Do you ever feel like toys somehow multiply at night while you are sleeping? It seems I go to bed and wake up and there are more of them than the day before! How does that happen!? When it comes to kids, this is probably the one area that is the most difficult to keep clean and organized. Having three kids of my own, I know this is true!
Believe it or not, it is possible to keep organize toys and keep them cleaned up and under control!!I actually have one secret tip to keeping on top of this task:
Clean and organize toys once every 3 – 4 months to keep them under control.
The manner in which you clean and organize is the same. However, if you do it a few times a year, it is a little simpler as they haven’t had as long of a time to get messy, lost and in disarray. I highly recommend you do this a few weeks before any event where more toys may enter you home such as birthdays and holidays.
That is why organizing toys in October of each year makes perfect sense! You can clean them up before you get ready to shop for Christmas or Hannakah and know what your kids really need (or what your house has room for them to get).
When I get ready to clean my kid’s toy areas, I make sure I walk in with all of my supplies in hand:
- Trash bag(s)
- Cleaning supplies (rags and spray)
If you are a checklist type of person, then you will want to use our form as well. It is free to download, just print click on the image to download and print out your copy!
The first thing I do before I start to organize toys is to clean up the room and put it all away. Now, that may sound strange, but this gives you a clean work area on the floor, so that you can start working.
Now that the room is generally clean, get your supplies ready. If you use boxes, label one TRASH and one DONATE and set them aside. If you do not have boxes, you can use trash bags and label them the same way.
Next, pick one corner of the room. This is where you will start. As you tackle each section, you will work your way clockwise around the room, until you are back at the beginning where you started.
First, remove everything from that small area in the corner. Dust and vacuum the clean space. Now, as you get ready to set things back in an orderly manner, look at each item. Determine whether it should be KEEP, DONATE or TRASH. Here is an easy guide to help you know what do do with the item. I have created simple flow charts for you to use when looking at each item to know if what you should do with it.
Click here to download Toy Question Flow Chart
As you look at each toy, ask these questions:
- Is the toy age appropriate? Have they gotten to old or outgrown the toy? If so, consider donating it or even boxing up to keep for younger children.
- Is it broken or missing pieces? If there is a piece missing, you may set it aside until the room is cleaned up in case it is located. If you are unable to find missing parts or it is broken, throw it away. If you find it simply need batteries or small repairs, go ahead and do that and then keep the toy.
- Is it important to your child? If it is a toy that is special to your child, make sure you keep it. If you are not sure, just set it into a box or bag and set aside for 6 months. If they do not ask for it in that time, then it may not be as important to them as originally thought, and you can then donate it.
- Do they play with it? If you are not sure if they will really miss the toys, box them up and consider storing them for up to 6 months. If they do not ask for it during that time, then you can donate it. If you know for sure they no longer play with something, go ahead and donate it.
- Is it a duplicate? Sometimes kids have more than one of the same toy. Consider keeping only the item that is in better shape and either donate or throw away the other one.
As you look at the item, you can go through the flow chart to decide if you keep, toss or donate the item. Place the trash or donate items into the bag or box. Place all other items in a large pile. You will put these away once you are done going through everything.
Work around the room and go through all items on shelves, in bins, bags, boxes, etc. It will take a while and you will end up with a VERY large pile of toys you are keeping. You may also end up filling multiple bags and/or boxes with items that are trash or for donate.
If you are in doubt, some of the items we trash include:
- Toys from meals or doctor’s offices
- Broken pieces
- Stickers (that are not sticky)
- Pieces of toys we know we do not have or can not be repaired
It may also be nerve wracking to get rid of a toy. It seems when you do, that is when your child suddenly MUST have it. If you have a place in your home where you can store a couple of boxes or bags, I would do so for a period of 3 – 5 months. Then, if after that timeframe your child has not asked for the toy, he or she has probably forgotten about it and it is time for you to go ahead and give it away.
Now that you have all of the trash and items to donate out of the room, it is time to put everything away. As you do so, you might consider how your kids play. Put the “play house” items together. That would include a kitchen set, dolls, etc. Also place the car items together such as race tracks, cars, etc. By keeping them organized in the room, it can cause less of a mess when your child decides to play.
As you find the small items such as the little cars, army men, LEGOs, etc, there are some options out there. You can purchase organizing stations, such as this one:
(Click Image to Learn Where to Buy)
You can also use lidded containers, such as these, and place them onto shelves:
(Click Image to Learn Where to Buy)
We actually use open bins to keep our kids toys stored, and it works great as it is easy for them to pick up at night before they go to bed:
(Click Image to Learn Where to Buy)
Other ideas for storing toys include:
- Oatmeal containers
- Coffee containers
- Metal Cans
- Metal Tins
- Plastic Bins
- Open shelving
- Baby Wipe containers
- ….. and more!
Just look around your house to see what you might be able to recycle to use to store your own kids toys. When you put them into storage containers, try to group like items together. Farm animals and trucks in one. Card games could be in another. Place coloring books and crayons in yet another bin. This way, it is only ONE bin, container or tub that is pulled out when it is play time, and can make it much simpler to clean up and put away.
Once everything is put away, give your kids a tour of their toys. Show them where they can find what it is they want. They may end up playing with those items that they have not touched in a year.
This is also a great way to help them learn how to put things back when they are done. They are never too young to learn how to clean up after themselves. When it is organized, it can make it easier for both you and your kid(s) to keep it all cleaned and organized!
What additional tips do you have to add to our list?
Please share them below or on our social media page – we will be adding the to this post!