If you’ve ever felt like your kids’ toys are taking over your house, trust me:
You are not alone!
As a minimalist, I have had endless discussions with my family about my kid having too much stuff. For example:
Me: “Ma, if you really want to buy him something just get him a membership to the zoo or aquarium. We don’t have room for anymore toys or clothes in the condo.”
The next day my mom shows up with a zoo pass AND a box full of toys.
Over time I’ve just come to terms with the fact that-no matter how much we ask for more experiences or money towards the college fund for Little Grasshopper- people will just keep buying him more toys and clothes. And I get it….kid’s stuff is just fun to shop for!
So while it’s good to make your preferences clear, I found that the best way to deal with having too much kids’ stuff is just to manage it. With that said, here are 9 tips to keep toys from taking over your house:
1-) Use tasteful kids’ storage/decor
I don’t know about you, but I find that super bright toys, decor, and storage for kids gets old fast. It may look cute in the store, but when you bring it home and it clashes with everything in your living room? Not so much.
Little Grasshopper’s play area is a small nook in our living room, so I made it look like part of the living room. He has a small area rug that matches our larger area rug, shelves that are part of a living room set, and galvanized metal storage bins as containers. The play area blends almost seamlessly into the main living area, and as a result it feels less overwhelming.
2-) Follow the one-in, two-out rule (or more)
You’ve probably heard of the one-in, one-out rule before. Basically it means for every new item that comes into the house, get rid of one. However, with toys the trade isn’t always fair in space. In other words, if you buy a big play cooking set then just getting rid of a small stuffed animal isn’t going to help with space.
Instead, donate/sell as much as you need to in order to balance the space lost by the new toy(s). Depending on the ages of your kids, you can use these opportunities to teach them about being neat and about giving to others (if you’re donating the toys).
3-) Buy less, repurpose more
For the longest time my toddler’s favorite toys were a metal mixing bowl and a wooden spoon in my kitchen. And based on my conversations with other moms, this is not the exception to the rule. After all, our kids look up to us! They want to use the same things we do!
So if your kids feel bored of their toys, let them play with items around the house you already have! My toddler even used tissue boxes as blocks before. Be creative!
4-) Purge your own stuff
Unless you live in an isolated bubble, chances are you have much more control over the amount of your stuff than the amount of your kids’ stuff. Even if you are having a hard time keeping the amount of toys under control, you can reduce the overwhelm by making sure your own space is neat. If necessary, you could even loan some of your space to your kids toys. For example, rather than baby proofing the doors and drawers when we got our entertainment center, we opted to put toys in there (in all honesty, we didn’t have a better use for it anyway). It’s hidden toy storage, and our little man is happy that he can go into certain cabinets without getting in trouble! It’s a win-win!
If you need some general organization help then I can help you! Just enroll in my FREE Organization Boot Camp and I’ll guide you through a process of getting any space you’d like organized! You’ll also receive daily worksheets that you can save and use over and over again in the future! To join, sign up with your name and email in the box below. Or click here to learn more!
5-) Clean up every night
Fact: kids make huge messes when they play. You could have an entire floor of your house devoted to a play area, and their toys will still find a way to unexpected places!
To help with this we got in the habit of cleaning up after our little one goes to bed every. single. night. If you have a good toy organization system, it really only takes 10-15 minutes. And it serves multiple purposes: a-) we wake up to an organized living room every morning (so we’re not stressed right when we wake up), b-) we keep a regular eye on how many toys we have, c-) we minimize the number of times we sit or step on an edge-up lego (you guys…legos are seriously dangerous!). It’s really a good and important habit all around.
6-) Let the pets and kids share
You know the last time we bought toys for our cats? No? Yea…me neither. I’m pretty sure that our cats and little one have a mutual understanding: if the cats get to chase the ball pit balls around then Little Grasshopper gets to play with their toy mice. Hey, it works!
So if your kids enjoy playing with Fido’s pet bed and Fido enjoys sleeping in the kids’ tent then let them! Of course you always need make sure everyone is safe (Fido shouldn’t have access to choking hazards!), but let everyone get creative!
7-) Choose toys that double as storage
Some toys are just big and obnoxious. But other toys are big and useful! For example, a kid’s kitchen is big, but you can use it for storing smaller toys such as chop-able food. Similarly, train tables can store train sets and doll houses can store doll supplies. See the trend here?
8- ) Use their closet space
Personally, I think closet spaces are underutilized as a whole. But if you have kids that have a lot of stuff then maximizing the available closet space is crucial !
To be blunt, a single closet rod with a bunch of stuff piled on the floor is NOT maximizing the available space. That’s right, I called you out 😉 . You don’t need to spend a fortune to better utilize the space though. For example, we bought a simple wire closet system with shelves on the sides for Little Grasshopper’s closet and then we placed a toy cubby on the floor of the closet where all of his stuffed animals go. And he seriously LOVES going into his closet and playing with all the animals in there. When we want to tidy up, all we do is throw the animals in the cubby and close the door. Voilà!
9-) Get some help
Hands down, the best way to keep toys from taking over your house is to learn how to reduce the number of toys your kids have and only buy toys that will provide the most value to them. Fortunately, Denaye Barahona from Simple Families has developed an AMAZING course to help you get rid of toy clutter called the “Toy Detox.” Denaye developed this 4-module course based on her most commonly asked questions about decluttering toys, and she really went above and beyond! It perfectly balances enough information to be thought-provoking without being overwhelming (the videos are only 2-8 minutes long) so you can make lasting changes to keep the toy clutter under control. Here are a few of the useful topics Denaye discusses in the course:
- Curbing kid-consumerism
- Detoxing toys
- Arranging the play space
- How to shop to prevent relapse
The Toy Detox course only costs $19…less than what you would spend on many toys! It’s an incredible value for the money and can really be life changing if you commit to it. You can enroll in Toy Detox here. I promise it will be a great investment in simplifying your life and saving your sanity!
Want more organization tips? Why not head over to How to Get Organized: 9 Attitudes You Have to Change and 5 Challenges To Your Organization System (And Tips For Staying Organized) .