As part of the Declutter Cleanse 2017, I chose April to sort through and organize all of the toys my kids own. My hope was that if I found a way to organize and clear out the toys, my boys would play with them more and I would spend less time, picking up random toys and nagging the boys to do the same.
I completed this task a year ago. Since that time, I put a pretty good system in place that allows my boys to play with all their toys, while eliminating endless hours of clean up for me.
These are the steps I took to maintain organization of the toys in our house, but you could do this with anything you own that seems to occupy space in your house (i.e.-craft supplies, books, clothes, accessories).
Go through every inch of the house as well as the car and gather all the toys in one large area. I use our basement, which also serves as the kids playroom.
Sort through all the toys you have gathered.
Start creating piles for similar items (dinosaurs, Legos, superhero’s), as well as toys to sell or donate.
Throw out items that are broken or missing a piece. I also get rid of the little toys that come in fast food meals.
I like to listen to a podcast or watch something on my iPad while I am sorting to make this more fun.
Place all like items in some sort of storage unit or container. You may need to spend some money here, but it’s so worth it. I prefer Rubbermaid totes that are translucent.
Label the totes with either a picture or the name of what the tote contains.
Find a home for your containers. All our toys have a home in the basement.
Craft supplies, playdoh and items like this are kept in a cupboard in my kitchen. I can’t leave my youngest unattended with markers or playdoh, he likes to get really “creative”. ;-)
Create rules or structure around the toys.
I use a kind of “library system” for the toys in the basement. The boys are allowed to use two totes at a time. If they want to play with something else, they have to clean up the totes they have out first and return them to their home.
At the end of the day, the toys have to be put back in the appropriate tote and put back where they found it. This eliminates hours spent sorting through toys, or trying to find toys. Plus, the kids always start out the day with a fresh space to play.
Of course, there are times when the kids don’t want to play in the basement so they ask to bring the toys upstairs. I have no problem with this as long as when they are done, everything gets picked up and put back in the basement.
I am beyond happy that I took the time to declutter the toys.
I found that before I used this system, there were times when the boys didn’t want to play because they were so overwhelmed with the mess in the playroom, or they couldn’t find what they wanted to play with. They love picking out their toys, and I enjoy seeing what they gravitate towards.
I no longer see random toys lying all over the floor. This really does impact my mood and my productiveness. For some reason, if my house is a mess, I tend to avoid it by watching TV or reading. But if my house is clean and organized, I am more likely to be more productive in all areas of my life.
Clearly, this toy declutter was a win-win for everyone.
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