One of the biggest complaints I hear from moms is that their house is filled with toys. They have so much stuff–especially after the holidays. They feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I’ve always loved a good purge (thanks mom!) so I started thinking about how I could share my process with you all.
It’s not rocket science but it does take some time and commitment.
For ways to re-imagine your play space check out my e-book Simply Play: Everything You Need To Know About The Most Important Part of Childhood which you can buy here ❤️
Decluttering Your Play Space
First and foremost, it’s important to declutter your space and do a purge of toys. This will allow you to see what you have, what you may need or want to add, and how best to organize everything in order to promote active play.
Use my three-step “Play, Learn, Thrive” process to declutter your toys and play space.
Step One: ALL toys, ONE spot
In order to see what’s really up with all things toy-related, you really need to see it all piled in one spot. This will allow you to really evaluate the full picture. I hear all the time how parents feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of toys they have in their home.
If you feel overwhelmed by the toys in your house, imagine how your child feels.
Purging will not only help minimize the amount of stuff you have but also free up space mentally for kids to engage more deeply in what you decide to keep.
Step Two: Piles and Categories
Now it’s time to begin to sort through all the mess. Go through and make piles in the following order. Following this process allows you to purge with intention. The last thing you want is to go through and declutter, only to turn around the next day and still feel overwhelmed.
Make piles of the following, in this order (there is a method to my madness):
First, sentimental toys: This could be toys given or made by a special family member or something from your own childhood. Or this could just be a toy that your kids really love for whatever reason.
Next, broken or abandoned toys: Any toys that are broken, ripped, don’t work, or missing pieces. Also include toys that your kids just don’t gravitate toward. If you are unsure about getting rid of something, put it in a box out of sight for a few weeks and see if your little one notices–chances are, they won’t.
Then, toys that don’t meet the “90/10” rule: These are toys that do more than 10% of the work for your child. Your child should be doing 90% of the work when playing with a toy. This is often going to include toys that have batteries, light up, talk, or move.
Lastly, categories: Look at what’s left. Make piles based on categories. So, for example, trucks, dolls, kitchen stuff, puzzles, blocks…each of these would be its own pile.
Step Three: Make Cuts
This is, for sure, the hardest part of the process. Your sentimental pile gets to stay. Broken and abandoned toys need to go. Don’t overthink it. Put them in a large garbage bag and keep moving. Now, begin to go through the toys that fall into the 90/10 pile. Is there anything in there that you REALLY think needs to stay? If so, keep it. The rest, put in a separate bag for donation. Take a hard look at your category piles. Do you have 15 trucks? Or 100 pieces of plastic kitchen food? What really needs to stay? Pick the highest quality, most loved, and most open-ended toys from that pile and put the rest into a bag for donation. Done.
For more playroom tips check out my e-book:
Simply Play: Everything You Need To Know About The Most Important Part of Childhood which you can buy here for only $4.99!
If you like this post and want to read more like it then check out these posts:
Toy for Toddlers: Encouraging Active Play
7 Essential Playroom Spaces (and why you need them)
The Power of Play
Top 10 Art Supplies for Kids
Types of Play Important for Development