Our playroom was one of my favorite spaces in our home when we moved in and it still is — we spend a lot of time there as a family. It’s wonderful to have a dedicated space for play and keeps the rest of our home clutter-free. Plus, it’s huge (as large as a master bedroom) and it gets a ton of natural light.
However, over the last couple of years, it has become a source of frustration because like in most households with kids, there are just too.many.toys. I know one day I’ll miss this and kids are only little once, but it’s getting to the point where the entire floor is just covered in a mess of toys and I’m always the one cleaning everything up (we do the “clean up” song and play clean-up games, but we do the bulk of it).
Our kids have so many toys they no longer play with or have simply grown out of and though I’d like to think we’re de-cluttering regularly, I, like many of you, have a hard time getting rid of toys they “might play with” at a later time.
Well, friends, it’s time to do a clean sweep (just in time for the holidays) and so many of you had wonderful suggestions that you shared via DM on Instagram, so I thought I’d put together a post with different parent’s strategies for reducing toy clutter (and thus, restoring our collective sanity).
(toys seen above are by Plan Toys)
Here are some ideas y’all shared to get rid of toys, guilt free! Thank you for your contributions!
- Donate toys to organizations or families that need them or give them to family members or friends that could use them
- Donate toys to a children’s hospital (call first- most hospitals only accept new/still-in-package toys)
- Donate toys to your daycare center or one near you (just ask to make sure it’s OK first!) You can also check home daycares that may be in need of some new toys for various age groups
- Have your child(ren) help pick out the toys they’d like to donate, explain why you’re donating them to children in need — use it as a lesson in giving and compassion.
- Store away unused toys – wait a week and if your child doesn’t ask for the toy, donate without guilt!
- Sell toys in good condition on neighborhood Facebook groups, the Nextdoor app or Once Upon a Child.
- Go through your playroom quarterly and make toy donation a regular part of your family’s life.
- Store away any toys that have sentimental value, but don’t feel guilty about tossing or donating others.
- Rotate your toys: store away half of your child’s toys and then rotate them in every few months so your child feels like they have a bunch of new toys.
- Don’t keep knickknacks toys from Chick-Fil-A and birthday parties – throw them out soon after so they don’t add to the clutter
- Do the “watch them play” method and notice what they don’t ever play with — add that to the donation pile
- Ask your child to pick “three things” or however many items you decide — sometimes starting small makes your child more comfortable with the idea
- Put a time limit on it — if a toy hasn’t been touched in three to six months, it’s out
Most of the tips also included anecdotal commentary about kids not even noticing any toys missing. I think there’s some truth to kids having too many toys and not even knowing what to play with/feeling overwhelmed.
Last night, I asked Harper to start going through her toys to donate and we filled one basket so far. I’m hoping to make our play space more streamlined and organized while still allowing the kids to have fun and get creative, just with less.
In addition to getting rid of toys we no longer use, I’m also working on re-configuring our play space. I’m thinking of moving one of the Kallax units to Lincoln’s closet after the toy purge so we have more play space/less toy storage bins (so we will have to have less toys!) P L A Y R O O M
Jumbo Giraffe Plush
Storage: IKEA Kallax (baskets are IKEA too)
Sofa: West Elm
If I missed your tips, please post them in the comments and I’ll update this post! Thank you again for sharing your ideas.