Cutting through the Clutter of Toys

by Destri on January 29, 2010

image via Land of Nod

Shortly after Christmas I was walking through my house taking in what can only be summed up as a holy mess. The kids were not playing with their toys-they were swimming in them.  Just watching them I could tell they couldn’t focus on one activity for all the confusion that surrounded them.  In fact there was no quality play going on, no imagination development, no fine motor skill development, just the random launching of toys…literally.  They had resorted to just throwing them.

It was time to clean house.

I came up with a system that I have employed weekly ever since and found it to be useful in cutting down on the clutter of toys.  I will detail what I have done and then I want you to give me your input.

Check the Inventory

I started by going through every room, every nook, every drawer and put all the toys in one location (a heap on my living room floor).  I did this with a garbage sack in one hand, instantly throwing out the toys I knew were either broken or missing parts. Look under beds, pull out the couches and cushions…I was amazed with what I found, or embarrassed, one of the two.  Keep in mind that my oldest is three, so I chose to do this while my kids were asleep.  If you have older ones you may want to involve them in the process.  Or maybe not?  If you have older kids please leave your thoughts on that one in the comments.

Sort and Classify (divide and conquer)

Start this next step with a goal in mind.  Mine was to cut our toys by half; look at your situation and decide what will be a reasonable goal for you.  Sitting on the floor I began sorting-balls in one pile, cars and trucks in another, dolls, dishes-you get the idea.  I not only sorted them but classified them.  Which toys were of a higher quality; my son had two tractors, one very nice the other not so much.  I also thought of their preference did they prefer the red car over the blue?  Surely no boy needs twenty cars, and ten motorcycles.  That is where the donate pile comes in.  Really think about the toys and if your child has shown an interest in them for the last month. If the answer is no, it’s time to pass them on.   I found after I was done with this step some of the toys I saved were for my personal attachment, not my kids.  I bit my lip and added those to the donate pile too.  There were a few they had not played with that I knew if given a second chance and some assistance they would enjoy them, so I kept those.

Lose the Token ‘Happy Meal’ Toys

I don’t know about you but we had an insane amount of little toys.  None of which went with anything or served a purpose.  You know, the ones you get from a happy meal, out of the cereal box, or the ones grandma bought while standing in line at the grocery store just to make them happy.  I took every single one of them and put them in the trash bag…it felt great.  I can’t tell you how many times I picked them up on a daily basis.  Freedom….

Secure and Organize

Find a place where you can organize all the toys left.  I would go into depth on this but that is an entirely different post!  I used baskets with balls in one basket, cars in another and so on.  Just use a system that works best for you.  The important thing to remember is you want like toys together.  You may want to do this differently, but I had decided I wanted to control the ‘creative process’ in my home a little more.  So I have a little room at the top of our stairs (that happens to have a childproof gate) where I decided to store our toys.  My neighbor has a closet that she put a lock on, find a place that works for you.  I did leave the kitchen in my sons room with all the kitchen toys, but without the confusion of all the other toys it works great.  I left the books downstairs, and I have to tell you an amazing thing happened…they actually sit and look at them.  Without the distraction of all the other toys and the books being the only thing they have full access to I now will find them sitting and flipping through the pages.  Makes my heart swell.

Have a Plan

My plan will not work for everyone so you may need to adjust it to your needs. For us I found it best if I take one basket, fill it every morning with a variety of toys to take downstairs for them to play with.  At nap time I put those toys back and bring down a fresh set after they wake up.  It has worked great!  Just before my husband gets home, instead of having a whole house of toys to pick up, I only have a few to throw in a basket to take upstairs.  He comes home to a clean house, lovely.  Also the kids are actually playing with their toys, the wheels are turning in their little heads with each individual toy.

Every week I do a mini version of this process, somehow I always find a few toys we can lose, and we don’t miss them, not one bit.

I shared this over on Amy’s Anti-procrastination link party, this is going to be a fun one!

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Jileen January 29, 2010 at 10:03 am

I did this exact same thing after Christmas. And I agree with all the “little” toys and those from Kid’s meals – I chucked ‘em and nobody has even noticed. It felt sooo good! I also had a pile of toys and books that were nostalgic for me that I just couldn’t part with but my kids have outgrown. I put them in the attic for grandchildren, which I know is a LONG ways away but my mom did that and my kids have enjoyed some of the toys we had as children. I have witnessed the same thing as you, Destri – my kids are actually playing instead of sitting in a mess of overwhelming toys. It feels really good for all of us! Great post, Destri!

