I’ve learned over the years that less stuff = less mess… ESPECIALLY when it comes to toys! Whenever my house starts getting too messy, I know it’s time for a toy purge.
Side Note: I actually LOVE organizing things. I love reading books about it, practicing it in my own home, and I’ve even been hired by others to organize their stuff…so I think I know a few things by now;). Luckily my own little family gives me plenty of opportunities to organize and reorganize and really learn systems that work;)
I thought it would be fun to take you guys along on a recent toy purge I did and I’ll show you my easy 5 step process!
Step #1 – DUMP
I just dump all the toys out onto the living room floor. What a mess!
Step #2 – SORT
I put everything into piles by category….wooden blocks, cars, dress ups, ponies, stuffed animals, trains, etc.
Step #3 – 50% RULE
This is the best part…it’s also the hardest! I go through each little pile and get rid of HALF of it. Here is an example with the toy cars…I got rid of the ones that were kind of junky and old. And look, we still have plenty of cars left! I go through every single pile and get rid of half of it: the mega blocks, stuffed animals, dolls, wooden blocks, little people, etc.
These are the questions I ask myself when I’m getting rid of stuff:
- Is it played with regularly?
- Does it spark creativity?
- Is it a long lasting/high quality/durable toy?
- Is it something I would like to keep for my gandkids?
If the answer is “no” to the above questions – it goes! (More about this at the end…)
I do have to note here that my husband LOVES collecting toys from thrift stores, particularly transformers and Chevron cars…so I don’t touch those two things. I let those slide for his sake;)
Step #4 – CONTAIN AND LABEL
This part will look different for everyone. I already had a bunch of these bags, so that’s what I’ve been using for years and it works great for us (plus they were free!). But I bet clear plastic containers would work great too. I put all the sorted toys into the bags and I label them. Ahhh, it’s looking much better already!
Step #5 – PUT AWAY
I store most of our toys in this bin and I keep it in the closet. The important thing here is to keep most of the toys in a closet or up high somewhere.
The idea is that the kids can have 1 or 2 bags out at a time, but not all the bags! This makes clean up way easier, and it keep the toys fresh and fun for the kids. If they have access to all their toys all the time, they get bored of them really easily. So this system works great because they rotate through the toys. (Plus I’ve noticed my kids are much more motivated to clean up if the mess is small, so it’s helpful for them to manage the mess better!)
Here’s what I do with the stuff we don’t want anymore:
I grab two bags and label them “donate” and “sell.” The toys that still look newish I put in the “sell” bag and we usually take it to Kid 2 Kid or Once Upon a Child and get a few bucks from selling it. The rest of the toys we donate to DI.
Ahhh, it feels so good to have it all cleaned up! (I didn’t have as much to get rid of this time around because I just did a huge toy purge a few months ago!)
How Do My Kids Handle It?
My kids hate getting rid of their toys…it’s like the end of the world to them! So I just do it sneakily and they almost never ever notice the missing toys. Or, sometimes they do notice and so I just tell them the truth: “We don’t have room in our house for all these toys so let’s get rid of some of these old ones so we can have room for some new ones.” And they are usually fine with that;).
If you have any great tips for keeping toys clean and organized let me know in the comments!