a lot more manageable!
Tip 2: Broken Toys Go First
After you spread out all of the toys, you’re going to find that some of them are broken. Those broken toys get tossed out first. If your kids can’t play with them, you definitely don’t want to donate them. If the toy just needs new batteries, but otherwise works fine, set it aside. This point in time is only for the cracked, broken, non-functioning toys.
Tip 3: Sort Into three piles: Donate, Keep, and Memories
This step can be the hardest part of taming toy clutter, because almost every toy in your house is connected to a memory. If you simply can’t part with the old teething toy that your five year old used to use - four years ago! - just set it aside in the “Memories” pile and move on to the next toy.
Donated toys should always be toys that are in good condition, but just aren’t age-appropriate for your child anymore. The toys in the Keep pile should be ones that your child plays with regularly and that are in good, working order.
You can also have your kids help you with this part, explaining that you are giving hte toys to kids that don't have as many toys as they do.
Tip 4: Go Through the Piles Again
After I had everything sorted, I always took a 10 minute break and then went through each pile again. More often than not, I was able to move some of the Keep and Memories items over to the Donate pile when I looked through everything a second time. Sometimes I was happy with my decisions and everything remained in the same piles, but it was rare that I didn’t change my mind about at least one or two things.
Tip 5: Organize What’s Left
After the piles are finalized, it’s time to organize. I always bagged and boxed up the Donate items first, so that I didn’t change my mind and, more importantly, so that if the kids woke up from their naps early, I had those Donate items out of sight. As any mom knows, if you decide to donate something, your kids instantly become attached to it!
After the donate items were put in the car, I put the items from the Memories pile into a special tub that I started just for those types of things. It’s a bit of a catchall tub, but it has some of my kids’ first toys and things I just can’t part with. That storage container gets put away in the closet or the garage. For the Keep items, I always tried to make sure that they were organized and labeled when I put them away. Since it’s a bit harder to organize toy clutter by type (i.e. - cars, blocks, etc.) one bin at a time, if you have the ability to do all of the toys in one sitting, that would probably be best. If not, just do what you can and organize as you go.
Taming the toy clutter isn’t fun, but it is possible. Be realistic about what you can get rid of and what you really want to hold on to. There’s nothing worse than putting a special toy in the Donate pile and regretting it the moment you pull away from the charity donation spot. Been there, done that! By the same token, there’s nothing better than having a clutter-free playroom where your kids love and play with everything that’s in it.