Organizing kids’ toys, playrooms and bedrooms can be a monumental task but these easy tips will help you declutter your kids’ rooms and get them organized!
Here’s an excerpt about organizing kids playrooms and bedrooms from one of our Saving with Kids e-books.
Organizing Kids’ Rooms and Toys
I was just organizing kids toys for the boys yesterday. It’s funny– Kids really do love a clean room!
BJ (13) asked David (7) “Would you please ask mom to help you clean up your stuff!” Not even two seconds later, David came out and said, “Mom can you please help me clean up my room”. After it was cleaned up, they both said “Thank you so much mom!”
Kids love neat and clean areas just as much we do. I know kids need to keep their own stuff picked up but there are times when the cavalry does need to come in and save the day.
Make piles and label boxes according to these categories:
Trash (I bring in the kitchen trash can and just throw it straight in there.)
Sort and put away in room
Yard sale/Give away
Put in another room
Pack and store
I can’t stress enough how important it is when organizing kids’ rooms to be ruthless in getting rid of your children’s excess toys. As parents, we know we are supposed to protect our children physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Often we worry so much about others harming our children in these areas but, more often than not, we are the ones who do the greatest harm to them. One of the ways that we forget to protect our children emotionally is by allowing them to have so many toys and things that they become overwhelmed and frustrated.
I know this may seem like something trivial compared to what is going on in the world, but you have to realize your child’s room and toys are his world. Children really aren’t interested in anything else but their own spheres, and if that little world of theirs is piled with mounds of toys and other things, it can be overwhelming for them to deal with on a daily basis.
I can’t handle it if I have too many things to choose from, and I’m an adult. What did you feel like the last time you went to buy something new like shampoo or make-up? Were you overwhelmed with so many different kinds to choose from? There’s nothing wrong with any of them. It’s just that there are so many kinds. Put yourself in your child’s place. A child isn’t as emotionally mature as you are. Imagine how he feels.
I just watched an organizing show where the parents (at the advice of the organizer) spent several hundred dollars on shelving and storage containers to store the children’s toys. One container alone held 75 small cars. No child needs 75 or more of any type of toy at all. Do you know how much money could have been saved on shelving and containers if they had just gotten rid of more of those toys? Think of the headaches you have just trying to keep all those toys under control.
Don’t feel guilty or think you are depriving your children when you reduce excess toys. You are doing them a favor, and besides they probably won’t miss them. Have you noticed how children usually play with the same handful of toys over and over? In the same way, we keep 25 different colors of eye shadow, but only use 3-4 favorites over and over. If the rest of them were dumped, we wouldn’t even miss them, and our kids won’t miss the extra toys, either
Of course, this doesn’t mean to be cruel and get rid of their favorite bears or dolls, but I’m talking about all those things buried at the bottom of their toy boxes and closets that haven’t seen the light of day for years.
Here are some other tips to help you get started organizing kids toys:
- Use drawers as toy boxes. Put 4 casters on the bottom and slide them in and out from under the bed.
- Use a wicker laundry basket to store toys. Then you can slide it under the bed if needed.
- Use a small kid’s swimming pool to store things under the child’s bed. They slide in and out easily.
- Zippered bags that blankets come in will work great for collections of toys such as small stuffed animals, army men and cooking supplies. They also stack nicely and can slide under the bed.
For lots more tips to organize, teach, inspire and motivate your kids, check out Living On A Dime’s Saving With Kids e-book series here.
PS Since I wrote this I saw a show where these 2 boys had mounds and mounds of toys. For fun they would throw their toys out their bedroom window to watch them break and shatter. The parents didn’t have a clue so they had someone come in to help and the first thing they did was take away all the toys but 10. The interesting thing was the boys took care of the toys better, put them up without a fuss and actually played with the toys. These facts might help some of you parents be more ruthless.
