Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The great toy rotation; de-clutter, de-toy, organize

Toy clutter has overtaken our house. For awhile, it was all things baby: high chair, swing, bouncy seat, baby bathtub, pack in play, diapers, wipes, name it, it was out. Now, it's toys. Toys are EVERYWHERE. We've struggled to keep toys at bay in our 1100 sq ft house. We had more toys than we had space to put them. We could never find what toys we were looking for. And, the ironic part, the kids never wanted to play with any of them. 

There was an interesting article I read about how fewer toys is actually better for children. You can read it here. Basically it states that fewer toys is better for the child because they will learn to develop better attention spans, be more creative, hopefully take more of an interest in reading and art, etc. YES!

The plan was simple. De-clutter, de-toy, organize. The solution was amazing. The Great Toy Rotation. 

You will need some Rubbermaid storage bins. We use 2 large bins that we store in the garage. It works best if they are not clear so little eyes can't see what they are missing. (Budget savvy these on sale after Christmas!) 
Fill the Rubbermaid bins with all the extra toys. As you're filling the boxes make note of the condition of the toys. Are they damaged? Missing pieces? Are they too young for your kids? If you answered yes to any of those, either throw them out, or if they are in good condition try to sell or donate them. Don't hang on to them!! 

Decide what will stay out to be played with for this rotation. My rule of thumb is every toy that's out needs a place to be put away on the shelves after play time. That way when everything is cleaned up it looks refreshing instead of crammed and cluttered. If it doesn't have a spot, put it in the Rubbermaid. If you have too many toys in general, try to pick some to donate. 
Once you have your Rubbermaids full and all the other toys in their places, store the Rubbermaids somewhere not easily accessible by your children. We store them on the top shelf in the garage. 

Every 3 months we rotate toys from in the house with the toys in the Rubbermaids. It's like Christmas for the kids. They spend hours, yes hours! pouring over the boxes finding treasures and long ago forgotten toys. I save money, I have a de-cluttered house, and honestly with fewer toys they have a desire to play with them more often. 

Repeat process every 3 months. 

Now, if only I could find a way for the toys to put themselves away. 

Readers: How do you keep toys organized in your home?


  1. These are great tips! We take away almost all toys during the summer months! It helped to promote outside play! Then when we bring toys back in the fall its like Christmas all over again! SInce they cant be outside for long hours in the late fall/winter time they are more apt to not get bored with their toys since they dont have them all the time! :)

    I am also a binger! If we dont use it/play with it/need it we donate/toss it ASAP! It keeps things way more organized! We have a whole closet used for storing toys that are seasonal or for future children!

  2. great idea! i think my mom did something like this, because i remember her bringing out old toys and getting so excited! have you read the book "too many toys" by david shannon? it's a great one!