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Great idea on saving the toys…as I type I am in Colorado at my husbands parents house and Grandma ha pulled out some of Aaron’s old toys, even some of his dads, so so fun. I did put some of the good quality baby toys in a box to put away for the next baby too, you never know…

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Candace January 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

Bless your heart!

It pains me to hear that you’ve been holding on to (what sounds like a bunch) of those crappy McDonald’s toys. I hate those things with a passion! They should just stuff a box with garbage and charge you for it, because that’s all it is–straight garbage. So hooray for you!!! I also love your idea of having a toy basket and I especially love that you “refresh” it throughout the day. So smart.

My toy closet kept overflowing with ridiculous amounts of toys. About every 6 months I would have to go through them all and donate at least half to regain some order. As much as I loved donating those toys (most of them still looking like new) I was sad knowing that my kids hadn’t really ever gained anything from having them. I did however notice a pattern; the toys I have kept over the years (and the ones that get the most play) were the interactive toys which promoted some form of growth.

Now as I shop for my children, I am far more selective about the purchases I make. I always ask myself if it’s something my kids will really benefit from playing with. Does it foster creativity and encourage imagination? Is it sturdy? Will it assist in the development of a skill? Can they learn something from it? If the answer is no to any of those questions, I do not buy it.

I’ve tried to pass along this method to the grandparents too;)

Now we have some great, QUALITY toys that my children love playing with, and I’m not shamefully going through my toy closet every 6 months thinking what a waste.

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm

That is where I had come to, I wanted good quality toys that served a purpose in their development, which we had, they were just buried!
And I totally agree with the shopping part, it is Hanks birthday is this week and cleaning though things puts a whole new perspective on the shopping process.

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Tina January 29, 2010 at 10:47 am

Love this post! Ok, I know I only have one tot…but here’s my two cents on this. I do this exact thing 3 times a year. Totbuckets has a big train table in his room with bins on either side that hold all his cars and train stuff. He has shelves with bins for toys and a set of shelves for books. He has a farm set that sits out in his room. He has one toy basket (that fits nicely with my living room, thank you very much!) in the living room and one toy basket at the foot of our bed. The only thing that gets left out really is Rody (you know, the blow up donkey you jump around on? I think it’s from Sweden. If you don’t have a Rody, you don’t know what you’re missing sister!) ANYWAY….I put BIG limits on toys. I just feel pretty strongly that kids get way too much nowadays. I give grandparents a list for christmas. He gets a few toys for his birthday but we ask for donations to charities in lieu of presents for his birthday from other folks. (A GREAT way to do a good thing and keep all those toys from coming in the house!) After christmas, birthday and in the summer I go through and discard what he has grown out of. It’s a beautiful thing right? P.S. If you just buy the cheesburger and fries and have them drink water, it’s cheaper than a happy meal and you don’t have to deal with the toy! Sorry for the long response: play and organization make my heart go pitter patter!

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Oh Tina, I knew you would have something to say about this!

Everyone needs to go check out your power of play series….great simple ideas for teaching and playing with your kids with out the toys. she even goes into the why’s of the importance of the activity, great series!

Now I am off to find a Rody, anything from Sweden is great right?

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Tina January 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Rody Rocks! And thanks for the props friend. Squirmy tot on my lap….
peace out,
T

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Shasta January 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

Umm, yeah, here’s an idea for ya. As the mother of 7, yes seven. My kids know that the little toys in happy meals are left at McD’s. They never make it home, nope never, I know I’m mean. Good news is girls, is that pretty soon, your kids won’t want toys anymore and they won’t get full on the happy meal. Or maybe that’s bad news, hmmm. Enjoy them and their little messes. I know a guy who lost his wife and four children in one terrible accident, guess what he misses the most? Noise and messes. Just a thought.

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

You are the one I learned this from…you are like the queen of letting things go, I love it! And yes great thought on enjoying the messes.
For me it wasn’t the messes so much as they were not even enjoying their toys, they couldn’t even focus on one long enough to gain from it.
Trust me there are still messes!
Love the idea of leaving the toys at McD’s….

How’s Hawaii? The beach?

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Sarah January 29, 2010 at 11:57 am

Great post. I tend to do something similar and it works well. It also helps me feel like my entire house is not a giant toy box.

