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31 Days to a Clutter Free Life: Toys (Day 7)

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Day 7: Toys

Anyone who has read my now-infamous post about why I took my kids’ toys away (and why they won’t get them back) probably already knows that I am not a big fan of toys, especially not in excessive quantities.

The truth is that no child needs a whole room full of toys, regardless of whether those toys happen to be expensive name-brand items or fantastic hand-me-down bargains snagged at a neighbor’s yard sale.

Regardless of how much was spent, the result is the same. Kids are overwhelmed by their choices so they take everything out and play with nothing. Do yourself and your family a favor by drastically limiting the number of toys your children own, as well as the number of toys they have access to at any given time, and I promise your life will suddenly become a whole lot easier.

 Objective: A small but purposeful collection of toys and games that your children actually play with, stored in a functional and organized space.

Assess the current situation: What is the current state of your children’s toys? Do they have too many? Are there some toys they never play with? How are they currently stored and organized? What are your biggest clutter struggles when it comes to your kids’ toys? What would you like to change?

DAY 7

{Get Day 7 De-cluttering Checklist here}

Assignment:

1. Bring all toys to one central location to sort. Depending on your kids’ ages and personalities, you may want to involve them in this process.

Keep only toys or games that:

  • Your children play with regularly
  • Are in good condition
  • Are “special” in some way
  • Encourage imaginative and creative play

Do not keep toys or games that:

  • Your children don’t play with
  • Are broken, damaged, or missing key pieces
  • You feel obligated to keep because they were expensive
  • You feel obligated to keep because they were a gift
  • Drive you crazy
  • Cause fights among your children
  • Have a million tiny pieces that constantly end up on the floor

2. Donate unwanted toys and games. Consider giving them to a local thrift shop, church nursery, or daycare facility, or try selling any larger items that may be valuable on Craigslist or Facebook.

3. Create a functional storage area for your remaining toys and games. Be sure to sort them in a way that makes sense and makes them easy to access, and LABEL EVERYTHING! Consider separating the toys into 2-4 different bundles, and then rotate your kids’ access to the different bundles on a weekly or monthly basis. This keeps the quantity of toys out at one time to a minimum and makes all the toys more interesting and exciting for your kids.

 

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 1. Princess Perfection Playroom (PotteryBarnKids.com)
2. Tackle The Toy Mess (ContainerStore.com)
3. Tuck Away Table (PotteryBarnKids.com)
4. Shade of Grey Storage (PotteryBarnKids.com)
5. Plenty Of Room For Play (Ikea.com)

 

12 Comments

  1. October 7 at 04:19PM

    Love this list! My hardest part is that I babysit so its a matter of deciding what toys my kids need then what toys I should keep because the ones I babysit. I hate the clutter but on certain level it seems unavoidable. My kids are 4 & 6, the kids I watch are between 3month-3yr.

  2. October 7 at 04:24PM

    I’m loving this challenge! My hardest part with toys is that we are not done having babies yet (hopefully), so I don’t want to get rid of baby toys that neither of my girls plays with but that I know we’ll want again in the future! I’d love to know what others do in this situation. 🙂

    • October 9 at 12:58PM

      As I had more children, I culled it down to ONLY the top toys: the ones most played with and the ones that I loved to see lying around. Out went most toys (holidays keep coming) and almost all battery-operated toys. What stayed: wooden letter blocks, silver teethers, chalkboard easel, wooden tool bench, wooden doll furniture, only the best books, lincoln logs, legos, Radio Flyer, Playmobil…

      • October 9 at 01:00PM

        I forgot to mention that most large baby toys got the boot. Small handheld toys stayed until we were done having babies

      • October 9 at 04:38PM

        Thanks Heather! The toys I want to keep are the classics as well – ring stacker, shape sorter, etc. Both of my girls tended to play with those more than battery operated toys anyway.

  3. Sam
    October 8 at 08:32AM

    Patiently waiting for Day 8! 🙂

  4. Merri
    October 8 at 10:54AM

    Hi, I’ve just discovered your blog and it’s perfect timing because I’m desperately trying to declutter my house! Toys are one of our biggest struggles. I would love to know how you handle Christmas – both with the gifts you give your children, as well as how you suggest family members gift (if you feel this is appropriate) so that you don’t clutter things up again. Two of our children have December birthdays and the other has a February birthday, so between Christmas and birthdays, I become overwhelmed by all of the new stuff we accumulate during those two months. I do regularly clean out/organize, but it seems I can’t do it fast enough to accommodate the new stuff coming in. And I admit that I do struggle sometimes in knowing what to get rid of. Thanks for your help! 🙂

    • October 9 at 01:07PM

      After years of stressful loads of stuff, our holiday toy onslaught has eased up. I keep an Amazon wishlist for each child that includes what they both like (that is small & uses no batteries!) and what they need. I also suggest useful gifts such as gear, lessons, & daycamp. I have backed off the toys we as parents give- switching over to needed items, handmade items, and just less.

  5. October 18 at 02:36PM

    My kids and I are constantly cleaning out our playroom and making donation boxes. I honestly have no idea how we start to accumulate so many toys so often. Every birthday or holiday I tell our friends and family to get 1 small gift or put money into their savings account for the future. But, it never fails and we end up with a whole pile of new toys. Dont get me wrong, my boys LOVE it but it is just impractical.

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