I’m sorry that I didn’t post this last Sunday, as I said I would. I’m not gonna lie – I completely forgot! I always have so much stuff on my to-do list, I never seem to be able to get everything completed. I need to work on that.
Week one – de-clutter your toys.
If you have children, you know how easy it is for their toys to take over your entire home. When I was pregnant, I always said I would never let Elliott have toys anywhere but in his bedroom. HA! Now, they are not only in his bedroom, but also the living room, office and even our master bedroom.
Right now he is allowed to have toys up in his room, and a few larger toys in the living room (he has a ride-in car, a play table and some books). There are no small toys allowed in the living room, because Elliott likes to throw those over the baby gate and into the basement (which is not a fun surprise when you go downstairs to do laundry).
Step #1 – Everything Out
Like any organizing activity, the very first thing that needs to be done is to take everything out of containers and off of shelves and put them all in one spot so you can look through everything.
It’s also a good idea to wipe down all of the toys, as well as the shelves and storage containers. You can throw many small toys in the top rack of your dishwasher, so that you don’t have to wash them all by hand.
Step #2 – Make Your Piles
I always have 4 piles when organizing: keep, sell/donate, garbage, belongs elsewhere. You can have these as sections on the floor, or boxes. Whatever works for you. I tend to use the floor, but that’s only because I’m lazy sometimes and don’t feel like going to look for boxes.
Step #3 – Dig In & Separate
Now comes the hard part – getting rid of things. It’s best to involve your children with this part of the process, if they are old enough to help you make decisions. It’s never a good idea to just get rid of things without asking your child(ren) if it is okay, because you never really know if they love a particular item or not – unless you ask them.
When your child picks up an item, ask them the following questions:
Do you play with it often?
Do you love it?
If the answer is yes to either one of those questions, put the item into the “keep” pile. If your child answers no to both of those questions, it is time to say goodbye to that toy. Decide whether you want to sell or donate the item, and then put it in the respective pile.
Repeat this process until all of the toys have been looked at.
Step #4 – Organize
Whether you have a bunch of storage bins, a bookshelf or just a big toybox – it needs to be organized. Toys that are not organized do not get played with often, because the child can never see it. Many things get forgotten because it has been sitting at the bottom of a giant, messy bin for months.
I’m a big fan of small bins and boxes. They create boundaries and leave a feeling of calm. Having your childs’ toys in 10 smaller bins with labels, instead of one large bin, looks much more attractive. Not only that, but it’s alot easier to put things away when you know where they go.
If you don’t have a label maker, that’s okay! Create your own labels with some blank paper, a marker and tape.
Don’t think that bookshelves are only for books. You can put bins on them as well! Books on one shelf, bins with toys on another, etc. If you live in a small home, this is a great way to store your child(ren)’s toys without taking a whole bunch of floor space.
An idea of the types of things you can store in bins: LEGO or Mega Bloks pieces, small books, blocks, alphabet letters, play food & cutlery, small cars & trucks.
Step #5 – Explain The System
Once you have finished organizing and putting all of the toys away, explain to your child what you did and why you did it. Let them know that it’s important to keep their toys clean and organized so that they can enjoy all of the things that they do have. When things are cluttered and toys are buried, they are not being played with and enjoyed.
If they can read, show your child the labels and remind them to put their toys back where they belong when they are finished playing with them. It may be a good idea to have a daily “toy clean-up” time, perhaps right before bed.
That way, every morning they will wake up and know exactly where their toys are and they can immediately get the toy(s) that they want, without having to hunt for them.
Those are my tips for de-cluttering your toy collection. Next week I am going to show you how I did, and post the next de-cluttering challenge.
If you de-clutter your toys this week, please post in the comments and let everyone know how & what you did. We could all use some inspiration!
More from this series: De-Clutter Your Home