5 Steps to Declutter Toys


How to Know it’s Time to Declutter Toys

Last year after having my second child I became completely overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” in our house. Can you relate?

With the new baby, visitors were constantly coming with gifts not only for him but also for my three-year-old daughter.  Since we now had a boy, everyone wanted to buy “boy stuff” for him, which quickly doubled the amount of kid stuff, specifically toys, we owned. 

I knew something had to change. I was spending too much time on toys – putting them away, cleaning them, organizing them, not to mention stepping on them as I walked through our home.  

At this point, I also happened to start reading about minimalism and families where the children had much fewer toys. Questions started going through my head like “how do these children possibly live with so few toys?” and “would this work for my family?”

Formulate a Plan

I was intrigued and started to formulate a plan that might work for us. My daughter definitely had specific toys she played with a lot and others she’d dump out of a bin and then walk away… I spent some time over the next few weeks working on the first three steps of my plan listed below and finally the initial part of step four. Now I just needed to wait and see…

I wondered if my daughter would notice a difference? I held my breath as we walked into the toy room, which to me clearly had fewer toys… 

I tell you with complete honesty, she didn’t notice a difference and didn’t ask about any missing toys! I was shocked. The only time she asked about a toy was when I had the closet open which held the “storage toys” and she saw one and then, of course, wanted it. To note, I gave it to her since she asked for it, but when she stopped playing with it a day later it went back to storage. 

Since doing this process the first time last year, I’ve continued it many times. I can’t really tell you how many toys we’ve gotten rid of because I’ve done it over a large span of time. However, I can now say we have an amount of toys I find manageable and it doesn’t seem like they’re taking over the house anymore. 

I wouldn’t say we’re anywhere near the amount of toys most minimalists own, but it’s a lot less than what we had before. Decluttering our toys will be something I do over and over again, so I’m happy to now have a successful process that works for us. 

If you’re also looking to reduce the amount of toys you own, I hope this process works for you too! 

5 Steps to Declutter Toys

  1. Go through all the toys and throw away (or recycle/donate, if possible) anything broken or has missing pieces, like puzzles.  
  2. Collect any duplicate toys and what I refer to as “junk toys” they don’t play with. I consider “junk toys” things from the Target Dollar Spot, happy meals and the like. Either throw away, recycle or donate these items, depending on their condition.
  3. Spend a week watching which toys your children actually play with for an extended period of time and really enjoy. 
  4. Toys they don’t play with very much go into “storage” for a few weeks.  I use a large Tupperware bin kept in a closet, which they don’t usually have access to. If they don’t ask about the toys for a week or two, I donate them. If the toy is truly sentimental or something I think my younger child will use down the line, I will keep it.
  5. Organize what’s left. If you still think you have too much, go through this process again. I find with birthdays, holidays and family visiting, I have to continually go through this process to keep our toys decluttered. Also part of step five is to watch what toys come into your home. Just because there’s a sale at the store or a holiday like Valentine’s day, don’t feel like it’s an excuse to buy more toys. Your home and sanity will thank you! 

To read more about the topic of decluttering, here are some other related posts: 8 Creative Ways to Declutter For Spring, 5 Places to Declutter Today, 10 Common Organizing Mistakes and Let It Go: The Great Purge Begins