If you’re a parent, I can just about guarantee you have felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of toys that our children seem to accumulate. Every Christmas and as each birthday passes, they receive more and more toys. But how do you keep them organised, neat and tidy while also encouraging your little learners to actually play with them?!
Today I’m going to walk you through my five step process for decluttering your kids’ toys. First we’re going to sort through the toys. Next, we’re going to throw away the broken toys. Then we’ll declutter and decide what we’re going to keep and what’s going to be rehomed. Next we’ll rehome the extras before we finally store the toys!
Step 1: Sort the Toys
First we’re going to sort the toys. To do this, I want you to put all of the toys on the floor in one room. Yep. Every single thing toy…put it all out on the floor. This might seem a bit silly but this is really going to put things into perspective and help you see exactly how much you have!
If you’re anything like me, you’re going to have soooo much more than you even realise so by putting it all out on the floor and seeing it in one spot, you’re going to be able to take better stock of what you’ve got.
Once you’ve laid it all out on the floor, you’re going to go through and see what you’ve got multiples of. When we did this for the first time, we had four tea sets! There’s no need for that many so we knew we’d keep one and rehome the others. You might realise that you’ve got quite a few toys that are very similar, that do the same sort of thing. So you’ll easily be able to see what you’ve got a lot of, and maybe see what gaps you’d like to fill come Christmas or for birthday gifts.
Step 2: Throw stuff out!
Once you’ve got everything sorted out on the floor, you’re going to decide what you want to throw out. Now I don’t want you to just throw anything you don’t want in the bin. I want you to start with finding the toys that are missing pieces or are totally broken and then we’re going to get rid of those.
There’s no point holding onto things that you think you might find the missing bits to one day, because if you’ve done the first step and put everything in one place, chances are you won’t have things hiding anywhere else. So it’s really important that you follow that first step so you can see what things are missing pieces that just cannot be used anymore.
When we sorted our toys recently, we found a shape sorter that was missing heaps of pieces. We decided to throw away the main part and just keep the leftover shapes for other activities. We also had two other shape sorters so we kept one full set, kept the shapes from another set and donated the last shape set that we didn’t need.
Step 3: Declutter what’s left!
The next step is actually decluttering! You’re going to go through what you’ve got left and see what double ups you have and just keep the ones that are really important.
I want you to think about whether your child still uses the toy, whether it’s something that they come back to a lot and play with and whether it’s still developmentally appropriate. Sometimes we hold onto toys that just aren’t at the right age level for our child anymore. And if you’re not planning on having any more children, there’s no need to keep those toys.
If you’ve moved past that developmental milestone and you don’t need them anymore, you also want to consider whether this is a toy that is going to encourage lots of open-ended play or child facilitated play. You might also think about whether the toy is open-ended but that totally depends on your own play philosophies and whether you want to keep those kinds of toys or not.
During this step, we’re just going through what we have and deciding on what we absolutely want to keep and what we want to rehome or move along to someone else.
Step 4: Rehome the excess!
Now it’s time to be free of those excess toys and rehome them to someone else! Instead of throwing things out, we can pass them on to other people who will give those old toys a new lease on life! Your children might have younger cousins that you can pass your unwanted toys onto.
You might have grandparents that would love some toys to keep it their house. This is something we do often – I’ll pop all the unwanted toys in a crate and my Mother in Law or my Nana will grab a few things to take to their house. It’s funny how those toys just don’t spark any interest at our home. But suddenly when they move to Nana’s house they get a whole new lease on life and they love them again!
Here are a few places you can rehome toys to:
- Doctor’s surgeries
- Daycare centres
- Secondhand stores
- Charities and organisations like Baby Give Back
- Sell on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree
In this stage, we just want to take a look at the toys we no longer want (and that are still on good condition!) and see who you can possibly rehome them to.
Step 5: Store the toys!
This is going to totally depend on your home, how much space you have, how many toys you’ve decided you’re going to keep etc. But you’re going to take a look at the different nooks in your home and decide where and how you can store the toys.
In our old house, we actually used our master bedroom as a playroom so we stored all the toys in our walk in wardrobe (you can take a peek at that storage system here). Our new house doesn’t have much storage at all. We added some of these PAX storage units from IKEA so all our toys are mostly stored in those now. Some of our bigger collections like our Duplo and marble runs live in under-bed storage tubs in the kids’ bedrooms. They’re easy to access when the kids want to play with them, but they also pack away really easily as well. Lots of families like to use their garage. If you’ve got a wall free in the garage, you can put shelving up there and store your extra toys there.
Something I’d really like you to think about is embracing toy rotation. It’s certainly a really easy way to remove some of that overwhelm because kids just tend to spread stuff everywhere if there’s a lot of toys out and available. We found that when we embraced toy rotation and just chose a few toys at a time to pop on the shelves, it really helped to remove that cluttered feeling when alllll the toys were spread everywhere. I could talk about toy rotation and setting up purposeful play spaces for hours! If you want to read more about that, this blog post might help otherwise you can download my free Toy Rotation eBook!
We tend to do a big declutter before birthday’s and also before Christmas. We have a bit of a rule – it can’t come into the house if there isn’t room to store it!
I hope that these five tips help you to declutter your toys quickly and without the fuss! If you’ve got any questions about decluttering the toys or how to choose which toys to hold onto and which ones to pass along to someone else, just pop your comments below and I’ll answer those for you as well!