Top Tips for Tidying Toys
I have helped many families declutter, reorganise and decide upon storage solutions for playrooms and bedrooms. As an ex-primary school teacher and mum to three girls, this is a task that I know only too well! My girls have far too many toys and it can be a constant battle to keep the toys organised. When I starting thinking about my top tips for tidying toys, I needed to think about a real situation. That where my three daughters really helped.
As my own children are now 12, 11 and 9 years old, I tend to let them declutter their own bedrooms. It’s my job to make sure that they have adequate storage and shelving to store all their books and nick knacks creatively and aesthetically. With younger children I personally think it’s far easier, quicker and effective to declutter and reorganise when they are out. This is because they tend to want to keep EVERTHING (every shell, broken car, old T-shirt) they’ve ever owned which makes the process challenging! However, I would ask your kids if there are any toys/clothes that they are happy to part with before you declutter and ultimately donate elsewhere.
You will have to make some decisions on toys when they are not around particularly if you know your child never plays with it or if there are pieces missing etc. I am not particularly ruthless. I believe that we should keep sentimental items such as favourite books that have special memories, drawings, first shoes, first outfit…the list goes on. I have bought my children a large box each with a lid that contains all their special items some of which I have wanted them to keep and some that they have chosen to keep. (This will no doubt be a blog in itself soon!). Now I want to focus on my top tips for tidying toys.
When do I have to declutter?
There are certain times of year when it is crucial to declutter such as before a child’s birthday or before Christmas. These days, children often get loads of presents. Although it’s very generous of friends and family to buy them, it can be stressful knowing that you are going to be the person finding homes for them all when your house may already be fit to burst.
Are your child’s belongings accessible to them?
When I was a teacher, I spent a lot of time making sure that the classroom was organised so that the children could be independent learners. It’s important that dictionaries, stationary, maths equipment etc are easily accessible for the children. This enables them to make decisions on what they need to improve their learning themselves.
This applies to your child’s toys and belongings at home too. If they know where to find their cars, puzzles etc they will not need to involve you as much as an adult. If their toys are all in a muddle and shoved into any available space in your home they will have no reason to try and put them back in an orderly manner.
I advise my clients to install shelving units with boxes such as those from the KALLAX range in IKEA, wall shelving and units with deep drawers that can fit larger toys. Similar items need to be stored together so that putting toys away is quick by either you or your child. Too many toys will make you and your child feel overwhelmed particularly if you are running out of space to store them. Having less toys increases creativity and encourages children to look after their own posessions.
Keeping on top of the volume of toys is never ending which is why regular tidy ups and reviewing storage is essential. I have devised my own top tips for tidying toys which have helped to keep our living space organised.
Clear Out Clutter’s Top Toy Tidy Tips
1. Are the toys/clothes age appropriate?
This can be quite a quick process. Grab all the toys that your child has simply grown out of and make piles or label boxes with CHARITY, FAMILY, MEMORY BOX, RECYCLE/BIN.
I always aim to take charitable items to the shop the day I declutter or I put them straight into the boot of the car ready to take the next day. This prevents the sorted items ending up sitting for weeks in the hall. If I think the local nursery may want them, I call them and drop them off that day. I have several little nieces and like to ask my relatives if they want any items from their older cousins rather than just turn up with toys or clothes that they simply don’t want. Taking a photo and wats app-ing it over can let them decide what they want, the rest then goes to charity or donated/sold.
2. Keep similar or same toys together
Toys such as Lego, Playmobil and Sylvanian families should be kept in one box and I’d recommend only allowing them to play with these toys once all other toys are out away due to all the little pieces. You can buy play mats for Lego or cheaper still, you can buy a builder’s plastering tray from your local B & Q like they do in nursery and reception classes. Also, have you ever stood on a rouge Lego piece?! Say no more! Keeping these toys contained stops pieces from getting lost and lessens arguments about who’s tidying it away! (I’m sure I’m not alone here…)
3. Do they play with or use the toy/game?
If the toy is accessible to them and they don’t play with it, donate it. Often, we can end up with multiple copies of the same book or game. You can re gift or donate it. It’s better that someone else enjoys it rather than it gathering dust in your home if it’s not used.
4. Toy Rotation
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of this method. However, this works for many people. If you can access your loft easily, you can store labelled boxes with toys or games and bring them down every so often for your child to play with. If your child doesn’t show much interest in the toy then maybe you can decide whether the time is right to donate and create more space for you. It can be a good idea to hide away some toys given at Christmas and birthdays and bring them out at another time. I think this particularly applies to craft kits!
5. Let them sell unwanted toys and clothes that no longer fit
My children sell their unwanted items and they are allowed to keep the profit. I may list it for them as obviously we need to be careful with social media. Make sure that you have a box in which to keep instructions for toys in as it helps when selling.
6. Craft/Art Supplies
I know it’s tempting to have pretty boxes for everything but it’s much easier to have a clear plastic box for craft so you can see exactly what it contains. If you want to be super organised, I’d also suggest having separate smaller boxes that contain sequins, lolly sticks, glue sticks and cellotape etc. My own children were (and still are) arts and craft mad so I bought them a scrap book each so that they could decide which pieces they wanted to keep to stick into the book. They are now all neat and tidy in the memory boxes in the loft.
If you are looking for resources to help support your organising and decluttering visit our shops pages. You may find what you are looking for or indeed get ideas on what can help. We have three shops – an office shop, a wardrobe shop and a kitchen shop.
I love thinking up creative/cost effective ways to help you improve on storage so if you would like help to declutter and organise your home. I provide a range of decluttering services from home staging before a house sale to hoarding clearance services depending on your needs. Please contact Helen at Clear Out Clutter by emailing: email@example.com or text/call: 07962 275956.