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Recently, I was asked how I deal with the overload of toys that seem to accumulate when you have kids. My answer was simple – I go through all of our toys every few months and donate what the kids don’t play with any more.
Are you in the same boat? Are you drowning in toys at your house with no end in sight? Well look no further, I have put together a list of action steps for you to get the endless sea of toys under control.
Three Steps to Reclaiming Control Over the Toys in Your House
Step One – The Big Toys
Figure out which “big toys” your child doesn’t play with anymore. These are the toys that don’t fit into any storage (think kitchen play set, tricycle, play tables, etc.). These types of toys tend to take up a lot of space in whatever room that they are housed in. If your child has no interest in playing with them anymore, donate it! It will make your space feel so much more open if the big bulky toys are no longer in the room.
Step Two – Storage System
Decide on what storage system you are going to use for the toys that you intend on keeping. Ideally, you want something that has multiple storage bins of different sizes. One option is this type of storage unit. This is a good choice for a play room or your child’s room. They also make them with character designs to match your child’s interests.
Another option for toy storage is to use covered storage bins like these ones. These types of storage bins are ideal for toys that you keep in your living room or family room as these storage bins tend to be more neutral, therefore feeling more cohesive with your room design.
Perhaps it is best for your household to use both types of storage bins. Figure out what system(s) you want to use in your home.
Step Three – The Nitty Gritty
Once you have gotten rid of the big bulky toys and have a storage system in place, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty. Now is the time to set a chuck of time (at least an hour, maybe more, depending on how many toys your kids have) to go through every single toy and decide what toys your kids do play with and what toys your kids don’t play with.
The toys that your kids do play with, give them a home in the storage unit that you have set up now.
Some tips for putting the toys into the storage unit:
- Do not over fill each storage bin. The idea is to have them close and not see any of the toys so that it looks cleaner.
- Store things that are alike together. Keep all of the arts and crafts in one bins, all of the blocks and Legos together, etc.
For the toys that your kids don’t play with anymore, you have a couple different options.
Option 1: Trash them. If the toy is broken or so warn out, then your best option is to throw to toy away. If it is a toy that truly has sentimental value to you, put that toy away (storage in the garage, perhaps?).
Option 2: Give them to friends or family. Do you have any friends or family members with children around the age of your child or a little bit younger? Ask to see if they would be interested in taking any of the toys that you are getting rid of.
Option 3: Donate them. There a quite a few different organizations that will take your donated toys from you. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and the Ronald McDonald House are a few that are in most cities. Other places that generally accept toy donations are local churches and possibly preschools or kindergarten classes.
Step Four – Time to Relax!
Now that you have completed the three steps above, it is time to relax and enjoy your newly decluttered and organized space!
If you want to take this one step further, get your child involved! (If they are old enough to understand). Once my daughter was 4-5 years old, I started including her in cleaning out her toys. I explained to her that there are kids that don’t have all of the toys that she has and some kids who don’t ever get any new toys. This really stuck a chord with her and now she is excited to donate toys that she doesn’t use anymore to kids in need. It is a great way to teach your child a valuable lesson and also to get some help with the actual sorting!