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Oh. my. gosh. Toy clutter.
Let’s face it. Your home changes when you have kids. As much as you try it seems as though you can’t stop toys from taking over.
Why companies insist on making kids toys out of bold and obnoxious colourful plastic I will never fully understand. However, it is what it is.
You have a kid and all of a sudden your home starts filling up with all colours of the rainbow. And it fills up fast…like really fast.
It is great to have toys for playtime, but they seem to come from all directions and if you’re not careful, they can begin to dominate your home.
I’m all about letting kids be kids but I also love tasteful home decor. How do you strike a balance? Here are my tricks:
How to Get Rid of Toy Clutter and Keep it That Way
#1 Use Storage
The first part of managing toys and preventing them from taking over is to invest in proper storage.
Half of the mess in our homes could be dealt with if we only had decent storage solutions.
I’m a storage geek. Like, I’m the girl you find standing in an aisle of storage containers for 30 minutes just imagining all the options.
Toy Storage Ideas:
Storage makes my life better. It makes cleaning up easier and consequently helps de-clutter my ever (over) thinking mind.
I address toy storage just like any other area of my home. I want it to be aesthetically pleasing, as well as practical. It needs to function well.
My kids are currently 4-years old and 2.5-years old, and 8 months-old.
I’ve tried a few different options, but my favourite by far is just a giant toy chest. Although, mine was originally used as a hope chest. Regardless, it is big enough to fit a decent amount of toys in and looks really nice.
It is also super easy for my kids to clean up.
Another reason it is my favourite is that my kids can’t tip it over. They can only take out a certain amount of toys at a time.
So. much. better.
We use the chest for the majority of toys and then we have a couple of smaller containers to hold my son’s car collection and duplo.
Toys build up quickly. They also get broken, and kids outgrow things. In order to stop toys from taking over, you need to consistently purge.
I tend to purge after birthdays and Christmas. This makes sense because my kids get a whole bunch of nice, new toys and are ready to move on from others.
How many toys do your kids need? Not nearly as many as you think.
Some people like to use a rotation system. I think that’s great, but I’m too lazy to implement it.
Our rule is that the toys have to fit in the toy chest (barring the big stuff like the play kitchen). We biff broken toys and donate ones that aren’t being played with anymore.
I’ve found overtime that I naturally go through the kid’s toys about every 3 months. In all honestly, the act of purging works about as well as a rotation system.
I always have the children help alongside me and as they’re helping they discover toys they had forgotten about.
Purge days always end up with the children playing with their toys moreso than others.
Less is more. In this case, less toys will mean your children will play with the ones they have all the more. And you’ll stop toys from taking over your home in the mean time.
Only Keep What They Love
I know that I’m super guilty of having emotional attachments to toys that I feel as though my children should love.
Here’s the thing though, if they’re not playing with it, they just don’t love it. End of story.
And what you’re left with is clutter, plain and simple.
The one exception is if the toy is just too advanced for them. In that case, it is best to store it until they are older and can appreciate it.
Otherwise, purge, purge, purge!
I got this tip from Kristyn (Lil’ Luna) who shared it on her Insta stories. Personally, I think it is brilliant.
As a rule, we don’t pick up the toys until the end of the day. Otherwise, we’d be doing it all day long.
However, I was finding that it was getting to the end of the day, the kids were in bed, and the toys were still all over the playroom floor.
So, I started implementing Kristyn’s technique and it has worked well.
We set aside a specific time (6:30 pm) that the kids have to go and pick up the toys in their playroom. The kids expect it and understand that it is part of the routine.
It is also easier for me to remember because again, it is just part of the routine. Like so many things, this needed to be intentional or else it just wasn’t going to get done.
** Just a little update on our cleaning-up method. I found our kids were just too tired (and so was I!) to have clean-up time so late in the day.
So, our new routine is that we do the big clean up around 11:30 am just before I get the kid’s lunch.
After lunch is nap time and although they might play with their toys a little in the afternoon, they don’t tend to take out nearly as many.
This strategy is working really well for us and means that the house stays fairly tidy throughout the day.
Those are the tips that have helped to stop toys from taking over our home.
Is my house always tidy? No. Is there the odd obnoxiously bold coloured toy left out now and again? You better believe it!
However, for the most part, our home looks like a family home, not a play centre. 🙂
#4 Rotate Toys
I said before that I’m too lazy to rotate toys, but if you aren’t lazy like me, it is actually a really good system to use.
Honestly, it has been proven to work over and over again.
If you have too many toys for your child to truly appreciate all at once, but they’re not ones that you wish to get rid of, why not put them into rotation?
You can use bins like these and stack them on top of one another or store them in a closet somewhere.
Make a reminder on your phone so that you don’t forget to change things up.
How often you choose to rotate is totally up to you and may depend on how many toys you have out at a time.
It could be anywhere from 1-3 months.
Do what works for you and don’t be afraid to experiment!
#5 Ask for Gifts that are Consumable
Honestly, I never grew up getting a ton of toys because most of my family lived on the other side of the world from me.
I also don’t feel as though I missed out on anything, so that’s saying something.
However, we live close to both sets of my children’s grandparents and we’re often showered with thoughtful gifts.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming and you’re not too sure how to navigate the waters.
If they don’t ask you what to buy your children, then this won’t work for you, but if they are the type that ask, this is the perfect chance to decrease toy clutter!
The gift giving and receiving will still be enjoyable, but you won’t be left trying to figure out what to do with ALL. THE. THINGS.
Why Less is More
It is really difficult to hold back and not shower our children with toys and other fun things.
The reality is though, that children just don’t need it. In fact, they even do better without it.
Think about how overwhelming it is when you’re given a bunch of choices. It takes a lot of time and mental energy to decide which one to choose.
The same happens for your child when they’re met with a room full of toys. Chances are that they’re going to simplify things for themselves by just choosing the same toys that they played with yesterday.
And then there’s the opportunity for their imagination to grow and develop. Toys are great, but they aren’t necessary.
Your child is more than capable of playing with just the simple use of their imagination.
By decluttering and limiting toys, you are simplifying your life AND the life of your child.