Recently I have been working with a lot of clients on organizing/decluttering play rooms and living spaces that hold toys. Because kids interests range, the pile-up of toys can seem overwhelming. But have no fear, because I have some useful tips for how to tackle toy clutter. By breaking down the entire process into simple steps, grouping toys into similar categories, and storing where it makes sense for the kids, you can easily tame that toy clutter like a professional!
How To Tackle Toy Clutter
There is a foundation for organizing any project around your home (and your life)! Once you get in the habit of doing this for every major organizing project, it will become natural and easy!
We start by emptying the entire space. Then sort and categorize the items. Put items back in a way that focuses on how you use them. And, finally, label everything!!
I have a more in-depth tutorial for Organizing 101. This is my fool-proof way to organizing anything. The information below is strictly for kids toy storage!!
So kick the kids out of the house for the day so you can get all the toys organized once and for all!
Sorting And Categorizing
You have just collected all the toys. Like every single toy you have lying around your home. Make sure to do one final sweep to ensure you have everything. You can keep Legos in a bin because those hurt if you step on them. But everything else should be in a giant pile (out of bins) on the floor.
See that big giant pile sitting in the middle of your room now?? Allow that feeling of overwhelm to sink in. I say this because it will help with deciding what to keep and what to let go.
Take a big, deep breath and start working your way through the pile. Grab one toy. Whatever that toy is, that is your first category. Set that toy aside and find a few more of toys that belong in that category.
See another category of toys? Start grouping them together as well.
Continue this process until that massive pile is sorted. Keep a garbage nearby to dump anything that is just plain gross and garbage-y.
Now we get to go through our pile again!
I know what you are thinking… why would I do that? Well, I suggest going through each individual category to check to missing pieces/parts. Make sure everything in said category is worth keeping. And that everything is actually in the correct category.
I typically keep a large, clear bin next to me when I do this step. The bin is called “lost and found”. I put any missing or lost pieces in that bin. Then, when I am sorting and find something is missing a piece, I can check in that bin for it.
Let’s say I put together a puzzle and am missing pieces, I will put that puzzle into the bin with a Post-It saying I am missing X amount of pieces. As I find the missing pieces, I can change the number on the Post-It to know if the puzzle is complete.
Same goes with games, doll clothes/shoes/accessories, etc. I make sure to check everything. Why hold onto one piece when it will never be played with?
I also create piles for sell and donate as we go through the piles again. This is a really easy way to make sure you can visually see all the toys your children have accumulated and what you can part with.
Once everything has been given a second look, remove the donate and sell pile from your work space. We are only going to be focusing on putting away the remaining toys that you are keeping.
Storing Around The House
So getting everything sorted and categorized is easy for most of my clients…but the tricky part is where to actually store them.
I like to start by creating zones for kids toy storage ideas. I ask my clients where do the kids play at different times during the day. This greatly impacts where I store toys.
When I hear clients say the kids play all over the home, I try to get them to narrow down specifically where and when. So ask yourself these questions:
- Where does my child play when they wake up in the morning?
- Where does my child play after school?
- Where does my child play when I am making dinner?
Use these questions to determine where to place toys.
Let’s say your kiddos play in their bedrooms while you get ready in the morning. Make sure you keep an ample amount of toys in their bedroom for them to play with.
After school tends to lead the kids to the basement for games and some down-time, then make sure you keep those types of toys in that space to allow them to relax after a tough day of learning. Make sure to keep toys at their level so they can easily find and put away toys once they are finished!
Kids like to mimic you cooking? Keep your play kitchen with play food near you while you cook meals. It will actually reduce the amount of “extra” toys that make their way into the kitchen during meal time.
Hiding toys around the living room can also be super helpful in creating kids toy storage solutions.
Toys are finally stored where the kids play with them the most, so you can do your happy dance!! But we aren’t done yet. You must label everything in order to maintain this beautiful organizational system you just created.
There are a few ways to label your kids toys depending on age. You can do words, you can do pictures, or you could do pictures and words.
I have found that pictures are always easy, even for adults, so that is typically what I do for my clients.
Now it is your turn to set the date to actually tackle that toy clutter once and for all! Start by collecting every single toy you have in the house/car/etc. Then sort and categorize the giant pile. Go through all the categories again to make sure you have all the pieces/parts. Store the toys in areas around the house that make sense with where they play. And label everything!