Christmas is almost here which means it’s about to be toy overload!
I love seeing my son get excited about his new toys at Christmas. But boy-oh-boy, is it a chore figuring out what to do with all of those toys!
I thrive in organized spaces with clear surfaces. So Christmas time drives me a little coo-coo! 😉
When the toys start to take over our home, I know it is time to control the toy clutter.
Here are three things that I do to manage the toy clutter. If you start implementing some of these now, it will be easier when Christmas (or birthdays) come around.
Designate ONE spot to hold all toys.
If toys are spread all through out the house, it is easy for the entire house to become a playroom. When my son was young, we kept all his toys in bins and baskets on the entertainment center in our living room.
Now that he is older, all of his toys are kept in his room.
Keeping the toys limited to one location and specific containers limits the amount of toys you keep. Decide where you will keep toys and how much space you actually want the toys to take up.
My son’s toys are limited to one shelf in his closet and his toy chest*.
If the toys don’t fit in there, then we have too many toys.
I keep the inside organized by using several different containers to hold everything. Clear shoe boxes* are great for holding toy sets with lots of little pieces like his food and cash register.
We try to only get out 2-3 toy sets at one time rather than pulling all of his toys out. Using small containers helps with this because he doesn’t dump all of his toys out. Instead he just grabs one or two containers.
He often has his Mega Bloks out along with his cars and wooden blocks. When he wants to take another toy out, I have him put up at least one of the current toys.
He does keep his bigger outdoor toys in his closet and art and craft supplies in a separate basket. But again, those designated spaces limit the amount of outdoor toys and craft supplies.
You don’t have to have a toy bin. Any sort of shelf, cabinet, or storage space will work. Look around at what you have in your home and see if it can be used as toy storage.
Create routine pick up times.
Of course, you must decide what works for you and your family’s schedule. Around here we pick up toys 2-3 times a day.
1)Whenever we leave the house —> I hate coming home to a messy home and tripping over toy clutter.
2) Before nap time —> I let my son play all day, but at nap time we put those toys up. It lets him know that play time is over. It also creates a tidy home for my husband to come home to rather than having toys in his way. I want our home to be a haven when he comes home from work.
3) Before bed time —> Part of my son’s bed time routine is putting his toys away. This way we start the next day with a picked up home, and we aren’t stepping on any Legos in the middle of the night!
Purge regularly and ruthlessly!
Since we only have one toy chest, all of his toys (besides books, outdoor toys, and craft supplies) must fit into that chest. If the toys are having a hard time fitting, it means toy clutter needs to go!
I like to go through his toys around his birthday (in the spring) and then again at Christmas time. This allows for us to make room for new toys that he receives.
If you aren’t sure what to get rid of here are a few things to keep in mind:
~ Are there duplicates?
~ Does he choose to play with this toy regularly?
~ Does this toy keep his attention?
In the book Unstuffed*, Ruth Soukup wrote an entire chapter about kid’s toys. I learned some really great insight into how many toys my son really needs.
She also offered some great advice for dealing with toys that are gifts.
I try to keep only the toys that my son enjoys on a regular basis. When I purge his toys, I like to take them to our local consignment store. That way I am able to make a little money on them instead of just getting rid of them.
So far, the money that I have earned from his toys has helped pay for some of his clothes. That way I’m getting rid of toy clutter but also getting clothes that he needs!
Do you have any other tips for managing toy clutter?
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