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Yes exactly! I have my house back. It’s not run over by the toys

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Stephanie January 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I love it! I do the same thing… for several reasons:

1. We live in a tiny house. TINY. So, there is no room for us to swim in toys. I call it editing… and it happens all the time. We have toys in baskets on a shelf. We get out certain toys, play with them, and then put them away.

2. Kids need and crave order. Chaos doesn’t foster creativity. My son is far more creative with his toys if I limit what he has access to!

3. My mother never did this, and ultimately, it drove me crazy. I went home for Christmas and discovered a small rubbermaid tub tucked under a sewing table with, er, “vintage” happy meal toys, a barbie surf board, a dried up mini-tub of play doh, and a few legos. Hello?? Hoarder??? So I am probably overboard in the opposite direction! Hahaha! Kids can’t make the decisions to throw out and donate toys, so the parents need to!

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

“My son is far more creative with his toys if I limit what he has access to!” So true.

Editing, I love that.

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Amy January 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I also use toy buckets. I took photos and put them on the bucket of the toys that go in it. It really helps my son (age 3) know exactly which bucket he wants to play with and then he knows which bucket the toys go in when it’s time to clean up. It’s helped a lot.

With my older children, we have visited a humanitarian center and taken a tour. It helps them to see how needy others in the world are. Then when we get home, they get to decide what it’s time to get rid of. It’s much easier for them if they know it can go to someone else who doesn’t have much. We then donate it to DI or a goodwill. I really like doing this around Thanksgiving time. It’s a good time to be reminded of all we have and to declutter before Christmas.

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Destri January 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Amy, you are the inspiration for locking the toys up, and I love the idea of taking the kids to see what it is like to only have one toy to cherish, great thought for older kids. Then you could include them in the process a little easier.

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Maria January 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I just did this after Christmas too, but there are plenty more I would like to see gone forever….I think it is time for some ‘editing.’ Great post Destri, I totally hear ya on the launching toys thing, been there seen that.

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Brianna Evans February 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Love this idea- I really need to do it soon!!

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Kristy February 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Great tips! Last year, my family of 5 (3 girls) moved into a teeny, tiny condo. Out of necessity I ended up having to toss the broken stuff and the cheapy plastic stuff. Initially, it was tough to let go…especially for the 9 year old…Maybe getting into this habit will help the younger ones…We ended up keeping our very favorites and I have noticed that they concentrate better during their imaginative play…coincidence? Maybe not after reading this:)

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Catherine February 3, 2010 at 8:14 am

Another idea for classifying that has really helped me is to have toy categories that all toys must basically fit into to be kept. For my girls (ages 5 and 3) its dollhouse, baby doll, play food, duplos. For my 2 year old son, its wood blocks, little people, cars, balls, and sorting toys. Then I keep a basket of non-categorized “baby” toys – but just one basket! This makes it easier to get rid of stuff.

With my 5 year old, I have asked her to go through her stuffed animals and pick out her 10 favorite, then I have sifted through the rest to donate. Beyond that I have a generally good idea of what gets played with. I also edit for chockables with a toddler in the house and another on the way!

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Destri February 3, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great ideas, we too had one basket for the baby! Congrats on the new little wonder!

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Courtney February 10, 2010 at 11:46 am

I am anti toy clutter in our house and have only so many baskets that are allowed to have toys in it, when they get full than we clean out and purge!!

another thing, if a grandparent buys a toty that toy stays at the grandparents!! they may think i am evil but i am not just anti toy! which i guess could be evil!!

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niki February 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I should totally put my kid’s toys upstairs. They are driving me C-C-C-Crazy!

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amylouwho February 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

oh my gosh. I so needed this today. I have been moving in this direction – But with all the new Christmas toys it’s gotten a little tricky again. Thanks for your suggestions!

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Amy March 9, 2010 at 8:48 am

Such a great post!
Isn’t it amazing how decluttering gives space for the creative? I have found that to be true over and over.
Now that my girls are older, we keep the toys out, but like is with like and they are in baskets. I have found with their ages, a list of all the great things they have to play with really works, especially snow days or spring break days! I’ll be sharing that list soon.
Love, love the idea of little out at a time for younger kids, wish I would have had this post when my girls were little!!
Thanks so much for linking up!

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Rayan March 15, 2010 at 7:34 am

I need to carry a print out of this post around with me until I get this done in my house! We are drowning in toys…..

