how to declutter kids toys
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Even though we have a rule about not buying toys for our kids apart from birthdays and Christmas, that still means at least 2 new toys a year for each kid, even without including toys from relatives. It is easy to notice how quickly toys can accumulate. It might be possible to reduce the accumulation by asking extended family to exclude toys from their gift list in favour of something else.

However, I don’t like to specify to anyone what they should or shouldn’t buy for my kids, because it might add extra stress and take away the joy of picking out the present they wish to give. But if you have family members who are cool with the idea of shopping according to a wish list, that might actually reduce their hassle in picking out the perfect gift.

As overwhelmed as we parents get by the toys scattered all over the floor, children also get stressed out by clutter. According to the article, Impact of clutter on children on WSLS news, numerous studies have found that children have more trouble concentrating and more trouble regulating their emotions in a disorganized and cluttered home. Also, studies show that women are more likely to stress out in a cluttered environment than men. 

As much as we want our children to have enough toys to explore and have more choices, apparently, too many toys can overstimulate them, hindering their concentration and preventing them from enjoying one toy at a time. 


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So, how do we go about decluttering toys and organizing them?

  1. Declutter
  2. Pick a limited number of current favourite toys with your children
  3. Store the rest of the toys out of sight until they are out of children’s minds 
  4. Give a proper storage space for the chosen toys (the toys your children have picked) 
  5. Teach your kids how to put each toy back in its designated spot
  6. Periodically rotate the toys and repeat the  decluttering process

How do I start to declutter toys?

Prepare 5 big bins with labels such as trash, recycle, donate, sell, keep, depending on your intentions. 

If the toys have been accumulating since your child’s birth, you will find that some of them are inappropriate for their age. To make more room for toys that can challenge your child’s developmental growth and help them to acquire new skills, you should set sentiment aside and let those old toys go to someone who can get use out of them.

Trash – Toys that have missing parts and broken bits, that could not be donated or sold, should be trashed rather than kept, to free up space.

Recycle – To recycle children’s toys, you might need to break them apart into separate materials. While some plastic and wooden toys might not be easy to recycle, metal and electronic components can be easier for recyclers to use.

Donate – Well-made toys can last a long time, even after passing through many little hands.

Sell – You can often sell gently used toys that your child has outgrown, via social media or second-hand stores like Value Village.

Keep – Open-end toys that your child can repurpose in many ways would be especially great to keep, as well as current favourites and toys that could still get more attention later on – meaning your children might not have had enough chance to play with them yet. Do not let the number of toys on the “keep” pile overwhelm you. It might not be easy to let go of perfectly good toys just for the sake of decluttering them. You can try the 20 toys rule below to utilize the toys in this pile without feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and making no progress.

What is the 20 toys rule?

It is as straightforward as the name sounds. You ask your child to pick their favourite 20 toys from the “keep” pile, and the rest of the toys have to be packed and stored away, out of your kid’s sight. Then you can periodically rotate the toys and repeat the same process. But how often should we rotate the toys? It can vary, but as long as enough time has passed for your child to forget about their other toys, reintroducing them will make them feel like new. 

How do I reduce the number of toys?

Regularly purge toys according to your child’s age or the condition of the toys, and limit the purchase of new toys.

It is hard to pass up the chance to buy new toys, even for us as parents, but we also have to remember that many new toys will earn our children’s interest for only a short period of time. Make a conscious effort to acquire fewer toys throughout the year, especially on Christmas and kids’ birthdays, while focusing on toys that can be used for multiple purposes and have more longevity in your children’s little hands and ever-changing interests.

toy organization

Never let clutter invade your precious home and spike your cortisol level, pulling down your mood and draining your energy. 

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The best toy storage ideas for young children

1. Each toy needs to have a designated place in the room

This will teach your kids how to organize their toys and makes for a quick and easy tidy-up process. Also, they can easily find their toys without help, being less likely to misplace them.

2. Allow extra space rather than filling up a whole bin with toys

When you prepare a storage bin, make sure it is big enough to contain the toys with room to spare, without overfilling. When the storage space is too tight, it can be a hassle to fit all of the toys in, which defeats the purpose of quick access and easy clean-up.

3. Do not use the original package as a storage container 

When you use the original box as storage, it is usually too tight to put the toy back in each time, and the box will not be sturdy enough to keep its shape for long. 

4. Avoid creating too many storage spaces

As counterintuitive as it might sound after the earlier suggestion that the storage should have enough room for the toys, if you create too many spaces for storage, there is a temptation to fill that void, which prompts clutter and more chances to misplace things.

In conclusion, creating a well-organized, clutter-free environment can not only lower the stress level of us parents who already spend too many hours a day cleaning up after our kids, but will also be good for our children’s emotional stability and ability to concentrate. 

Your home has to be a place where the whole family can feel relaxed and rested. Never let clutter invade your precious home and spike your cortisol level, pulling down your mood and draining your energy. 

Regularly decluttering toys and consciously putting in effort to acquire fewer toys while setting up an efficient storage space, can help you to create that clutter-free, cozy home you are wishing for. 

If decluttering sounds like a good idea to you, you might also be interested in reading How to create a capsule wardrobe for kids.

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