Tips for Purging Your Kids’ Toys

So. Many. Toys. Here’s how you can make a dent in those piles in your home.

By: Amanda Mushro

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Photo by: charlie schuck

charlie schuck

Between gifts, the holidays, and birthdays, it doesn’t take long for your kids to accumulate too many toys. If it feels like their toys are taking over your home, then it’s time to declutter and purge. Not only will less toys in your space help you feel less anxious and overwhelmed, but limiting the number of toys is actually better for your kids. Research shows that when children have less toys, they get more creative, find new ways to explore and play with those toys, and play for longer periods.

All of this sounds great, right? However, if you aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got a few tips to help.

1. Watch Before Your Start
Keep a close eye on the toys that your kids actually play with and how they play with those toys. If they pick a toy up and play with it for a minute or never play with the toy, you know that one has to go. However, if they have a toy they play with all the time, it’s a keeper.

2. Narrow Down the Area or Type of Toys
Even if you’re feeling very ambitious, tackling all of your kids’ toys at once can be difficult and you’re more likely to be successful if you organize one area or type of toy. For instance, start with games or plush toys.

3. Set a Timer
If you have a large chunk of time to organize, great! If you don’t, give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to take on the toys. You’ll make progress in decluttering and the timer will help you move faster so you don’t waste too much time on one area.

4. Make Four Piles
Before you start putting toys away (or covering them up so you don’t have to look at them), put everything into four different piles:

  • Keep
  • Toss
  • Donate
  • Maybe

Sorting into these four categories will help you make sense of the clutter while you declutter. Once you’ve wrapped up, you can revisit the "Maybe" pile and see if you've uncovered missing pieces, or decide if your kids will really play with that toy.

5. Designate Specific Areas in Your Home for Toys
Instead of letting toys creep into every corner of your home, try to keep toys in one place. If that’s a playroom or a shared space like a family room, pull the toys from any other space and add them to the piles that have to be purged.

6. Keep Your Kids in Mind When You Put Toys Away
Instead of creating elaborate systems for organizing toys, opt for bins and boxes that are easy for your kids to use. This way, when it’s time to clean up, they can actually help. Otherwise, you’ll quickly be back with too much clutter.

7. Change the Way You Buy
Once you’ve got a handle on your kids' toys, don’t let too many creep back into your home. Be mindful of buying new toys or accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family. When it’s time for your child to receive gifts, be precise on what you think your kids will play with and what you have room for in your home. Offer up suggestions like experiences (a trip to the zoo or a class your child can take) instead of new toys.

8. Organize Before It Gets Out of Hand
Make decluttering and organizing your children's toys an activity that you do every few weeks or months. Add it to your cleaning rotation so it doesn't get out of hand and becomes quick and easy.


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