When you have kids, toys can seem to take over your whole house. Regularly decluttering your children’s toys is the only way to curb the chaos. Read on for my top tips for decluttering toys the easy way, and saving your sanity while you are at it.
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Schedule Your Decluttering
Find a block of time in your calendar and schedule in your decluttering session. Do not underestimate how long it will take and allow a few hours where possible. This is probably not a task that you are looking forward to, so booking it into your diary and making it a non negotiable is a great way to avoid procrastinating.
Know What You Are Trying To Achieve
As with any task we dread, knowing why we are doing it makes it far easier to bear and keep us motivated. Here are some benefits of decluttering your child’s toys that are worth keeping in mind;
- You are creating space for them to play
- You are helping them rediscover what they have
- Reduced clutter will make your home easier to keep tidy
Plan Your Storage
The aim, after your toy decluttering, is for your children to have organised toys that they can access and put away easily. So before you start your decluttering, you have to know where the newly organised toys will live and exactly how much space you have.
I’m a big fan of the kallax shelves from IKEA with the Drona boxes slot into them, as they are absolutely ideal for toy storage. If you decide upon this (or any other system), have an idea before you begin of exactly how many slots you have available, and then you’ll know exactly how much decluttering you will have to do to make your child’s mountains of toys fit neatly.
Keep Away From Children
While I am normally a huge advocate for getting children involved in helping around the house, especially when it comes to tidying away their own toys, decluttering is an exception to this rule.
The reason that I personally don’t get my children involved in decluttering toys, is that suddenly remember that they really need that half a rubber, doll with a leg missing and baby toy that they haven’t looked at for years. In short, my children (and chances are yours are the same) will want to hang on to all of the things.
Part of decluttering is being ruthless and parting with toys that no lo ger serve tour family in order to make the most of ones that do. It’s your call, but I’d highly suggest leaving your children out of your decluttering mission.
Pick Your Entertainment
Spoiler alert; decluttering is super boring and is often a marathon not a sprint. I’d highly recommending some form of media to keep you company and help you pass the time. Find a show on Netflix (just make sure it’s one that you can get away with only half watching), listen to an audiobook or pop on a podcast. Another way to pass the time as you tackle this task is to call a friend and speak to them via wireless headphones as you work.
Tip It All Out
As you’ll see from the video below, one of my top tips for decluttering toys is to tip it all out. I know, this makes the whole process seem daunting, but there is method in my madness so hear me out.
The hardest part of decluttering is getting started. Chances are, if you open a drawer / cupboard / toy box and do not immediately tip the contents out, you’ll think “oh I cannot face this” and close the drawer / cupboard / toy box immediately. Tipping the contents of the mess out leave you only one option – to sort it out!
Sort Into Five Categories
Now, it’s time to declutter! We will be sorting the toys into 5 categories. You can use washing baskets, buckets boxes or large reusable shopping baskets to do your sorting. Have one place to put each of the following categories;
- Keep – toys that are intact, can be reunited with other items in the set and that your children will still play with.
- Store – toys that your children will play with, but not yet. Maybe they are hand me down toys or maybe for toy rotation (more on that in a minute).
- Sell – toys worth selling to generate some extra cash
- Donate – to friends, charity or your child’s school
- Recycle – things to be recycled
- Bin – non-recyclable things that are not worth keeping or donating.
Sort Toys Back Into Sets
Even if you use my recommended “one box out at a time” rule, where one set of toys is to go away before another is brought out, chances are toys will still get mixed up. Over time, this results in having incomplete sets of everything. You will have a tea set with no tea pot, a puzzle with missing pieces and dolls without shoes or clothes. Your decluttering session is the perfect time to rediscover what you children actually have by putting toys that go together back together.
For example, when I had a huge sort out and declutter of my children’s toys, I collected play food that had been strewn all over the house and gathered it all together. The play food is all now living in the toy kitchen. While they used to barely every play with it, they now spend hours playing cooking and cafes and restaurants as all of the play food is together and feeds their imaginations.
Categorise By Age
This is especially important if you have more than one child. Sort out toys that your children have grown out of, ready to store for another child or donate for another family to enjoy.
Sell Sell Sell
Decluttering can be an excellent way to make some extra cash. I’d always recommend decluttering before Christmas and birthdays when your children are likely to have an influx of new things. Decluttering and finding things to sell that your children no longer need is an excellent way to part fund these potentially expensive events.
Find A Worthwhile Cause To Donate To
Getting rid of your children’s toys can be an emotional experience. I find that having a worthwhile cause to pass things onto can turn a potentially sad time into a positive experience.
Find a friend with children younger than yours who you know will appreciate the toys or donate them to a charity close to your heart. I always like to donate toys to my children’s school. I like the idea or sending their nice things back into the school that has taken care of them and the though of new children coming through and enjoying the toys.
If you are not practicing toy rotation, it’s a habit you need to adopt immediately. You quite simply keep a limited number of sets of your child’s newly organised an decluttered toys out and accessible to them and place the rest of the organised sets into storage. It could be the attic, the garage or a high shelf, but keep them out of your child’s sight.
Then every week or two (depending upon the attention spans of your children), put away a set of toys that they are getting a little tired of and bring a new set out of storage. The “new” toys coming out or storage will be like brand new toys and your children will experience more exciting and engaging quality play.
The key to decluttering is to do it regularly. The more often you do it, the easier it becomes. As your children grow and their preferences change, decluttering and organising their toys will mean that they have a healthy amount of age appropriate toys, plus the space to play with them.