Some moms out there may not agree with this method but I wait until the kiddo is at school and weed out anything he hasn’t played with in the last few months. If it is something he really enjoyed playing with in the past, it gets stored away for when he asks about it but he has to “pay” me by choosing another toy or set to replace it in storage. I allow him to keep one small container that we call “junk toys” for those cruddy little odds and ends, fast food meal toys etc. I sift through that and just toss the broken and or cheapy stuff that he has forgotten about. He’s never missed anything this way. We know he’ll get more toys and things for Christmas and his birthday (right after Christmas) every year so around Thanksgiving, we do go through everything together and set a goal of getting rid of 25% of the things he doesn’t use anymore. We include movies, books and computer games as well as toys in this activity. This is a great time to stress the importance of donating things for people who are less fortunate.
What a great post! I’ve been needing to de-clutter my 5 year olds room for months now. He really doesn’t need all the toys he has in there now. Like you said he plays with the same ones over and over.
My friend also had another idea to rotate toy boxes. Put some toys away at the top of the closet. Every month or so take down that box and put some of the toys in his/her room now. That way you are rotating the toys and its like Christmas every month!
Rotating toys is a great way to go! As a young mother, I did that with my two young boys. Even now, in their 30’s they remember how excited they would be on toy changing night. They say it was like Christmas Eve. Of course, played with favorites would be exempt as well as blankies. Also, passing along the duds as soon as you notice is a good idea.
This is probably obvious, but I think another important thing to remember is to BUY less toys! We try to make a gift of a toy very special and very seldom. When family members ask for gift ideas for Christmas and birthdays I don’t hesitate to say what clothes they need, books, games to play as a family, etc. It seems like toys grow at night though because my children still have more than they can play with. :)
I remember my great aunt coming over when I was a little girl. She looked at all our toys and was shocked (which weren’t many by today’s standards). She told my mom she remembers having three toys growing up in the Depression Era. She wasn’t being mean or anything. It was more like she was just being nostalgic. Anyway, my mom thought about it and decided we had way too many toys. She ruthlessly purged our home of the extras. We just had our favorites left. The funny thing is that- though I remember sorting through our toys- I don’t remember ever missing any. It didn’t make any difference in our day to day play.
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I can attest to the idea of “rotating” toys. As a former Kindergarten teacher I rotated library books every week only putting out enough to keep them all interested and able to share. Not only did it instill an active interest in books it kept the books I had in much better condition.
Rotating toys would also keep them in better shape and if you have yearly yardsales the toys would fetch a better price as well. I don’t see any problem with the concept of if you get a new toy something in your toybox has to go. That might diminish the constant desire for something new (maybe!). It is worth a try….and of course too many toys are just overwhelming and make a child confused and frustrated. I found in my years of teaching that the kids who had less toys/video games etc at home were much more creative and their ability to concentrate was far superior.
When my kids were younger, I went into their rooms to clean when they were at school. One of them noticed there were many fewer toys in his room, and accused me of taking his toys away. I answered that yes I had, and that I would return anything he could identify as missing. He couldn’t, and I think that was a real eye opener for him. He is now the neatnik of the family and out on his own, with his own purposely minimally furnished apartment.
Sandi, that is brilliant!! I will have to use that one on my kids!
I am definitely borrowing that idea!
This is awesome! I will definitely use this one!
I’m not surprised. I expect he feels that he needs to keep a check on everything that he has and make his environment clearly visible, so that nothing would go ‘missing’ again.
grizzly bear mom
As an Auntie, every year I say that I am going to deposit funds in the kids’ savings accout but I don’t. This is great motivation to do so.
I think this strategy would work well for adult “toys”, too. My toys are books and board games. Now is a good time, as we enter a new year, to sort through these things for me, too. I like the idea of making a decision now instead of just holding on to them to decide another time. With the books I have already donated, I cannot even remember their titles so know that another batch of donations will give pleasure (I hope) to someone else and I can concentrate on reading the ones I really am interested in. Love these tips on sorting.
You are so right Maggie. I should have put on the title “Toys for all Ages”. :)
I just did this! I weeded out my overabundant collection of games (I had 4 sets of checkers AND 4 sets of dominoes!), card games and puzzles. I took them to different senior centers in our county. They were so excited to have them because they had games missing pieces and they have a share-a-puzzle program where center participants can check out a puzzle, put it together and bring it back and got again. I also donate a couple large boxes of books to my local library. What they don’t use, they will sell in their annual book sale. Now to make myself sort my material stash for quilting.
