My kids have a mountain of toys and every week they get something new that gets chucked on the ever-expanding heap.
There’s no organisation to it because at the end of every day we just stuff it all in the corner, pile it up in the toy storage hampers and let out a sigh of relief that it’s grownup time now.
With Christmas and two birthdays coming in the next few months, I decided it was time for a serious sort out.
We have quite a big family so I’m guessing our children will be getting a few hundred new books, games, puzzles and implements they can use to hit each other with.
Therefore decluttering was essential.
I didn’t want to buy any new boxes or containers. This is a trap I often fall into as I assume it will help me organise things when actually I’m just keeping stuff I don’t need in a growing stack of boxes.
Instead I wanted to actually get rid of some stuff and come up with a smarter way of storing the toys we do keep so that they’re not all piled on top of each other.
I set out with a plan for how I was going to decide what gets thrown away and I tried to stick to it.
I had to be quite strict with myself and even then I ended up wobbling over a few items.
Here are my tips to decluttering toys:
Identify what you have
Sort the toys into piles based on what they are. Put soft toys in one place, noisy toys in another, play food on another pile and so on. Also have a pile where you put the random bits that have gotten lost from the rest of the set.
This includes the stray puzzle pieces, random Lego blocks and shapes that have fallen out of the shape sorter.
When you’re deciding what to do with the toys, ask yourself the following questions:
What age is it for? Have your children outgrown it?
When did your kids last play with it?
Is it classic?
Does it have added value? Is it fun as well as educational? Does it have multiple uses?
Is it broken?
Put the toys into four categories
As you answer the questions put the toys into the following categories: Keep, store, donate and bin.
The keep pile should include the things your child plays with every day, or at least once a week. These should then be put in the room where your child plays most days.
Mine are split between a storage bin and a box in the lounge.
I reorganised my shoe collection to free up a shoe box. I then used this to store the wooden play food which had been loose before this.
Storing toys doesn’t necessarily mean putting them in the loft, it could mean they’re put in a cupboard in your child’s room.
I have four canvas storage buckets. I decided to keep one in the lounge, where my children spend most of their time playing in the day,
The other three I put upstairs in my children’s rooms. That way I can rotate them once a week and the kids can play with different toys regularly.
When it came to the toys that my children either never show any interest in or have outgrown, I put them aside to be taken to the charity shop.
Any toys that weren’t working, even when their batteries were replaced, or toys that were snapped or broken in some way, I binned. There weren’t many of these, which shows how hardy children’s toys are.
Try to take another look at the toys again in a couple of weeks time. This can give you the time to have another think about the stuff you were on the fence about binning.
I’ve found that giving myself extra time to mull things over, sometimes makes me more ruthless when it comes to deciding whether to ditch something.
It was so much better to have everything organised. It didn’t even take me that long to get this job done, maybe about 90 minutes.
I would have been quicker but my baby was crawling all over the piles of toys as I tried to organised them.
I’ve made a vlog of my decluttering efforts so please check that out as well.
Do you have any decluttering tips for toys? I would love to hear them.