We love our kids and we want them to be happy, right? With the best intentions, most parents think that buying insane amount of toys is the way to do that. But, it’s a trap! Toys have a way of building up and taking over your whole house until you’re dealing with a major toys overload.
That was me, by the way! I was “most parents”. Lol!
I didn’t realize it until the house was overflowing with naked Barbie dolls, wooden blocks, broken parts, and hundreds of Legos. The kids were bored and the house was in disarray. It seems that the more toys they have, the less they actually play.
With my toddlers, I noticed 2 main problems of toys overload:
- They don’t fully appreciate each toy because there are so many other toys to play with. Kids are easily overwhelmed with choice and it seems that they are “distracted” with all the stuff in front of them. They go from one toy to another in about 1 minute.
- They don’t take care of their toys. I guess they don’t value each toy because there is always a replacement close by.
When we’ve accepted that we were dealing with a full-on toys overload, we finally decided to do something about it. After a few trial and errors, we’ve finally found a system that works for us. I’m happy to share them with you!
6 Tips to Declutter Kids’ Toys
1. Sort and Categorize
Collect ALL the toys and put them in one place. You’ll be surprised to see the amount of toys you already have. By having all their toys in one place, you can now start sorting them out by categories. I usually group my kids’ toys in these categories:
- Cars, Airplanes, Trains, Trucks, Motorcycles, and everything with wheels
- Dolls, characters, and accessories
- Kitchen Toys, Dining Sets, and Tea Sets
- Legos and Mega Blocks
- Wooden Blocks, Wooden Toys, Wooden Letters and Numbers, and Puzzles
- Books, Arts, Crafts, and Tools
- Outdoors – ball, swimming gear, beach toys, kite, etc.
- Broken Toys, Uncategorized Toys, and Toy Parts
My kids are young and when I first tried sorting their toys, I included them in the process. However, it was difficult to categorize and organize everything when they are simultaneously playing with the toys. After I put all the Legos in the basket, my sons throws them all out making sure every single piece is on the floor. Naloka ako!
So, when organizing toys, I just find time to go through them alone.
2. Donate or Toss
Take all the toys in the Broken, Uncategorized, and Toy Parts category — these are the toys which you will either donate or throw out. Let’s face it, we can’t hold on to each and every toy that we have. Giving away or throwing out toys is part of the decluttering process. Just think that these rarely used toys can make another kid happy.
If you’re worried that your kids will miss these toys, hold on to the box for 2 weeks. Hide it in the garage or closet, somewhere the kids can’t find. If you have to get something from that box, then you’ll know that it’s a loved toy and you can put that back in the mix. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that those toys can now be donated or tossed out.
3. Toy Rotation
Playing with the same toys over and over again can become dull. Keep things interesting by establishing a toy rotation. Start with storing 60% to 70% of their toys. Change the toys which are available for play every week. This way, there are new and exciting toys to play with every week!
Also, they will definitely look for their favorites. Well, there’s no problem in having “permanent toys”. Besides, our goal is for them to appreciate and take care of each toy. By remembering and missing a favorite toy, we have achieved our goal. Job well done!
4. Books on Display
Bookshelves are nice when you’re organizing your “adult” books. But, for kids’ books, bookshelves don’t actually work because only the sides are visible. From what I’ve observed with my kids, they tend to grab books more often when they can see the picture on the cover.
I’m planning to invest in a kids’ book rack like the one below to encourage my kids to read. It holds the books face forward to keep their favorite titles on display and makes it easy for them to choose what they want to read.
5. Quality Over Quantity
As parents, we need to choose toys wisely. Don’t buy 10 low-quality plastic toys which will be broken after a few days of playing. This will only add up to the pile of clutter in your home as the kids won’t play with them again. Instead, choose one toy which is made of safe, quality materials that will last for years!
Choose toys which will develop their imagination and creativity. For instance, my son loves his wooden blocks. He stacks them; lines them up; he even pretends it’s a car or an airplane. The blocks can be anything he wants it to be. Whereas, a toy excavator will always be a toy excavator.
For my daughter, she loves her dolls. She loves role playing and demands that I play with her. It’s a good opportunity to spark her imagination and her communication skills. This past few months, her imagined scenarios has become more creative… and dramatic too! Lol!
6. Maintain the System
When you’re done sorting, organizing, and cleaning, you’re not actually done yet. That’s just the beginning! Decluttering your kids’ toys is not a one-time thing. If you stop here, the clutter will start piling up again and before you know it, toys overload… again!
It’s a continuing process which you should do daily. This is a great opportunity to teach the kids how to clean up their toys. Make it a fun daily routine! My kids and I sing the Clean Up Song while picking stuff up and putting them in the basket. That way, the experience is enjoyable and doesn’t feel like “work”.
However, don’t stress out if your kids don’t want to participate. They’re kids! They will happily help you clean up one day and totally ignore you the next day. It’s normal. My kids are like this too. Just be consistent so that they see and realize that cleaning up should be a daily routine.
One bonus tip!
When buying a new toy, ask yourself if it will fit in any of the categories you already have. Otherwise, that toy will just probably end up in the uncategorized toys bin…. and will be thrown out eventually.
That’s it! I hope this helps you with your toys overload crisis!
Until next time,