At our house, we have toys coming out your ears. With three boys ranging from three to twelve years-old, We probably have about every toy they sell in the “boy aisles,” or at least that’s the way it seems at times. I recently decided that enough was enough and set up a rotation plan for the toys that seems to be working really well. Here are some tips and tricks to get you on your way to a less cluttered home:
- Go through the toys when the kids aren’t around. That’s the most important tip I can give. If my seven year-old is anywhere in the house, he can sense when I’m about to pack up a toy he hasn’t played with in months, and it instantly becomes his new favorite toy. I’m pretty sure in 20 years you will see him on an episode of “Hoarders,” but I digress.
- Have three tubs (or areas) handy. One each for keep, store and donate. A trashcan is handy to have nearby for any broken or non-salvageable toys (Or, in our case, the 800 happy meal toys the kids seem to acquire even though we rarely eat fast food).
- To help you decide which toys to store, first think about how often they are played with. If a toy is no longer age-appropriate, consider whether it might be appropriate to keep for any other children you have later on. With the big age gaps between my boys we hand things down often.
- Take a photo of what’s in the box or storage container and tape it to the front. I’ve re-bought toys because I forgot what is in the tubs in our basement. I can’t tell you how many times I bought the same Imaginext Batman car. Actually, I can tell you. THREE times. *shakes head*
- Set a reminder on your calendar or computer for every three months to go through the toys again (I go through them before every birthday and then at Christmas). When you bring out what you’ve put away because the kids weren’t playing with, they may often seem new again and they will get played with much more than they were before. If your kids still aren’t playing with a certain toy or game after you’ve brought it out, consider donating it.
With these simple steps, you will be well on your way to a de-cluttered toy area and less stress. I often search Pinterest.com for great storage ideas as well. It’s a great way to find ideas you can do yourself less expensively. Your kids will also have less stress and more fun playing now that they aren’t overwhelmed with too many choices of what to play with.