Declutter Kids Toys the Easy Way with 3 Simple Steps

simplify life Oct 24, 2023
Declutter kids toys image of toys and papers everywhere in playroom

If you have kids, you know toys can seriously be a monster, right? I spent years constantly fighting a disastrous play area . . . and other areas, to be honest. There was no room for playing. I mean seriously, how many toys should a child have? It was too much for my young children to handle, and I was tired of it! I knew it was time to declutter kids' toys!

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, then you feel the same way. So, let me give you some tips on how to declutter toys in your home. No longer will you have to deal with the “too many toys syndrome.” I know you're probably feeling a bit intimidated about the decluttering process. I know I was! However, the tips that I'll share with you will help you get the toys under control.

Reasons to Declutter Toys

There are many reasons to simplify and declutter your stuff. Most of these will apply directly to toys. If you have fewer toys, there will be less stuff to clean up. You will have more space for your children to play in.

If you declutter toys, your children won’t be so overwhelmed with what to play with.  With fewer toys, your older children especially will be able to help keep the toys put away. Your children will learn to be more creative with what they do have. You no longer have to deal with “too many toys syndrome.”

How to Declutter Toys

I recently read a post in which the author took all her kids’ toys away. While you may be wondering, what do you do with too many toys? this extreme measure is probably not necessary. However, it is important to declutter and minimize the toys in your home. By taking this first step, you will soon have a more peaceful home and a more simple life. Yes, it will take some time, but it will be so worth it! Trust me.

1. Keep creative toys: the only toys a child needs

Toys can be a great thing for a child, but your home doesn’t need to be overrun by them. As you learn how to declutter toys, you want to wisely choose what kinds of toys to keep. It may seem like a daunting task, but by not having too much stuff, it will be so much easier for you and your family to keep your home looking peaceful. 

If you’re wondering what toys to keep, check out the list below. The following categories of toys are ones that will foster creative and independent play. Once you know which toys to keep for your toy collection, your decluttering session will be much easier. Yes, still keep their favorite toys, even if they don't fit into the categories below.

  • Building toys. These are toys such as legos (all sizes), wooden blocks, magnatiles, and Lincoln logs. These toys allow for imaginative play and are used over and over again. Since they can be used in so many different ways, your children will have hours of fun!
  • Open-ended toys.  Open-ended toys are toys that you can do more than one thing with. For this, think of things like dolls, stuffed animals, trucks/cars/trains, dress-up clothes, play figures such as dinosaurs or unicorns, a play kitchen, and silk scarves. There are so many things your children can do with these. They inspire creativity.
  • Art supplies. To be honest, we have a hard time minimizing art supplies and coloring books. My kids LOVE coloring and making things! Some families will enjoy these more than others.
  • Games and puzzles. Great for exercising the mind and for spending time with one another, games and puzzles are great for any household. Our family especially loves board games and some card games. However, consider keeping these out of reach or you'll have game and puzzle pieces everywhere!
  • Books. Choose books with great pictures and storylines. Books are great for learning and expanding the imagination. Wait until your children act out their favorite stories!
  • Nerf toys. Boys especially love all things Nerf! They can spend hours having epic battles or just shooting at a target.
  • Musical instruments. This can be anything from a keyboard or drums to a set of handheld musical instruments. Allow your child to explore the world of music. Younger children especially seem to love musical instruments.

2. Purging toys

Now that we have a list of types of toys that are great to keep, how do you get rid of the other toys? What toys definitely need to go? What do you do with what’s left? 

The next step is to get rid of toys. Consider getting rid of your child's toys while hi or she isn't around. I know there’s conflicting advice on this, but in my experience, it’s much less traumatic. Often, they don’t even notice or miss their unused toys. However, you’ll have to decide what will work best for your family.

So, what do you do with too many toys? Getting rid of toy clutter will include toys that don’t fit in with the list above. If you have toys that are still in good condition, consider donating them to local thrift stores . However, if it’s a cheap thing or falling apart, just trash it. The following is a great list of types of toys you want to get rid of.

  • Fad toys. Your children don't need fad toys. They don’t need new action figures from every new movie that comes out. Nor do they need a fidget spinner just because everyone else has one. Many toys are just a fad, and they don’t continue to play with them after much time has passed.
  • Duplicate toys. How many stuffed animals or dolls do they really need? Some toys are very similar in what you can do with them. For instance, do you need to have both a babydoll stroller and a baby shopping cart? Certainly not! You want toys from different categories and not the same kinds of things.
  • Broken toys. Why do we even keep broken toys around? What about toys with missing parts? Sometimes maybe you think it will be an easy fix or you'll find the missing piece. Perhaps you think your child will play with the toy anyway. Nope, straight to the trash bag they go.
  • Toys that never get played with. Even if it’s brand new, put it in the donate pile or re-gift it. You don’t need it sitting around. You could also consider selling toys that are in good shape at a garage sale or Facebook marketplace.
  • Cheap toys from the dollar store or kid’s meals. Choose quality over quantity. These toys are fun for a little while . . . a very little while. The last thing you need is miscellaneous cheap toys cluttering up your play area. Once it's been a short time, get them out of the play room.
  • Closed toys. These are toys that you basically can only do one thing with. They don’t foster creative play, so it's a good idea to not keep them around.

3. How to organize kids' toys

Now that you have finished decluttering toys, it’s time to re-organize. You will want to find a home for each toy. You may even want to consider rotating toys on a regular basis, which I’ll talk a bit more about below. 

Related: How to Organize Kids Toys: Tip Tricks

For some toys, especially those that make big messes, choose to keep them somewhere your children don’t have free access. This is the easiest way to keep them from making more messes. You will want each toy in its proper place. Here are some more tips for organizing the toys.

  • Confine to what fits. To help minimize your toys, have only a few storage bins, baskets, or shelves for storing toys. Whatever doesn’t fit doesn’t stay. A cube storage organizer works great! These work especially great if you need to keep your toys in the living room.
  • Make some toys easily seen. This will help your children know what to play with if it’s not all hidden away somewhere. I personally like to hide some things (things with small pieces!) and have other larger toys where they can see them. 
  • Rotating toys. I think rotating toys is somewhat common, but try putting some of the toys that you want to keep in a bin in the attic or garage. This is an easy way to have less toys available at a time.  Every month or 2 (or 3-6 if you’re like me) rotate the toys with toys you have in the house. I will often change out things that are similar, like duplos for magnatiles. Your children will enjoy playing with toys they haven’t seen for a while.

Simple Rules for New Toys

As your children grow, you will continue to have new toys come into the house. By having a few simple guidelines in place, you will be sure to have the best way to keep your home from becoming overrun by toys again. 

  • Donate what you notice isn’t getting played with. Make sure the toys are in good and working condition before you donate. GoodwillSalvation Army, or local thrift stores that support a good cause are great places to donate.
  • Purge often. I’m serious. Toys seem to have a way of sneaking in and getting crazy again. Well, toys and artwork! You have to periodically go through those extra toys and purge. Only keep the favorites.
  • One in, one out rule. Have a simple rule that you get rid of one toy for each new toy that comes in. It can be helpful to get ahead of the game before birthdays or Christmas by decluttering beforehand. Also, by decluttering ahead of time, your child will be more excited about it because of the excitement of new toys!

Hopefully, this gave you some incentives and ideas for decluttering your toys. With less toys to manage, you're sure to have less stress, which is a good thing for sure!  What other tips do you have? I’d love to hear from you.

Be sure to also read:

Why Simplify? 8 Compelling Reasons

Help! What to do with Kids' Artwork

15 Ways to Simplify Your Day