Way to go Brenda!! That is so good. You are on a roll. Even better is how excited and the good use they were able to put the stuff to at the senior center. One of our readers (Donna) said every time she urges herself to declutter she says a little prayer “I forgive myself for being imperfect and send this out to bless someone else.” I always thought that was nice to motivate a person.
I had to chuckle at the end when you said you were going to hit your quilting stash next. Brave lady. I am afraid I have a hard time with my fabric stash and have been stalling for a couple of days because I want to start sewing again and don’t want to do it until I get some order in my sewing room. :) :) Shame on me. I need to practice what I preach and get busy. You have motivated me to get on it. :)
I would like to know how to get rid of junk that a hoarder in our home collects. Namely my husband! It is terrible. He keeps chairs cluttered and the table toop cannot be set for dinner for his junk. I am often embarrassed when people come in and see his CLUTTER!!!!!
Linda I too lived with a hoarder. We compromised in that he kept his stuff out of the house and in the garage, basement etc. It was still hard. The thing is if you have a true hoarder it is one of those problems that you need to often get professional help with and/or do more then just come up with rules, setting down the law or even trying to insist they just get it cleaned up. It is an emotional problem, an addiction and goes way beyond saying you need to do 1,2,3 and this will fix it. It is a never ending battle and problem if not taken care of. Tawra’s dad’s whole family has major problems in this area so we know exactly what you are going through and is a complicated situation.
grizzly bear mom
Hello. My name is Grizzly Bear Mom and I am a bookaholic. I try to overcome this by dotting favorite books on the bottom of the spine and donating others. But they are so cheap at the dollar store and church bazaar I have to do this frequently. I have about 8 boxes of books to purge right now.
My girls and me go to Thrift stores. In order to get “new” toys they must be willing to “give their old not played with toys to the thrift stores. They actually ask to do so… lol
When my now 34,32 and 30 yr olds where preschoolers, (boy, am I old) I would get very frustrated with all of the toys everywhere. So I bagged up all but three apiece for each of them and put the rest in the top of their closet. I noticed that they did not even miss all the excess…imagine that!! We switched out toys from the bag for years. My 34 yr old still has his original Mickey Mouse and a Speak and Spell that I bought in the mid-eighties. Kids don’t miss all that stuff, and we don’t have to get everything that is advertised to little ones.
My 11 year old has every toy ever received since birth. Also older sibling gave their toys too. I have been working for a week on this overwhelming room filling boxes, and bins. This child does not want to get rid of anything, and wants me to store it all. After reading this article I will wait until school Monday & then start putting all this wonderful advice to use. I’m going to pull out only a few of the favorite (horses, cars, stuffed animals, books etc.), and the rest will go into my car & to the donation center. Thank you for freeing me – this has been so overwhelming & I’ve felt too guilty to just get rid of things. We really can’t keep piling storage boxes full of things that may never see the light of day again. This article makes me see that in the big huge box of horses there are truly on 5 favorites. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Oh my! It does sound like you have your work cut out for you Wendy. : ) But making up your mind to do it is sometimes half the battle. I know for a long time I never realized how much work it was keeping, storing and maintaining areas to store the stuff in and what a toll it was taking on me. It really is freeing. One hint though be sure to have it out of sight or out of the car before the kids get home from school. Tawra once filled the car with things of the kids to take to the thrift store but had to pick them up from school before she when there. They went crazy see all the things they hadn’t thought about for ages peeking out of boxes. Anyway way to go – sounds like you will be busy this next week. :)
I rotated toys every quarter with my two children. I also saved books and special toys as they outgrew them. My grandchildren have enjoyed these “antiques” very much! I also had books and a few toys my mother saved for my children and my older cousins saved. It is fun for children to read the Bobsie Twins that were published in the 1930’s and the Nancy Drews that were published in the late 50’s and early 60’s. A magnet toy that was sold before WWII has been a favorite down the line in my family and it is now saved for my grandson’s children. The history of a saved item can something that “ties” the family together and gets the old stories going!
