Did anyone else have a vision pre-kids of what their home would look like? Toys would always be put away in their own room, never left strewn about the house, and there would absolutely not be toys left in the bath. Fast forward a few years: there’s toys in every room, a broken bubble machine that’s been sat on top of the washing machine for 6 months, and a garage of cars in the bathroom.
Decluttering is a popular past-time, especially at this time of year – you only have to look at the popularity of the KonMarie method to see that, but when the toy clutter seems to be everywhere it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to begin. Just a few simple steps though could be all you need to follow to regain your home back from the land of misfit toys!
The weeks following Christmas are often a great time to naturally de-clutter; kids will likely have new toys and no one has unlimited storage space. Set aside a few hours to get all the toys out and see what you’ve got – if your kids are older then they can help with the process, with toddlers you may find it easier to do this when they’re not with you. Anything that is broken and unfixable (or even fixable but you’re realistically not going to get around to mending it!) should go straight in the bin. Anything that’s still in good shape but they’ve grown out of or no longer play with can either go in a charity shop pile, or in a storage box if you want to save it for younger siblings. Hopefully this should leave you with a more manageable pile to start working with!
Organisation Is Key
Once you’ve sorted out what you’re planning to keep then it’s time to talk storage. Organisation only works if it’s functional for your family: systems that are over-complicated likely won’t work very well for very long! Make it easy on yourself: corral like things together so you can see what size and how many storage boxes or bags you need, and think about making it easily accessible for your kids – so one crate for lego, another for cars, another for trains etc. This makes it easy for them to find what they want, and easy for them to put it away themselves after they’ve finished playing. Signs on the front can make that extra easy – even a toddler can help tidy up if they know that the cars go in the box with the picture of a car on the front! If you don’t have a dedicated playroom and your kids tend to move their toys about the house then maybe consider a small toy basket in each room, then once a week toys can be returned to their rightful home and the toy mountain never gets out of hand.
Think Outside The Home
If you live where space is at a premium then you may not have a lot of extra room for storage inside the home – this is where you need to get creative. If you have an attic or garage then you could use that to store items that you don’t need every week – think toys or clothes that you are saving for younger siblings or heirloom items that you want to keep for the next generation (make sure to wrap and label them well). If that isn’t an option then maybe consider renting a storage unit – this can be especially useful for bulkier items like bikes or large play sets. Just ensure that you keep to the same organisation principles as inside your home – don’t take things there unless they are in good condition, and put them in easy-to-find, well-labelled boxes to make it easy on yourself when you come to collect them.
Keep On Conquering
For best practice, follow the steps above every few months to keep on top of the toys and ensure they don’t get out of hand. Be ruthless about what your kids play with, find systems that work for you and encourage your children to tidy up themselves to keep the clutter conquered once and for all!