Learn how to declutter toys in order to have a happier, calmer family.
It’s hard to keep your house clean when you have kids, and it seems like their toys are taking over.
Kids love having lots of toys to play with, but all those toys can quickly make a mess.
Too many toys can actually be overwhelming for kids and make it hard for them to focus and play.
So, if your children’s toys collection is out of control, or if you are too stressed out by all the clutter, it’s time to declutter.
Why decluttering toys?
There are several reasons why you might want to declutter your child’s toys.
- More space in the house, less clutter, and less mess. Having less clutter and mess is such a time saver! Not only that but it can help you become a better parent because you will have more mental energy to play with your kids and be more mindful and present.
- Easier to clean the house after decluttering. Cleaning will be both quicker and more effective when there is less stuff around!
- Your child may become more independent and resourceful. If there are fewer toys around, your child will have to find ways to entertain themselves. This can be a good thing as it can lead to more creativity and independence.
- A sense of calm may be restored in the home. A calmer home environment can lead to a calmer family.
- Less stress for you, mama. Less stuff means less to worry about, keep track of, and clean. You might also find that you have more patience with your kids when the house is less chaotic.
- An opportunity to teach your child to let go. As you declutter, you can talk to your child about why it’s important to let go of things that we don’t need. This will help them understand the value of things and how to be more mindful in the future.
- Children become more attached to the toys they have and they play with them more. When there are fewer toys around, your child will appreciate the toys they have more and play with them more. Quality over quantity!
- They value and appreciate their toys more. Similar to the above point, when children have fewer toys they will value and appreciate them more. Moreover, you may find that your child is more grateful for the things they have in general.
All these benefits lead to a happier family!
How many toys do children need?
There is no magic number when it comes to the number of toys that children need. It depends on the child, the space you have, and your own family’s values.
So make what works for your family, but always choose quality over quantity. Also, offering them your time is way more important than offering them more things.
Don’t forget that the most important thing is to have fun with your children and create lasting memories!
That is why I encourage you to keep only essential toys and to get rid of the ones that are just taking up space.
How to declutter toys? A step-by-step guide
As you probably imagine, decluttering toys is not so easy. It takes time, effort, dedication, lots of communication with your children, and some tough decisions. But, it is so worth it!
When every surface is covered in toys, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of order. If you find yourself regularly tripping over Legos or stepping on Hot Wheels, it may be time to declutter your child’s toys. Though the process may seem daunting, there are some simple steps you can follow to make things go more smoothly.
Step 1. Involve your children by talking to them first
The first step is to have a talk with your children about why you want to declutter their toys. This is an important step because it will help them understand what is happening and why.
Be sure to explain that you are not getting rid of all their toys, only some of them.
It is best if you keep repeating it over and over, so your children get used to the idea. You can say something like:
“Remember that in 5 days we are starting decluttering some of your toys. We are going to have so much fun doing that”.
The next day you do that again until the big day comes.
Step 2. Observe their play
Make sure you know what are toys that are not very used or are not used at all. This is key to knowing what to declutter.
The best way to do this is by observing your children at play. Do this for a few days or even a week.
You can do it secretly, or involve your children and ask them:
You can say something like: “Oh, I see you are playing with your blocks. Do you like them? What other toys do you like to play with?”.
As a parent, you probably already know what your child’s favorite toys are. But, it is still helpful to observe their play to get a sense of what they are currently interested in.
We are going to keep children involved in the process all the time. You are going to declutter with them, but sometimes they are emotional and don’t want to let go even of unused toys. That is why you need to know their favorite and least-liked toys. By knowing what toys they don’t like, you are going to encourage them to declutter them.
Step 3. Gather all the toys in the same room/pile
The bid day came. Now it is time to declutter!
The first step is to gather all the toys in the same room or even make a pile in the middle of the room.
Seeing all the toys in one place will help you and your child get a sense of just how many they have. Also, you are going to see if they have doubles of some toys or if they have too many of one type of toy.
Step 4. Parent’s part
Before asking your child about what to declutter, you need to do your part.
Get rid of the toys that:
- Are broken and can’t be fixed
- Are missing pieces
- Have been outgrown
You certainly don’t need your child involved in this process. Just get rid of the toys that you know need to go.
Step 5. Children’s turn
This might be more than a one-day job, depending on the number of toys your children have and how hard it is for them to let go.
Now it is time for your children to start decluttering their toys.
As we said, it is important that you involve your children in this process as much as possible.
One way to do this is to ask them which toys they want to keep and which ones they are willing to part with.
You can also ask them to put all the toys they want to keep in one pile and all the ones they are willing to declutter in another.
Pick each toy and ask them: “Do you want to keep this toy or are you willing to declutter it?”.
In case they say that they don’t want to get rid of any toys, go to Step 6.
If they say they want to keep it, then put it in the “keep” pile. If they say they are willing to declutter it, then put it in the “declutter” pile.
You can also give them the option of keeping the toy but only if they are willing to declutter another one. This is a good way to help them let go of toys they may be attached to but don’t really need.
Step 6. Help and encouragement
If your children are having a hard time decluttering their toys, here are some things you can do to help them:
- Encourage them by saying something like: “I know it is hard to let go of some of these toys, but remember that you are doing a great job and that you are helping mommy to make more space in our house, so there is more room to play and have fun”.
- Help them by saying something like: “Let’s see, this toy is in good condition but you haven’t played with it in a while. Why don’t we put it in the declutter pile?”.
