Hello, welcome and congratulations, you’ve just stumbled upon the easiest way to declutter kids toys that ever existed.
Is that an over exaggeration? A humble brag? Please try my method and then tell me how it works for you!
Overwhelmed With Toys
I had to come up with a fast way to get rid of excess toys because I was, quite simply, overwhelmed.
One can only step on so many tiny plastic parts or find so many puzzle pieces stuffed in the couch cushions before one goes insane, after all.
Of course I’m kidding (sort of), but seriously though when did it become a thing for each child to have enough toys to outfit an entire Toys R Us (if such a store still existed).
Let’s be honest… being a minimalist with kids is hard. It’s so challenging I wrote an entire 2000+ word article dedicated to overcoming the kid stuff monster. I’m going to be bold here and say having an excess amount of kids belongings to manage is a heck of a lot harder than getting rid of a few (hundred) toys.
Benefits To Decluttering Kids Toys
Need a little encouragement in your decluttering journey? Here are a few benefits to focus on as you embark upon decluttering your kids toys:
- With less to manage, you’ll have more quality time to spend with your kids
- Your kids will naturally spend more time in nature with less toys
- You can curate an inventory of a few awesome, quality toys instead of cheap junk
- Your home will be easier to manage, and more organized and peaceful
- Your kids will actually be more content with LESS stuff!
How Many Toys Should A Child Have?
First, let’s address the stuffed elephant in the room… how many toys does this kid need anyway? If you were to ask my son, the question would probably be, but how many toys can fit into this room?
The truth of the matter is, the LESS toys your child has, the better off his imagination is!
Think I’m joking or just trying to win brownie points with you? Check out this article on the psychological benefits of limiting toys.
And I quote, “A study from the University of Toledo in Ohio suggests “an abundance of toys present reduced quality of toddlers’ play.”
So the answer to the question, how many toys does my kid need? Is less. Your child needs less toys! (And the crowd goes wild!).
So with a mom high five of solidarity, I say it’s high time we do our kids a favor and declutter some of these creativity draining toys.
As a side note, my kids seem to be OBSESSED with one “toy”. They fight incessantly over them and create countless adventures out of them… it’s the good old fashioned cardboard box. Yes, my friends, the coveted toy around this place is the beloved cardboard box.
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Rules For Decluttering Toys
I am going to keep this simple because I know like most moms you’ve got more than one plate spinning. Or more than one toy recklessly being thrown round the house, as it may be. You don’t need a million rules to think about as you declutter your kids toys. You just need 3.
Three Rules For Decluttering Toys:
- Rule #1 If it’s played with regularly and in good condition, keep the toy. If the toy is broken, discard it. If it’s not played with but in good condition, move to rule #2.
- Rule #2 If a toy is highly sentimental, keep it! If it it’s not played with AND it’s not sentimental, move to rule #3.
- Rule #3 If the toy is NOT played with and NOT sentimental, drop that toy like a hot potato head.
Whew, that is simple, isn’t it!? But is it really that easy in practice? We will go through each rule in depth to really help you get a grasp on decluttering your kids toys.
A Note On Duplicate Toys: In most cases, you do not need duplicate toys. If you received two light bright sets at Christmas, save one to gift later in the year. Or, return it for that much sought after yet rare childhood commodity… cold hard cash.
Sometimes the entire problem of having too many toys can be resolved just by getting rid of duplicates!
Rule 1: When A Toy Is Played With And In Good Condition, Keep It
Going deeper into rule #1, feel free to keep the toys your children already play with and that are in good condition.
I have found over the years that the toys that my children actually love to play with over and over again (and that stay in good shape), are relatively few.
Magna Tiles are one of the few toys that have lasted years and are used frequently, so those make the cut. They are also durable and open ended, meaning that they kids can use their creativity to use them for many different types of play!
Cheap plastic toys that they kids are sometimes given or buy with money they earn often break right away. We are in the habit of discarding those immediately, which really helps keep toy clutter down.
If a toy is broken but still played with, considering replacing it. You can put this toy on birthday and Christmas lists, and buy a newer, updated version of it!
My boys are very hard on toys, so we end up throwing them out frequently. Often, I will watch a toy go through an intense process of use before discarding.
For example, my son received an Air Rocket Kit for his birthday. He took it to the back yard and played with it constantly for 2 weeks. By the time he was done playing with it, it was pretty much trash and I discarded it. And that is the story of life with boys, ha!
Rule #2: If A Toy Is Highly Sentimental, Keep It
If a toy is highly sentimental, feel free to keep it. Limit yourself and be very particular in what you keep to cut down clutter!
These cute bat puppets were from my childhood. They take little space and go along with the wonderful book Stellaluna. They are treasured by both my children and I, simply because they are a remnant from my childhood.
The key to keeping sentimental toys is to make sure they are kept in good condition, and to limit your inventory. I have a few toys I will always keep from when my daughter was a baby, but I had to force myself to let go of a couple that were unused, unloved, and just taking up space.
I tend to get emotionally attached to the memories of toys, so it helps to tell myself, I can’t keep everything, but I can keep a few wonderful keepsakes to remember that time.
Tips For Sentimental Toys
- Limit yourself to a small box. Consider donating excess quality sentimental toys to a church nursery, knowing that they will get further use and love.
- Let your children play with your old toys, and discard them when worn out, knowing that they fulfilled their purpose and were well loved
- If you feel deeply attached to toys, journal about the memories you have and take a few photos. Remember that it is the good times and connection with your children that your heart may be grieving. Give yourself the space to do so through journaling or scrapbooking.
Rule #3: Get Rid Of Toys That Are Not Used And Not Keepsakes
Here is where the magic happens! You will have many, many toys that fall under this category. These toys are not used and are also not keepsakes. They may not be broken, but they are taking up space in your home.
As you go through the process of decluttering your toys, keep a donation box close by. Fill this up with all the toys that are not used and in good condition.
Find a worthy charity to donate these quality used toys to, like a church nursery or an ethical thrift shop.
Now that you have the three rules for decluttering toys down, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions!
Toy Minimalism: What Do I Keep?
Still confused on what to keep with you are trying to become a toy minimalist? Here a few very easy tips on toy minimalism:
- Keep a toy inventory you can manage
- Keep only what is played with
- Limit your toy keepsake collection
- Keep quality toys that are not broken
What Are The Best Tips For Purging Toys?
When purging toys, keep a box next to you for donations and a plastic bag that trash can go straight into. If your kids are not used to seeing you get rid of toys, you may need to find a time when they are not in the room for you to do productive toy purging.
Commit to designated, planned times to declutter kid’s toys. I typically do this task quarterly.
Keep toys that are in good condition and well loved!
How To Store Toys To Reduce Clutter
One of the BEST tips for staying on top of minimalism with your kids toys is to develop solid storage systems for your toys.
Don’t add storage to accommodate more toys. Instead, purge toys to keep the toy inventory levels the same.
I have 3 “zones” for kid toys. This has worked out wonderfully, because I know that when those toy zones overfloweth it’s time to declutter!
Reduce Kids Toys To Reduce Stress!
You will probably feel some inner resistance as you begin your journey decluttering your kids toys. Getting rid of toys can bring up a lot of memories and emotions! Try to remember that reducing kids toys reduces stress for everyone.
With less to manage, you’ll have more time to focus on loving your kids and spending quality time with them. In the end, this is the most beautiful and important gift you can give them.