Toy organization can be a nightmare for many parents – especially if you are a mom or dad of more than one child. It seems the more you have, and the older they get, the faster their belongings multiply! I have three kids. Their toys have multiplied like gremlins. With Christmas around the bend, it can be scary to think of how many more cars, puzzles, and books will be added to the stash. The very thought of one more toy, book, or puzzle being added to our mix was enough to make me hyperventilate and send me into declutter mode. By working to declutter kids toys prior to the holidays, however, I am able to breathe easier – and not step on a LEGO! Here’s 5 steps to decluttering your kids’ toys before Christmas, to help you save your sanity… and the tender soles of your feet.
First, let me say that step one may make you want to run and hide. Just stick with it. You can do this!
5 Steps to Decluttering Your Kids’ Toys Before Christmas
1. Pull all of the toys from their boxes, bins, shelves – whatever you use to store them. This gives you a complete view of everything that needs to be sorted and decluttered. It’s good to have ample room to work, so I suggest the living room or bedroom floor. If there are multiple storage areas for toys in your home, work on one at a time to prevent being overwhelmed!
2. From the large stash of toys in your floor, create three separate piles.
Pile 1 – Toys that are broken/missing pieces; puzzles with missing pieces; books with torn, drawn on, or missing pages
Pile 2 – Toys that are no longer wanted, too young for your children, aren’t that special to them, have dead batteries
Pile 3 – Toys that your kids want to keep, special items
IF your children are old enough, have them assist you with sorting the toys. Focus on the need to clear out broken toys as well as those that aren’t played with often to make room for gifts that will come during the holidays. IF, however, your children are like mine and insist that every forgotten toy is suddenly their favorite, this would be a great time to let them watch their favorite DVD or favorite show on Netflix.
3. Get rid of toys in piles 1 & 2. Most of pile 1’s toys can be tossed in the garbage. The things that in Pile 2 that still work and have all their pieces should be donated to a local church or daycare. If they are practically brand new, you could even try selling them for some Christmas cash!
4. Organize the remaining toys into labeled bins. Put the books in a box of their own, or get a bookshelf for better storage and decluttering. LEGOs and other toys with several pieces should have their own individual containers, so they get properly put up at the end of the day. Stuffed animals can be put in a “pet net” that hangs from the ceiling.
5. Once you have everything organized, decide what will be left in the toy area. Most kids have WAY too many toys to leave out at once. Begin alternating toys so that the space remains clutter-free, and the kids can actually enjoy the few toys they have to play with – and have room for the new additions from Christmas!
If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to set rules for the toy area. For example, we have a shelf full of games and homeschool related items. My kids are not allowed to touch things on that shelf without permission. Also, they are required to put toys away before moving on to the next toy to be played with.
Another hint, and this one is for those of us with multiple toy areas: Once you’ve gone through all the toys throughout the house, it may be worth it to do a second decluttering. When you have multiple toy areas, you don’t realize just how many toys exist until you’ve been through them all, and you may have kept too many from the first area before moving to the second (or third, and so on).
A quick double check could mean getting even more things out of your home before the holidays!
My husband and I just decluttered our basement toy area on Sunday. We immediately took the bags of decluttered toys to the nearby charity drop box. I did NOT want them in my house calling out my kids names with temptation to open the box and “rescue” toys. Trust me… I’ve learned the hard way.
What are your best tips for decluttering before Christmas?