How to Downsize and Organize Kids Toys
Tips for Organizing the Kids Toys
Does your house look like a tornado just blew through that left toys scattered everywhere? Honestly, when my kids were younger, the family room and their bedrooms were littered with toys that seemed to be taking over the entire house.
I liked knowing my children had a safe place to play and have fun in the house, but it can get out of control and overwhelming. Just thinking about cleaning up and knowing within the next two hours, the area I just cleaned will need to be picked up again.
When toys are left out, it not only creates stress because of the mess, but it can be dangerous as well. I have tripped and stepped on my fair share of toys, and it’s not fun.
Below are some ideas for organizing, purging and downsizing the toys in your home.
When to Keep, Toss, or Give Away a Toy
There was a point when we had to start asking ourselves questions about the toys the kids had. The kids weren’t necessarily spoiled but the toys just kept piling up.
When new toys came into the house – the old ones stayed. We really needed to talk with the kids and get them involved in going through their toys and decide what stayed and what we could donate or toss.
Some of the questions that should be considered in this process are:
- When was the last time the kids played with this toy?
- Is this toy damaged and/or unsafe to have around?
- Was this toy a special gift and does it have sentimental value?
- Has this toy been outgrown and has no real significance?
- Really? We have two of these?
What Toys can be Thrown Away?
This might be the easiest of things to do. Get a large container or bag to hold the toys you’re tossing. Go through toys and games with the kids and pick out all the broken toys, anything with missing pieces, books that are damaged and so on.
Put these all in the container then set it aside and be sure to let the kids know what a great job they did helping to look for the broken toys.
What Toys Should be Kept or Donated?
This step is going to be hard. Keep your cool and be the loving parents you are. You can use a Keep Container and a Donate Container or if you have lots and lots of toys, just make a couple of piles. These should be toys that are still in decent condition, but aren’t played with anymore.
Toys to be Donated or Sold
If the kids have outgrown toys and you know they haven’t touched it in months these toys should go in the donate container. There is no need to unnecessarily keep them.
You can explain to the kids that some child who is not as lucky to have these toys would be so happy to be able to play with it until they grow out of it. That they are passing on the joy of a toy. I always found once the kids understood the joy of passing the toys on, they were a bit more eager to help with the donate process.
Now some toys we figured we could make a little money on and today with Facebook and Offer Up and the like, we can take a picture, post the item and sell them in a relatively short period of time. You make enough and the whole family can go out for dinner and ice cream. That’s a win in my book!
What Toys to Keep
If toys are regularly played with and offer fun entertainment, are encouraging the kids to be creative, learn and use their imagination, these are always keepers. Board games, books and putting on shows with dress up costumes were always good for family time.
I know me and the kids had hours and years of fun with Legos, plastic horses, painting, matchbox cars, kitchen playsets, etc.
My sisters and I all had kids of various ages so I did keep a container of items that were age appropriate for when they came to visit.
You may have toys or stuffed animals that hold a special meaning or memory. If this is the case but the kids don’t play with them, maybe they can be kept on a shelf up out of the way. Maybe they will become part of a family tradition to be passed on and enjoyed with the next generation?
Organizing the Toys
Now that you and the kids have gone through and decided what needs to be done with their toys, it’s time to get them organized.
There are so many ways to get organized. There are closet organizers, sturdy clear stackable containers, shelves of all sizes and styles, under the bed storage units, basket organizers, hanging hammocks for the stuffed animals – the list is a long one.
I remember using cute storage drawers for my daughters. We labeled the drawers with pictures of the toys that were inside. If your child is learning how to read, you can also use a large font that is easy to read. We had ours broken down into Barbie dolls, Play-Doh, crafts, and there was one that would change with whatever toy she was obsessing over.
How you organize the kid’s toys may depend on your needs and your personal style but the options are kind of endless.
Get the Kids Involved with Cleaning Up the Toys
When you’ve picked the way in which to keep the toys organized, you need to create a system that is age appropriate for the kids to help you put them back when they are finished playing with them.
Maybe a half hour before nap time or bedtime is when you decide toys should be put away – neatly and nicely.
After going through all the toys you’re keeping, keep an eye on what is getting used the most. If some things are hit and miss but do offer engaging game play or learning experiences and the kids have shown interest, think about rotating some of these with the toys that are played with over and over again. It might be like getting a new toy for them.
Managing Kids Toys
So how do you manage the toys that eventually make their way into the house? Well. One of the first things you can do is talk to the grandparents.
Talk with the Grandparents
I personally can’t wait to have grandkids and spoil them but I have many friends that do have grandchildren and they have been asked by the parents not to bring new toys with them when they come to visit. Birthdays, holidays, and special occasions are fine.
New Toy In – Old Toy Out
Christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions are when the bulk of new toys come into the house. If you’ve kept an eye on which toys are not played with, maybe you can set them aside somewhere and when new toys come in, get the toys that weren’t played with and donate or sell them.
Re-assessing the Toy Situation
Every few months or so, you and the kids should assess the toy situation. Show them the toys you know they don’t touch much. Have the conversation again about how they can make another child happy with the toys they haven’t used or even the possibility of selling the toy and adding the funds to their piggy bank. It’s up to you how you go about it but re-assessing the toys should be done.
These are just some ideas that might help you out. I’m sure you’ll figure out a system that works for you to help keep the toy clutter down.