Declutter kids' toys with my free printable decluttering calendar, and have a completely organized playroom by the end of the month!
It's monthly decluttering challenge time! Since the kids are heading back to school, I thought this would be the perfect time to tackle their toys and get the playroom or other toy area neat and organized. If you haven't joined in with one of our monthly challenges before, the goal is to take one area of the house and break it down into little decluttering baby steps so that it is easy to manage and stick to but still gets you great results!
The Easiest Way to Declutter Kids' Toys
I admit, I chose this month's theme a little selfishly because our playroom is in need of a good decluttering! I find myself going through the decluttering process with toys about every six months or so because my kids' routines and interests change, and I am always looking to get rid of anything they're no longer using. The decluttering calendar will be a great way to do that without taking too much time out of our crazy fall schedule!
I keep all of our decluttering calendars neatly organized in a “decluttering vault,” and you can gain access to them by clicking the button below.
[Looking for more ways to get organized? Head to our library of 50+ free organizing printables!]
You'll notice a few things when you download your toy decluttering calendar:
- There is a simple task to complete every other day. I know life can get crazy and schedules fill up, so by assigning a task only every other day, you essentially have two days to complete each one. That way if you get busy and miss a day or you have a lot of a particular item and it ends up taking a little longer than you expected, you have a built in day to catch up and won't fall behind.
- I intentionally didn't put specific days of the week on the calendar. The September calendar runs from day 1-30, but I didn't include a line that says "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc." on purpose so that the calendar could be used for any year (or any month, for that matter)!
- Feel free to just use this calendar as a guide. If you find yourself with extra time one day and know you'll be busy in future days, you can definitely do 2 or more of the tasks on one day, check them off, and then pick up again after your busy days have passed. The calendar is meant to get you started down the right path and give reminders of what to do next; it doesn't have to be a hard and fast rule.
Quick Tips for Decluttering Kids' Toys
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
I thought I would lay out the process I like to use when decluttering kids' toys. You can feel free to follow it exactly, tweak it to fit your liking, or completely disregard it and use your own strategy!
1. Gather up all of the items from the day's category.
Depending on how the toys in your house are currently arranged, this may take a little bit of time, particularly on the earlier days in the calendar. If all of the categories of toys are mixed together in a toy box or in bins (I know our bins can get mixed up sometimes!), it will take time to pick through them to locate all of the toys of a certain type. The good news is that after you've done the first few days of decluttering, it will get easier and easier because there will be less toys that are are jumbled together.
Gathering up all of the toys in the same category helps me (and my boys!) see exactly what we have so that we can more accurately determine what they still use and love and what has seen better days and can be either tossed or passed along to someone who will enjoy it more.
2. Purge like crazy!
This step can be especially tricky with toys because kids can have trouble letting go of things. (My boys do, at least!) I prefer to do the first pass through each category of toys while my boys aren't around. This lets me get rid of anything that is broken, unsafe, or anything I truly know they don't use anymore without them there to protest.
I would never throw away anything that is really significant to them without their permission, but there are typically a good number of items that I can weed out that they will never miss. (I swear sometimes the toys just multiply themselves overnight. Where do they all come from?! 😉 )
After I've done my first pass through, I go through the group of toys with the boys so they can decide what they want to keep and what can be passed along to someone else.
I think this is where you kind of have to figure out what strategy works best for your own kids. Some kids are more nostalgic or attached to their toys than others. (Or they may go through phases where they're more attached and phases when they're not.)
With my kids, reminding them that there are other children who will get a lot of enjoyment out of the toys they aren't using anymore tends to be enough to help them let go of things they truly are no longer interested in. Other kids might respond to a completely different tactic.
If your kiddos are having trouble letting go of things that you know they really don't play with anymore, you could do a trial run where you box up the toys and put them in a storage spot like the basement or garage for a bit to see if they miss the items or never give them a second thought.
3. Put items back in an organized way.
Though it might take a little bit of time to extract all of the toys from the same category, the nice thing is that when you have them all grouped together and have gotten rid of the items your kids are no longer using, you can easily see what type of bin or storage container would be appropriate for the items you have left.
I tend to go for a lot of bins that are open at the top for toys because I figure that the easier it is for the boys to put the items away, the more likely the are to actually do so!
The exception to that would be if I have a set of items that I'm trying to keep together. For example, they have a set of Qixels that need to stay together so they can create their designs when they're ready to play with them, so I have all of the Qixel supplies in a lidded bin that snaps shut to keep everything all in one place.
No matter what bins or storage systems you decide to use, they biggest key is that everything has a place, and the easier it is to put each toy back in its place, the better!
4. But what if I don't have a dedicated playroom?
I have totally been there! From the time my kiddos were teeny babies until they were 5 and 7, we lived in a little townhouse that had no space for a dedicated playroom. We ended up dividing up our living room area, with half of it serving as our hang out/TV watching space and the other half holding all of their toys.
While I wouldn't call our setup "ideal," we made it work by decluttering consistently to keep the number of toys down, being careful about which toys we allowed to come into our house, and having a dedicated spot for each toy we owned. (And pretty labels always help too! 🙂 )
My friend Chelsea at Making Home Base also created a cute toy corner in her living room when her house didn't have a dedicated playroom if you're looking for more inspiration!
No matter how big or small our toy storage space, going on a thorough decluttering spree always helps us make the most of the space we have.
5. Give yourself a reward!
I know I can become a little more motivated if I promise myself a reward when I've finished all of my decluttering tasks! You can use the "Notes" section of the decluttering calendar to decide what your reward will be. Some ideas may be...
- A special date night with your significant other (especially if they've helped with the decluttering process!)
- Or if the whole family has pitched in, a special family trip to the zoo, museum, trampoline park, movies, etc.
- A manicure/pedicure
- A girls' night out
- A day off to spend however you'd like
The possibilities are endless! Choose something that motivates you to keep going throughout the month!
6. Maintain your beautifully decluttered toy area.
Now that we've worked hard to declutter our playroom, the last thing we want to do is fill it right back up with more clutter! I know this can be hard, especially if you have little kiddos that have trouble putting things back where they go. It can definitely be a battle in our house!
Some ideas you could try to help everyone in the family to put items back:
- Involve them in the organizing process and let them weigh in on where things should go, especially in the playroom since we are dealing with their items. This lets them have some ownership over the space and makes them more likely to put things back.
- Use labels. In the playroom I typically do labels that have both the word and the picture so that readers and non-readers alike can identify where everything goes.
- Once you've gotten everything where you want it, have the kids give the adults a "tour" of their play space, showing everyone where everything goes. This allows them to show off some of their favorite toys and reinforces their knowledge of where everything belongs.
- Designate consistent clean up times. In my experience, it is always easier to get the boys to clean up if there are only a few items they need to put away, rather than if it looks like a bomb went off in their playroom, leaving them feeling overwhelmed. We try to take a few minutes after dinner each night to straighten up the house, and by keeping up with it a little at a time, we only get to "it looks like a bomb went off" territory every once in a while. (Yep, it definitely happens from time to time!)
That's it! It's a simple process, but I've found that having a guide-- like a decluttering calendar-- to walk me through it makes me more likely to follow through and stick to the plan. Again, you can request your decluttering calendar and gain access to the "decluttering vault," which will contain every new calendar when they come out each month, by clicking the button below.
If you're looking for more inspiration for decluttering kids' toys, these posts may be helpful:
Which decluttering themes would be most helpful for future monthly challenges? Let me know in the comments!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.