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Amy March 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I recently did the same thing! We added 2 more to our family in January and had to lose the toy room. Somehow every toy we owned ended up in every corner of the house. I couldn’t look at it any more and now my big kids (4yr old boy/girl twins) have see-thru bins that have “collections” in them… dinosaurs, cars, toy story figures, strawberry shortcake, polly pockets, etc, etc. They can get one out at a time. And I can breath. Just another thought… I took all the McDonalds chaos of toys and put them in a drawer in the kitchen. Whenever we have little friends over and they always want to take a toy with them… we have a grab bag they can choose from. Altho my girlfriends hate it (haha!), it sure does make our their children feel special!

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Destri March 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm

That is the best idea! Seriously. Thank you for sharing!

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rebecca May 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I don’t mind the McD’s toys, because my kidlet seems to be able to integrate them into play. Some have ended up as bath toys, others can be found in the car for stuck-in-traffic emergencies. A good many reside in the dollhouse, which doesn’t have any dolls or furniture, so my kidlet needs to rely on her imagination to incorporate a Hotel for Dogs mini poodle and an Avatar dude into her play.

I have a huge antique sideboard that houses toys in our living/dining room. It also holds craft supplies and there’s just enough room underneath for containers for playdough. Because it has sliding doors, I don’t have to actually SEE the toys and other mess. WE only take out what she/we is going to play with at that moment and it gets put away before anything else comes out.

I also have some antique suitcases that hold games and puzzles. Stacked up, they make a great end table beside the couch.

When birthdays and holidays roll around, I’ve encouraged my family members to purchase a membership for the museum or the science centre for us. I’m a single mum and the cost to visit those places are prohibitive.

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Paula June 6, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Very good ideas! I just wanted to share a website where you can get the plans to build these toy storage bins at a fraction of the cost of buying them from Pottery Barn! I discovered this site and instantly became addicted and built several projects myself already….www.knock-offwood.com. You would be surprised at how easy building actually is!

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Katie June 7, 2010 at 6:22 am

About your last comment on rotating toys: I have found that this even works with my 7 month old. When I put her in her room or play pen to crawl around and explore, I pull out a handful of toys for her to play with. I just try to rotate through her toys, so that she has something “new” every day. By changing out what she sees, the old toys become new when she hasn’t played with them for a while. We already have a limited supply of baby toys, so this method keeps our little stash feeling much larger.

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lovingmomof2 July 20, 2010 at 7:26 am

I love this post. It is amazing how much clutter affects our lives. I still have a clear image in my memory of the first time I realized clutter had such a hold on my life. My hubby and I had been married about 3 years and we were finally able to get some decent living room furniture (we had been using a $20 set from a yard sale and it was past its use). We decided to go with an armoir instead of an entertainment center with shelves. No longer having the space for all those nick nacks, I had to get rid of some and only keep the ones that I loved. It was amazng, the next day I had so much energy. I felt fresh and renewed. It didn’t take me long to realize all those things stuffed on my entertainment shelves although they were pretty were adding stress to my life. Thus began my decluttering lifestyle. Now I think I drive my hubby crazy on occasion, because I am always picking something up and aksing “do you use this? do we need to keep this? if you aren’t going to use this in the next couple of months can we get rid of it?” I have also been teaching my children (5 and 4) to de-clutter. Once a month we go through their toys, broken toys get thrown out unless it is a favorite that can be fixed (hasn’t happened yet), toys they no longer want that are in good condition go in our get rid of pile and the toys we want to keep get put back in their baskets. My kids will even bring me toys and say “I want another little kid to have this now, I am done with it”.

What do we do with all of our get rid of item? We have one yard sale a year, but not your usual yard sale. I like to call it my ‘Make an Offer’ yard sale or my ‘Donation’ yard sale. These yard sales usually go over really well. What ever is left gets given away or donated.

For kid gifts we like to do consumables like crayons, coloring books, art supplies. My kids go through these things so fast and it is nice to know that it is not going to add to the clutter.

