One of the best ways for moms of young kids to eliminate stress (and regain some sanity!) is to cut down on the number of toys in the home. Decluttering toys can be difficult, because we don’t want to feel like we’re depriving our kids. We worry we’ll get rid of something they hold near and dear to their hearts. Or they’ll never forgive us if we limit the number of toys they have to play with.
But here’s the truth:
- Your floors don’t need to be covered in toys for your kids to play and enjoy themselves!
- Your shelves don’t need to be overflowing with toys for your kids to learn and grow!
- Your home doesn’t need to be filled to the brim with toys for your kids to have fun!
- You don’t need to keep silently cursing as you step on yet another toy.
- You don’t have to spend your very limited time picking up toys for the 100th time in one day!
In fact, studies have found that when kids have less toys to play with, they play with their toys more! Having LESS toys helps kids focus and become creative with one thing at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by so many options they don’t know what to do. So you should absolutely not feel guilty about decluttering your kids’ toys!
Clutter is a HUGE source of stress in the home. And as moms, we have enough on our plate! The last thing we have time for is dealing with toy clutter. Because think about it this way–for every minute you spend picking up toys, cleaning toys, putting toys away, tripping over toys, moving toys, and bugging your kids to put their toys away, that’s one less minute you get to spend doing something meaningful with your kids. This is why decluttering your home is so, so important!
If you didn’t have to deal with any of the clutter, how different would your day be? What other things might you be able to do with your time instead? Nobody wants to spend their kids’ childhood constantly picking up toys that they don’t even use! It’s really easy for toy clutter to get out of control, especially after major gift-giving holidays like Christmas and birthdays.
But your home DOES NOT need to look like a Toys R Us store exploded inside of it for your kids to play and have fun! Getting rid of the toys your kids no longer want or play with DOES NOT make you a bad mom! So it’s time to tackle the toys. These decluttering tips will help you take control of the toys once and for all!
The Secret to Decluttering Toys (without Guilt!)
Decide what to keep.
Observe your kids and notice what toys they REALLY play with. What gets used almost daily? What holds their attention for longer than a few minutes? What toys are they always drawn to? Those are the toys you want to keep!
Open-ended toys that have multiple uses and inspire creativity will get used more often and played with longer than toys that are one use. These kinds of toys stimulate the imagination and are perfect toys to keep in the home. (Think of all the different things a kid can do with a bucket of Legos versus an electronic monkey that sits there banging on a drum.)
Declutter the rest of the toys.
For younger kids, you will have to take the lead and make decisions about what to keep and get rid of yourself. Toys that your kids don’t seem interested in and never get played with are safe bets when it comes to decluttering toys. Anything that’s broken and worn out can go. Toys that have been outgrown, and toys that end up forgotten at the bottom of the toy box probably aren’t being played with very often.
If you have older kids, involve them in the decluttering process! Explain to them what you are doing, and ask them if there’s anything in particular they don’t play with that they would like to give to a child in need who will actually use it.
You might guide them and say, “I noticed you’re not playing with your Tonka trucks anymore. Is it ok if we give them to a child who doesn’t have any toys and would play with them all the time?” Or they might guide you and show you the toys they don’t play with anymore or the toys that are broken and missing pieces. If that’s the case, let them take the lead, and be sure to respect their decisions.
If they seem reluctant to get rid of anything, have them watch you declutter a different area of the house. Explain what you’re doing while you’re doing it. “We’re getting rid of this notepad because we don’t use it anymore.” That way they can understand what it means to declutter, and they may be more willing to go through their own toys afterwards.
If you are worried your child will change their mind or will miss something you’re getting rid of, put the toys you have decluttered into a box out of sight for a few days. If they miss something and ask for it back, you’ll be able to pull it out of the box and give it back to them.
After a few days, take the rest of the toys you decluttered that are in good condition and donate them to a local charity or shelter. Also check with teachers and day cares, as they might need toys as well. Take your kids with you and show them where their toys are going, and explain how they’re going to help kids in need. This will help your kids learn healthy decluttering habits at a young age.
Starting a toy rotation system is easy and a lot of fun for kids. This can be done with any toys you are keeping for your child to play with (NOT the things you just decluttered, that stuff needs to go!). Put a few select toys away and out of sight for a while, and then bring them back a few weeks later.
Keep rotating the toys you have stored away and the toys they have out to play with. This will limit the number of toys out at one time, and it’s a great boredom buster for kids, as it’s like getting a bunch of brand new toys every time you bring them out!
Limit the amount of toys that are out at once.
Set a limit to the number of toys that can be out at the same time time (ex: one box full, or one big multi-piece toy, like blocks or Legos). If they want to play with something else, they have to put the other toys away first. Which leads me to my next point…
Teach kids to clean up after they’re done playing.
After decluttering, this is one of the best ways to reduce toy clutter in the home. Teaching kids to pick up their own toys helps them learn responsibility, and you can start this at any age. While they might need more help and reminders at first, eventually it becomes a habit that will help them (and you!) as they develop and grow. This is an essential habit for a clutter-free home! Sing a song and make it fun!
This is especially important if your kids are older! (Especially if they aren’t willing to part with much. If they want to keep it all, they must be able to clean it all up themselves!) At that age, there is no reason why they can’t pick up their own toys.
Have you ever given your child a new toy, only to have them spend more time playing with the box it came in? Kids don’t need a ton of toys to get creative and play. Given the chance, even the simplest everyday objects can become a toy for a child, such as:
- A pot and wooden spoon make great musical instruments.
- A laundry basket or empty box becomes a cave to explore.
- An old sheet makes a fun fort.
- An old towel turns into a superhero cape.
- A paper towel roll becomes an air horn.
How We Organize Toys in Our Home
The links below contain affiliate links to the exact items we have bought that we love and use regularly. For more information, see my disclosure.
I have this shelving unit in our living room underneath our TV, and that’s where I keep toys for my daughter to play with. It’s really convenient (and stylish), and she can easily get toys out and put them away herself. I leave one or two multi-piece toys out at a time for her to play with. I keep the rest of her toys in a small box out of reach and rotate them pretty often.
She has this bookshelf in her room for books, and this cubby storage unit with a few toys. But the majority of her toys stay in the living room, because that’s where she hangs out and plays.
There’s enough toys out for her to play with and stay busy, but not so many that our home is overrun by them. Since she doesn’t ever have a ton of toys out at once, it generally only takes two minutes at the end of the day to clean them all up. We sing the “clean up” song and make it lots of fun!
I really hope these decluttering tips help you declutter your children’s toys. When it comes to toys, less is truly more. Kids honestly don’t need a ton of toys to be happy and stay busy. They are endlessly creative! Foster those little imaginations, and you’ll be amazed at the things they can accomplish!
Running a home can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way! I want to help you simplify your home so you can spend more time on what matters most. Decluttering your kids’ toys will help make running your home easier! If you enjoyed this post, check out the links below for more ways to simplify your home.
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