For my kids… I have been looking for ways to help clean up my kids room of toys. Family members have bought them so much stuff and thank you for letting me feel more able to get rid of toys, or make a rotation. I have been looking for ways to limit and store toys. Our storage solution is kind of simple and cheap. Every month we are buying pull ups and diapers for our two kids, and we get at least two new boxes a month, sometimes three. I saved most of them, and have hot glued them together and added some duct tape to help strengthen and make them more solid while stacking them. I made a bookshelf, using max two boxes high and when I stacked them up, instead of putting them right above each other, I put the top box over where the bottom two joined so they looked like how you stack and build with bricks. I think it makes it more sturdy, and if the books get heavy you have support in the middle on top… but, I try to put all the heavier books on the bottom and lighter on top. On the very top, I have put toys on there, but found that putting stuffed animals all lined up saved more space. Those stuffed animals are pretty bulky, and you can make it as big or as small as you want, and you could add more on over time if needed. I have a mix of toys and books in there. They work well for lots of different toys, and no more kids digging out a billion toys in a box for one thing. They also hold those big bulky electronic toys well too. Trying to put those in like a tub or box is a pain because they eat up so much space. Even on top works for those. Another way I have used the boxes is by making cubbies. I have used the hot glue to glue them together, and some duck tape, but you could get by with just more duct tape. I cut out one of the ends on each box, four in total, and then put them together into one big storage system. That was pretty minimal space taken up, and they held more toys than the storage tub we had. For a while before Christmas hit, just about every toy minus the bulky electronic toys, and stuffed animals fit in there. I know that it might be tacky or whatever, but kids do so many destructive things and if they destroy the box stuff… all I am out is a bit of hot glue and some duct tape… and not an expensive purchase… one pack of 100 multi temp sticks has lasted me through so many projects, and it was only $8… I still have half the bag left. A single temp hot glue gun runs about $4. You can find cardboard boxes everywhere… you can even ask stores for their empty boxes and most give them away for free if you ask. For almost nothing you could find storage solutions of different kinds, and if they do not work or get destroyed, or your kids grow out of them… they are not going to be a waste of money. Even making your own fabric covered box (out of old shirts, sheets, or even bargain fabric) is cheaper than store bought ones. Or using like wrapping paper to wrap up the prints and stuff or even contact paper (that has many different patterns and fun designs on and is more permanent and can help protect the outside of the box) is cheaper than buying something actual, and possibly more safer. There is no screws, wood to splinter, and two diaper boxes high is not very tall and will not topple over on your kid and hurt them as much. If you keep heavy stuff on the bottom and lighter things on top its pretty safe for what I did, and there is no climbing to get things on a higher shelf or some place out of reach. The 2 box by 2 box chubby was probably about as tall as a kid table, and with a bit of something added to the top, could have been made into a table to stand and play at. I just put some other toys on top that are in buckets. With the shelf thing and the cubby thing I have more than enough room for toys and books for two kids, and spent almost nothing to make them.
Bean Bag Chairs
Quality information! I will share this with my followers on Facebook.
I’m a single mother of 2 children and my family like to get my child little thing and im not always able to clean there stuff by in the last year they have gone from a cheese ball container and a basket to 4 room over packed in stuff and and my family keeps spoiling them. I dont want to tell my family I dont new the stuff they get but i cant tell them no or ill lose my baby sitter and would no longer be able to work.
So is there any more tips on fast mass dejunking I have already fulled 3 costumer bags of just little toys they do need and donate it all .
There are no big secrets to decluttering the toys. Just pick out how many of their favorites you want to keep then just start filling up boxes and bags as fast as you and hauling it out of the house. It really is best to try to do most of it without the kids around too. After you get it cleaned up and under control then at every holiday like Christmas or their birthday when they receive more gifts have another big cleaning and tell them to get rid of as much as they can to make room for the new toys. With kids it helps them to let go of things too if you tell them you will be giving them to other kids that don’t have many toys and they will be more willing to let go.