Fact: Your kids have about 60% more toys than they actually need… OK, so that’s clearly a made-up statistic, but if you haven’t decluttered the toy room lately, chances are it rings true for you!
If you’re like me, you’ve probably got toys crammed into every nook and cranny. Squished onto bursting shelves. Gathering dust in the bottoms of wardrobes. Taking up three-quarters of your kids’ beds. Covering the ENTIRE floor.
And let’s not talk about the items that aren’t even toys that we all know are lurking in that play room somewhere!
Mama, it might be time to declutter those toys!
Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
But we promise this time there’ll be no kids sobbing in the corner as you obliterate their carefully curated stash of brightly coloured plastic and stuffed animals.
With a smart strategy, toy decluttering doesn’t have to be the parenting equivalent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Check out our simple tips to make your next toy declutter a piece of cake…
5 easy ways to declutter toys
1. Get the kids on board
Chucking out doubled-up Happy Meal toys is one thing, but doing a big toy declutter behind their backs is kind of mean and will add wayyyy too much resistance to the process next time when they realise what’s happened. (And they will.)
Amy Revell, from The Art of Decluttering, tells Mum Central it’s important to involve the kids, especially if you’re decluttering their toys, clothes or games. The trick to doing it ninja-style is to be smart about it.
“Explain why it’s important to declutter and give them choice in the process. If children – or adults for that matter – feel that the decluttering process is ‘stealing’ from them they’ll be reluctant. But if they understand that decluttering is actually giving them back space, enjoyment and money then it’s a positive experience,” Amy says.
So pick a weekend day, let some fresh air in, and tackle it as a team. Be firm where you need to be, and praise them for their maturity as they make tough decisions.
2. Be super organised from the start
Your arsenal: three boxes and a garbage bag
- Keep – These are the precious toys that ain’t going anywhere
- Pass on – The non-broken, good quality toys to friends with younger kids, to charity or sell them. This last option might help convince older kids to let go.
- Store – The exceptionally awesome toys you want to hold onto for future grandkids. Like a wooden train set, quality blocks or a pretty porcelain tea set. This is NOT an excuse to box up every cracked toy or manky stuffed animal that has sentimental value.
- Ditch – Pretty self-explanatory; the broken or well-used toys/ that belong in the garbage bag. If you have a child that HATES to part with anything, a little white lie that the broken bits are recycled into new toys might ease their pain.
Pro tips for getting started:
- Broken toys, toys with missing parts and mass-produced bits of plastic that the world would be better without are prime candidates for the garbage bag. Show no mercy.
- Sell or donate almost-double-ups. A toy that serves a similar function as another toy is a waste of valuable space.
- Getting sentimental? Snap a photo of a toy before popping it in its appropriate receptacle. Nobody’s judging your soft mama heart here.
- For toys going into long-term storage for those future grandchildren, give them a good clean before boxing them up.
Kids giving you some resistance at this point? Amy suggests using containers for the items they keep.
“Rather than telling them they have too many dress ups and need to get rid of some, you could show them the dress up box and ask them to pick their favourites to put in and once the box is full the rest can be donated.”
When all is done and dusted, be sure to ditch that garbage bag of rubbish toys and pass on the crate of donatables ASAP. The longer they sit there, the more likely the kids are to start hunting through them and removing “treasures”.
If you don’t want to be ruthless right away or the kids are resisting, put least favourite toys on a HIGH shelf in the cupboard. make it one that the kids can’t reach. Set yourself a deadline – three months is good. If they don’t ask for the toy in that time, get rid of it without guilt.
3. Store the keepers well
Don’t just stuff the survivors back where they came from. Hunt out awesome toy storage hacks. These 10 incredibly clever Kmart hacks for your kids’ stuff and our 23 Lego storage hacks are a great place to start, and run a “toy storage” search in Pinterest to top it off. Hit up Kmart and invest in colourful crates and pretty baskets, and make the toy room an engaging, inspiring place to play in again.
Once you have everything sorted and stored the way you like, rotate the toys so your kids always have something “new” to play with.
For inspo (and a sweet dose of honesty) check out these before-and-after “perfect” playroom pics.
4. Make it a habit
Future toy declutters might not need to be as hardcore as the first. But it’s important to schedule regular declutters for your sanity’s sake. Amy recommends going through the kids’ toys at least twice a year – “once at Christmas and again near their birthdays. This way kids understand that when new things come in, there is a natural process of older things going out.”
Now go and kick that play room’s butt!
Amy tells us that the benefits of decluttering are huge – for the whole family! “The freedom and joy you feel when your home is free from clutter is significant. Clutter causes stress, increased anxiety/ depression, overwhelm, overspending, uncleanliness, social isolation just to name a few. By being intentional about what you keep in your home and being regular in your decluttering, you’ll set your family up to be happier and more relaxed.”