Overwhelmed by the toys in your home? Here are 6 easy tips for organizing kids’ toys without stress!
Toys. The bane of my existence.
When our first daughter was born, friends and family generously gifted her many toys and hand-me-downs. As a first-time mom, I felt slightly overwhelmed (ok, very overwhelmed) and it was hard to deal with all of the toys and items and then not to know how many to keep or what kinds (and how to organize them!).
I sometimes struggled with guilt and fear – wanting my daughter to have the best and most exciting toys and worried that she might miss out if I didn’t have as many as possible.
But having so many toys made it hard to organize and keep a clean house!
Related: how to keep a clean home with little kids
Then, I came across this study which suggests that when young children have fewer toys they focus better and play more creatively.
Since my 2nd daughter was born, I have worked at limiting my girls’ toys and keeping things organized. Here are some of my tips that you can use for organizing kids’ toys.
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1. Purge toys
The first thing to do (and, honestly, to continue to do on a regular basis) is to get rid of things your kids don’t use. Things like:
- broken toys
- toys with missing parts
- items they’ve outgrown or don’t play with anymore
Every month or so I do a quick inventory of all of our toys and donate things that my kids don’t play with or have outgrown.
This is the best way to keep items from piling up. Having too many items can be overwhelming (not just for your kids!).
Related: 4 things you save when you declutter
2. Use the same storage containers
Having the same storage containers for all of your toys helps make your areas look nice and crisp and makes them easy to open for your little children.
We have a cube organizer similar to this one and matching soft bins.
I made sure that all of our small toys fit within this organizer – this is one way that we limit the total number of toys. My girls also have a small kitchen set in their room and a simple wooden toy box and that’s it.
We do have a small bookshelf where we keep board and card games, but it’s kept in a storage room (too many small pieces for my 2-year-old).
All of our dolls and stuffed animals live on top of the cube organizer or in the toy box.
3. Rotate toys
After you have purged and placed toys in similar containers, take 2-3 small-medium bins/containers and place toys in them to keep in the closet or storage room for toy rotation.
I have these large clear containers with lids and they work great. I can see the contents and the lids are very easy to pop on and off.
Not only does this save space and keep fewer toys out in the home, but this is SO helpful for rainy days or days when you need to regain some sanity.
I started when my oldest was about 18 months. My girls are now 4 and 2 and this works wonders.
Our place is clean and easy to organize and I can bring out a “new” bin on a rainy (or hard) day and my girls get so excited by their “new” toys – usually keeping them busy for at least an hour!
Then, I gather toys from their playroom and place them in the bin and back in the closet where my kids will forget about them until the next rotation!
Having a few bins of toys in the closet means that only about half of all the toys we own are actually out in our home at one time.
4. Label bins and shelves
This is a bonus step – not absolutely necessary. My girls are under 4 and can’t read so I don’t actually do this, but I could use picture labels for them.
These cute chalkboard labels can be reused when the contents of the bin change.
Honestly, I’m not super picky about keeping all the contents of the bins organized.
(Clearly, my intention is to have all the farm animals in one bin and the toy food in another, but if almost everything makes it into a bin and things look somewhat organized we’re all happy.)
As they get older and are able to read and keep items in the appropriate spots, I will probably start labeling.
5. Have most toys within easy reach
My 4-year-old can reach nearly anything she needs and this saves me from having to get items for her. I keep puzzles and games and toys with small pieces out of reach so she can use one at a time (and her little toddler sister can’t get at the tiny pieces).
After a week or two, you can observe which toys your kids actually play with and then start over with #1 and donate those that are not favorites.
6. Keep all the toys in one room
Keeping all the toys in one room (bedroom or playroom) means that the rest of the house generally looks neat and clean(ish).
This does not mean that my girls don’t bring toys out during the day, but at the end of the day (and sometimes once in the middle of the day) I’ll take a bucket and gather all the toys and bring them back to their playroom. (And I definitely have them help!) .
Honestly, I don’t care too much about how their playroom looks – they don’t have tons of toys, but even one box of toys thrown around the living room can make things seem cluttery.
Since we’ve decluttered the items we own, clean up is quick and simple.
In fact, I would say that decluttering toys (and other items in our house) is the single most important thing I’ve done to keep my sanity as a new mom (and now a mom with two little kids). I just take a small bucket or container and gather up the toys at the end of the day and set the bucket in the toy room. This usually takes me less than 5 minutes.
Organizing kids’ toys doesn’t have to be hard. Start with purging toys and then gathering the rest into one place. Use similar containers, place some toys aside for rotation and viola! How do you organize your kids’ toys? Please share your tips below!