- You can also ask them why they don’t want to declutter a certain toy. This can help you understand their attachment to it and see if there is anything you can do to help them let go of it.
- If they are having a hard time deciding which toys to declutter, you can ask them if they would be willing to declutter a certain number of toys. For example, you can say: “How about we declutter only 5 toys today?”.
- In case your child wants to keep all of their toys, you can try to negotiate with them. For instance, you can say: “How about we keep only the toys that fit in this bin?”. Make it a game, make it fun for them!
It is important that you don’t force your children to declutter their toys. The goal is to help them let go of the things they don’t need, not to make them get rid of things they are attached to.
Step 7. Declutter the toys
Now that you have gone through all the steps, it is time to start decluttering the toys!
To make it better for the environment, try to:
- donate the toys in good condition to charity
- donate to friends or family who have children
- recycle the toys that can’t be donated
- sell the toys that are in good condition but that your children have outgrown
- throw away the toys that are broken or missing pieces
It is important to involve your children in this process as much as possible. They need to see that their toys are going to a good home, and they need to know that they are helping others by decluttering their toys.
Step 8. Talk to your children about what they learned
After you have decluttered the toys, it is important to talk to your children about what they learned.
You can ask them questions like:
- How did it feel to declutter their toys?
- What were some of the hardest things to let go of?
- Was it fun?
- Are they happy that their toys will go to other children in need?
Also, you can tell them how proud you are of them for decluttering their toys and helping others. This will help them understand the importance of decluttering and will encourage them to do it again in the future.
If you sold some toys, tell them that you can go to an aquapark, dinosaur museum, or any other place they have been asking to go. They will surely be happy and willing to declutter more in the future!
How to declutter toys – infographic PDF
Keeping the toys from coming back
When you have decluttered the toys, it is important to take some measures to prevent them from gathering again.
Here are some things you can do:
- For each new toy that they want, make them declutter one that they don’t use anymore. This is a rule that you can make and that will help to prevent the accumulation of toys.
- Have a bin for toys that they have outgrown, are broken or are missing pieces. When you see an unused toy, just put it in the bin. After a while, declutter the bin.
- No toys on sale. This rule is important because most of the time, the toys on sale are not really what your children need or want. So if you see a toy that is on sale, don’t buy it for your children. Let them decide what they want, they certainly want a lot of things!
- Be mindful of the gifts you give them. Give them something that you know they will use and that will last for a long time. Try to avoid giving them things that are just going to clutter up their room.
- Be an example to your children. If you are constantly buying things that you don’t need, they will think that it is okay to do the same. So, be mindful of your own consumption and try to lead by example.
- Talk to your spouse/partner/family. If they are constantly buying your children new toys, talk to them about it. Explain to them that you are trying to have as fewer toys as possible and ask them to help you with this goal.
- Have regular decluttering sessions. Every month or so, go through the toys with your children and help them declutter the things they don’t need. This will help to keep the toys under control and will make it easier for them to let go of things.
- Choose experiences over toys. Instead of buying them a new toy, take them to the park, the swimming pool, or the zoo. Experiences are more valuable than things and will create lasting memories. Ask your children what they would rather do: buy a new toy or go to the aquarium? They might likely choose the second.
- Encourage them to play outside. The more time they spend outside, the less time they will have to play with their toys. And that is a good thing!
Categories of toys to consider keeping
There are certain categories of toys that you might want to keep, even if you are trying to declutter. Here are some examples:
- Blocks: Blocks are great for building and imagination. They can be used in many different ways and they last for a long time.
- Educational toys: These are toys that help with the development of your child. They can be things like puzzles, flashcards, or books.
- Musical instruments: If your child is interested in music, you might want to keep some musical instruments around. They can be things like a keyboard, a guitar, or a drum set.
- Sports equipment: Encourage your child to be active by keeping some sports equipment around. This can be things like a basketball, a football, or a jump rope.
- Dolls or cars. If your child is into pretend play, dolls and cars are great to have around. They can use them to create all sorts of different stories. They are also very versatile and can be used in many different ways, depending on the creativity of your children.
- Art supplies: They can be things like crayons, markers, paint, and clay. Art supplies are great for creativity and imagination.
- Outdoor toys: If you have the space, outdoor toys are great to have. They can be things like a swing set, a trampoline, or a bike.
Organizing toys after decluttering
Once you have decluttered the toys, it is time to organize what is left. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Create a toy rotation. This is a great way to keep toys from becoming boring. Put half of the toys away and only bring them out every other week. This will give your child something to look forward to and also help you keep the toy area clean.
- Create labels and organize toys into categories. This will help your child know where everything goes and make it easier for them to put the toys away.
- Use clear/transparent storage containers. By doing so, your kids will see what is in each container and also help keep the toy area clean.
- Make sure the toy area is easily accessible for your child. By doing so, they will be more likely to put the toys away when they are finished playing with them.
- Ask your kids for help. Ask them where is the best place to put a certain toy. This will help them feel involved in the process and more likely to keep the toy area clean and organized.
The most important thing to remember when decluttering toys is that less is more. You don’t need a lot of toys to have a happy and healthy child. So choose quality over quantity and only keep the toys that are essential.
Also, make sure to organize the toys after you declutter so that your child knows where everything goes.
And finally, don’t forget to have fun with your children!
Hopefully, these tips will help you declutter your child’s toys and create a more organized and enjoyable play space.
Have a clutter-free kid’s room!
Further reading: Your COMPLETE clutter-clearing guide