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How To Organize Toys and Reduce Clutter

Learn how to declutter and organize all your kid’s toys. See how you can keep your sanity with organized toys. A happy medium between minimalism and having too much stuff. 

how to organize toys

As much as I’d love to be a totally minimalist mom, I know it’s just not realistic for our family. Our families love to buy Evelyn toys and clothes and I’ve come to accept that toys are part of our lives—at least for now.

I had a system of organizing baby clothes, and now it was time to find one that worked for toys!

I needed a system that would help me maintain my sanity around toys. I’ve accepted that toys are part of our life, but that doesn’t mean they have to take over our house. Here are the things that I do to keep toys from evicting me from my own home.

HAVE A DEDICATED SPACE FOR TOYS

Try to keep toys in one dedicated area. This can be a playroom, bedroom, living room, or some other space you decide. Toys can come out of that space, but work to establish the fact that toys return to that space. With time, this will help keep toys from being scattered ALL.OVER.THE.HOUSE.

Organize, Organize, Organize

Come up with a system to organize your toys. Your system will largely depend on how many toys you have. Here are some options:

  • Giant storage baskets—great for smaller space nurseries and homes to really limit the amount of toys you keep and make cleanup easy.
  • Bookshelf with designated bins—perfect if you’re a little more Type A and want toys categorized a bit. (I’m with you.)
  • Storage cubes—if you have a little more space and don’t mind a few extra toys.
  • Smaller mesh bags—to keep smaller pieces to puzzles, doll accessories, etc. Avoid meltdowns by storing these small items in color-coded bags and never losing important pieces again.
  • Another storage option you find. There are some great IKEA nursery hacks that are gorgeous and double as storage solutions!
Close up of toy storage

Purge every so often

Do a Pre-Holiday / Pre-Birthday Purge

Any time a holiday or birthday is coming up, I go through our current toys and pull out:

  • Anything that is never or almost never played with
  • Anything that Evelyn has outgrown
  • Anything that’s broken or has missing pieces
  • Anything that has too many duplicates (how many baby dolls do we need?)
  • Anything that I don’t like or find too annoying (mom’s sanity is important!)

For the most part, these unwanted toys go in the donate pile. More expensive or special toys might go on a swap and sell page on Facebook or given to a friend. I do have a “memories” drawer and there are a handful of things I’ve kept. I try not to be too sentimental and often pass along much-loved toys to my closest friends with younger kids.

If your kids are older, get them involved in this process. Have them choose which toys they would like to give to a kid who is less fortunate than they are. Lots of lessons can be taught here! Just be warned that as soon as you try to give away the toy they haven’t touched in a year, it will immediately be their favorite toy and impossible to part with. Gotta love them, right?

DO A POST-HOLIDAY / POST-BIRTHDAY PURGE

Yes, this is basically the same thing as above, but I always find even more to get rid of after the holidays or a birthday. Often the new toys will outshine the old ones and toys they used to play with sit idle.

toy organization and donation box

Rotate Toys Regularly

Too many toys can be overwhelming for kids. Less is more when it comes to toys and sparking a child’s creativity and imagination.

I like to keep some toys out and pack the rest away in a storage bin. Then I put this storage bin out of sight.

Around the first of the month, (every other month or so) I pack up the toys that are in the playroom or toy area and put new ones out from my storage bin. I do it around the first of the month just so that I remember when I last did it. Otherwise, I would have no idea! (Thanks mom brain.)

This keeps all of your kid’s toys new and exciting to them and makes sure all toys get played with. It’s also a lot easier to tell which toys they really like and which ones they don’t really care about. There are some toys like Evelyn’s baby dolls and accessories that she plays with daily. I never rotate those out. But different books and puzzles become way more exciting when they haven’t been in plain sight for a few months.

kids playing with toy blocks

Keep Holiday Toys Separate

I really like having seasonal and holiday-themed toys to build up to a new season. So when we receive things like stuffed bunnies, Easter books, and other Spring-related toys we enjoy them through April/May and then I store them away. Next March I will get them out again and we will have what feels like brand new toys leading up to Spring/Easter. I love celebrating holidays so it’s fun to have holiday themed books and special toys to build the excitement!

CLEAN UP EVERY SINGLE DAY

The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is clean our house. But Nick and I make a point to pickup the toys most evenings (she helps a little before bed, but right now she is too young to really do it all) before we do anything else. We usually set a timer for 15 minutes and chuck as many things in the containers that we can. That way we don’t feel like we spent the whole night cleaning up.

I can probably count on one hand the number of evenings we’ve skipped the tidying ritual and every time I regretted it the next morning. Having a clean slate every morning makes me feel like my life is organized. When the house feels chaotic, my life feels chaotic. It also makes it easier to do other household chores, like vacuuming and mopping when there is a clean slate.

I hope you found these tips helpful! I know it will both get harder (toys with more parts, etc.) and easier (actually having help) to deal with the toys in the future, so I’ll be sure to come back and update this post if our system changes!

IF THIS IS HELPFUL, PIN IT FOR LATER!

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Amy Motroni
baby with stocking on stairs
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