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three4me August 2, 2010 at 2:58 am

I am the daughter of a hoarder, fortunately I can get rid of things, but I have trouble just throwing away a toy because a few pieces are missing, especially when I know the piece will show up. When my children were little the toys were manageable because there were no “chokables” and I could sort all the pieces into bins in just a few minutes. But as the kids get older, the pieces get smaller. Then a few years ago I went back to school and kept working. My DH thought he was helping by gathering up all the little pieces and loading them into storage tubs. He did this about once a month. This led to the great accumulation of toys with missing pieces (that were somewhere in the tubs, all 10 of them!) that I wouldn’t get rid of (the toy was perfectly good if we found the pieces) and no-one could play with. This summer I finally had time to deal with the problem, I dumped all the tubs out and have so far spent about 20 hours sorting, sorting, sorting. But it is gratifying to hear the kids say, “Oh mommy, that’s so cool, I loved this toy, now I can play with it again.” Now we have put garage shelving along one wall of the bonus room and have all the toys in big see through tubs, (barbie stuff, little stuffed animals, little cars, games, dress up clothes, doll house furniture, legos, etc.) Now I am a nazi about them only getting down one tub at a time and cleaning it up right after.

As far as whether to include older kids in sorting out little pieces, I say yes and no. Yes when you need them to remind you what toy goes to what and to teach them to organize. No when you are deciding what to get rid of, because they like to keep everything. My son is only just now learning to part with things voluntarily and he is ten. I tried to encourage the girls, but they have separation anxiety to their toys and I feel like if I force them, they will become like my mother and start holding onto everything!

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Losaline Latu February 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I totally agree with you 110% I did the same thing after Christmas.I am tired of picking up toys, and stepping in them! I did the same exact thing throwing away, and storaging guys, animals, and so forth. The one thing that has helped me though was I stored them above in a closet and I have made it a privilege to play!If they earn it I will take it down. The way they can earn is by picking up toys after they play they will be able to play with the next time they ask! The other thing is, there is a time limit if they are good I let them play toys for an hour, usually while I’m cooking dinner.Afterwards we have fun playing clean up!

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Charlene February 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

I bought 3 identical totes, and split my son’s toys into them. He gets to have one tote down each month, but here’s the key – before we rotate them, I have my son bring all his toys from all over the house, and we sit together and go through them.

I pick 3 toys that are similar in size or type, set them out in front of him. He gets to choose 2 to put back in the bin, and 1 for garbage or donation.

Sometimes I’m sneaky, and put two good toys out, and one happy meal toy, and the happy meal toy almost always goes away.

Great way to keep the clutter down, and teach my child about donating to help others. We started doing this when he was about five or six. I need to implement it with my 3 year old pretty soon – her toys are all over the place!

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Shirley March 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

These are great ideas! I have an extra problem — my 3-yr old son is high, high energy and a “dumper & flinger.” We have baskets to sort books and toys but it’s like he has a pathological need to empty them. He dumps them out, flings the contents to the far corners of every room. Any suggestions, beyond severely limiting the number of toys/books/etc.?

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Angela October 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Just a suggestion… Do you have somewhere you can put them where he can not get any number of boxes/baskets out? I had a similar problem with a child I was babysitting one time and even at 3 they can understand that we dont get another basket until we clean up our mess. A week of temper tantrums and fits and crying later he understood and gladly picked up the toys so he could get another basket to play with. Its just an idea I can’t say much though my three destroy my house daily. I hurt my back 4 years ago and while I could not do anything for 8 weeks after spinal surgery Dad didn’t enforce the rules of clean up your toys every night before bed and I a year later am still fighting it. I am going to try her method and see how it worked

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Sharleen July 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I have to say I have learned a lot from this post and reading on the privious responses. I did have to laugh each time when you ladies said you finally have your house back, I am the opposite. I feel my house is for the kids, there place to play and imagine. I have only one little one my other is now an adult, boy where did the time go, but we watch my sister-in-laws 2 all the time. I do not like messes either, that is not what I’m saying, but I do like it when they express themselves creatively. So in my house my living room has 2 swings, yup, 2 regular swings hanging from a beam and the kids have the most fun on them and the great part is they can swing on rainy days and when it’s dark. The wall in my hallway has pictures and a mirror on top and a 10′ x 4′ chalboard on the bottom half, I used the chalkboard paint, my kiddo is an artist. I have bins in the room with toys sperated out too, this was the best thing I ever did, now if I can just get the hubby to be like me and insist on only one bin at a time, that would be great. I do like the idea of moving the toys to another location though, that would help limit the messes.

