Toy organization can be a traumatic experience for any parent. If you've been dealing with Toy clutter by cramming the overflow into your basement or garage you understand the struggle.
At some point you're bound to run out of room and have to start cleaning up toys. It's always better to get a jump on things before it becomes a huge problem.
If you're ready to get started here are 9 tips for decluttering your kids toys and creating a less stressful and more enjoyable play area for them.
When you open up that garage and find yourself staring at a toy mountain it can be intimidating. It's best not to over analyze and just dive right in. Start looking through toys and get rid of anything you can right away.
It can be easier to do this without the kids around, but you might have to deal with a melt down later on if you accidentally throw out a favorite stuffed animal. It's probably better to tackle the project with your kids, but just make sure to move as quickly as possible. You can easily lose hours cleaning up toys if you allow the kids to have veto power on everything. When in doubt, throw it out!
A good rule of thumb for toy organization is to think about the last time you saw your child playing with that toy. If they haven't used it in months, it's probably time for that toy to go.
You may struggle to convince your child that the toy in question should go and that's where a bit of bargaining skill can come in handy. Ask them which toy they're willing to part with instead so that they can keep that doll they don’t seem to be willing to part with.
Chances are they'll come around to your way of thinking when they realize they play with their other toys more. If it's taking a bit too long to deal with any one item, create a maybe pile that you can go back to once the rest of the clutter is dealt with.
A great way to organize your decluttering project is to use bins for different categories. You can have one bin for the toys you are keeping, another bin for the maybe pile and another for everything you're clearing out.
It's easier to keep everything straight if you keep everything separated and bins are probably the best way to do it. Anything that does end up in the discard pile should be given to loved ones or donated as long as it's still in good shape. Just because a child has outgrown a toy, doesn't mean that there isn't another child that would love to give it a happy home.
Don't spend too much time on broken toys. If they can't be easily fixed, toss them out. This can be tough if it's a favorite, but broken toys can put your child's safety at risk. Try to explain this to them as diplomatically as possible and move on to the next item.
There's no doubt that it's hard to convince kids to part with their things. It's also a great learning opportunity for them. If you can get your kids actively involved with your toy organization and decluttering project it can be a big win.
It can help them learn some important lessons on decision making and help them to value their toys more. Next time when it's time for some decluttering things will likely go a lot easier because of the lessons learned.
The last thing you want after a major toy clearout is to have to do it all over again in 6 months. Now's the time to get organized and the best way to do that is to use storage bins. You can create a bin for each category of toy and label it clearly so that your kids can easily find what they're looking for.
Using storage bins for toy organization can help to prevent creeping clutter from overwhelming your home again. Make it clear to each child that toys have to be stored in the right bin and when they're full, no new toys until some older ones are thrown out or donated.
Another great option is to expand on the storage bin idea by rotating toys on a seasonal basis. You can organize summer toys in one bin and winter toys in another. As the seasons change you can bring one bin out of storage and place the out of season bin out of the way.
This is a great way to keep your kids happy. Chances are they'll have forgotten about some of their favorites when you bring them out and it will feel like they're getting a new toy.
With some good planning you can make sure you never have to do a major decluttering operation again. A great place to start is by setting toy limits. When the toy bins are full, make it clear that there can't be any new ones until some room is cleared for them.
You might have some initial pushback, but over time your kids will understand the importance of setting limits. They'll learn a good lesson and you'll have less clutter in your home. Win win!
Our final tip is to encourage toy sharing. While it's tempting to buy one of each for everyone it isn't the best idea. Convincing kids to share isn't always easy, but it's a lesson worth teaching and it's one more way to keep the clutter at bay.