Preview: If you are overwhelmed with toys, looking for toy organization ideas, or making room for Christmas gifts, use this simple plan for toy clean out!
Quick- what color is your floor?
Can you see it? Or is it covered in toys? Like mine.
Parenting should come with a warning that your home will be covered in toys for at least the next 10 years or so. The more kids you have, the more toys you have and the longer it will be until you can see your floor again.
Trust me, I know. I have three kids under 5 years old. There are a lot of toys here. And not a lot of “cleaning up”.
I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with toys. This is because when my husband and I bought this house, they told us we would likely never have children. Well, we sure showed them. Now all five of us live in a house that we intended to fit only two of us. It’s a bit crowded and I am constantly moving things around to “fit” everything. Especially toys.
Every holiday I panic wondering where I am going to put more stuff! Although we try to minimize toy gifts, with 3 kids and a big extended family- it is necessary to do a toy clean out before birthdays and especially before Christmas.
Now comes the tough part. Determining which toys they actually play with versus which to donate/toss out can be a challenge. I stand in the playroom and look around in despair. Every. Single. Time.
I came up with a fun and easy system that will:
- Keep the kids busy for a month!
- Get them to actually play with their toys
- Figure out which toys they really play with
- Determine which toys they have out grown or don’t play with anymore
- Get rid of unwanted toys to free up space
- Bonus: Get some ideas for Christmas gifts!
With one sheet of paper, you can accomplish all of these things.
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(Almost) Effortless Toy Clean Out:
- Print out this blank 30-day calendar= Toy Rotation Calendar – LIHP
- Get a pencil and take a walk around the playroom/closet/toy storage
- Take a mental inventory of toys and start adding one toy item per day onto the calendar. You can be as specific or as general as you want (i.e, “blocks” or “Lincoln Logs”) depending on what/how much you need to purge.
One toy or item for each day. Fill in the whole month or do one week at a time. Make it work for your family.
4. Now let them play! Each day pull out the toy listed for that day and your kids play with it.
- If they love it, put it back in the playroom to keep.
- If they don’t play with/don’t like the toy, put it in a pile to donate (Don’t worry, I have complied 15 places to donate/sell used toys– even stuffed animals!)
- If they really love it (if they don’t want to put it back or beg to keep playing the next day), you may have found some ideas to add to their Christmas list. Maybe last year your son was too little for LEGOs but this year he can build them on his own. You could tell Santa to add to his collection.
- If nothing else- you got them to play with their toys for a month!
Instead of spending hours going through the entire play room one toy at a time, this process is a less stressful way to declutter and purge.
Additional tips for success:
~As you pull out a new toy/toys each day, be sure to toss out anything with broken or missing pieces.
~Consider using this calendar again and again. Even if you aren’t doing a toy clean out, you could use this same toy-schedule technique to get kids to play with their toys and keep using their imaginations everyday.
~This list could also serve as Mommy & Me time! One thing you can play with the kids everyday. How much would they love that?
~I also use this calendar for toy rotation. Some days we use it, some days are busy and we miss that toy but add it on at the end of the month. It keep the kids from getting bored and allows me to cook dinner without breaking up a fight every 5 minutes!
~If you haven’t tried it yet, the Happy Mom System Challenge has a section on organizing toys! This is a free 3-step challenged that aims to help moms organize, automate, and simplify to get back more time with their families.
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Questions? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org I would be happy to answer any questions or help any way I can. I personally receive and respond to every email. Moms have to stick together!
Now that you have a pile of toys to donate, here are 15 places to donate used toys (and sell used toys).
I just love finding ways to kill two birds with one stone (or 4 bird in this case)! And organization always makes me a Happy Mom! Toys are purged, children in need get toys to love, you have more room in the house, and the kids go to play with their toys. Now that’s what I call a successful toy clean out!