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Mona September 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

I really need help in this area. I have three kids, 7, 4 and 3. Our house is swarming with toys. I know I need to downsize. It’s easy for me to get rid of broken or junky toys, but the rest (and there’s a lot) I can’t decide what to get rid of. We have lots of play sets (Strawberry Shortcake, Pet Shop Pets, barn with animals, doll house, Bat Cave, Firehouse set, Tool bench, Kitchen with food, matchbox car city set, etc) I live in a townhouse, so rotating would be difficult. And just when I think a toy set hasn’t been played with for a while and maybe we can donate it….one of my kids gets it out and plays with it! But even if they have finally played with something, I know I don’t necessarily have to keep it. But what do I keep and what do I get rid of? I absolutely notice that they have trouble settling in to play with anything and cleaning up. The toys get strewn across the basement. My husband has told me for years, there’s just too many toys. I think I need an intervention!

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Crystal September 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I love the shelf you used for toy organization! Do you know the dimensions or remember where you purchased it? It doesn’t look like it takes up much space width wise, but still holds a lot.

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caron sorrels November 20, 2011 at 1:29 am

Please save the small toys roe the shoebox collection at your local church. My sister does these ever year for children abroad. Small toys are a must for small boxes. thanks

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Angela October 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Awesome Idea!!! I am going to do that. My church does the shoe boxes too!

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Sharon January 2, 2012 at 1:44 am

When my boys were little I divided all their toys into three laundry baskets. One train, truck, car, motorcycle, a couple of balls and so on. Each week I would switch baskets while they were asleep. This way they still had all their toys but it had been a few weeks since they had seen them – they were new all over again!

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Dakota June 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I totally just did this and feel awesome. My girls are already calmer. In like 10 minutes they started playing instead of requesting a movie (blaaahhh)

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larissa August 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

Great Post… We all need a little less… I really need to do this.. Thanks

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Amanda August 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

These seem like some great ideas that i cant wait to get to try. I do have a question for you though, when you say you separate the toys into different baskets and you also bring down different baskets of toys, how do you keep the kids from just going to get other toys and mixing them together? I have tried separating toys or putting some toys in the bedroom and others in their play area of the living room and they just bring toys from the bedroom and mix them with ones in the living room or vice versa. Its so frustrating, often i just want to throw all of their toys out and just keep one of two. They usually end up fighting over one toy anyway.

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Destri August 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Amanda, so sorry just seeing this! It’s been awhile since I wrote this and things have really changed. My kiddos were little and I had a gate that kept them from the toys upstairs, so even if you put them in a closet with a high lock, that would work.

I will say now that my kids are older since about 2 and 3 we got rid of 90% of the toys and kept only the favorites. It’s the best! We do alot more coloring, crafting, and playing outside. Like you said, they have their favorites, so keep those and ditch the rest!

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Angela October 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I am going to have to try this!!! I have 3 kids ages 14(Samantha), 7 (Josh) and 5 (Ally).
I love my kids I really do but I think they think I am their slave. Josh (7) is a complete pack rat! (Dad is too!) he pitches fits when i try to throw away or give away any of his toys. I am definitely going to try this! I will go through them during the school day when they are gone. I read on another site (www.thefamilyhomestead.com) that she did something similar but the children were allowed to have a certain number of toys out (the rest were stored away to change out like your idea) but they had a certain amount of time every night before bed to clean up the toys and if they could not pick them up in that allotted time then the ones left out joined the ones stored until they had what they could pick up in the time limit. I think that is also a great idea because it also teaches them that they can’t move like little turtles or they lose more toys. I am going to try to incorporate both your idea and hers and see how it goes. We are moving so why not start out the new house right and start new rules along with it and hopefully I won’t spend the time I have to sew picking up after my monsters.
Thanks so much for the idea!

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Kate July 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

It seems like most of the mothers here, I too have a strong dislike to those cheap, plastic happy meal toys. What a waste of time, money and plastic. But like most of us, the Golden Arches sometimes happens to appear at the right time to ‘feed’ our children.

Get this though, on a recent trip back to the UK we did our stop at McDonalds and got a happy meal and to my delight, yes I said DELIGHT, the box was an informative box of a nature trail with questions and a quiz about bugs and environmental issues and the gift – a small plastic (yup can’t expect miracles) trowel! so your little growing envronmentalist learns about our planet AND gets inspired to dig and plant seeds!!!!

So here’s to ALL North American branches – you are waaaaay behind Europe – best get a grip or you will be left behind in a pile of rubbish!

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