Tired of seeing a room bursting full of toys, and approximately 0% of those toys being played with? I’m with you, mama. And I’ve got a plan. It’s time to tackle toy clutter. Let’s all grab our metaphorical cardboard boxes and trash bags and get to work, shall we?
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But first, let’s tackle the WHY of it all. Why does clutter really matter when it comes to your child’s play space?
Limiting and organizing toys goes far beyond buying a few cute buckets and baskets. The beauty of simplifying your child’s play space is that it will create a brand new invitation to play!
Do we honestly believe that our children function well in a chaotic, noisy, overwhelming environment? Yet, here I go again, stuffing another toy into that overloaded toy box. Sound familiar?
I’ll be honest.
(‘Cause what else would you expect from me?)
Most of us mamas and our littles could use a good dose of the “less is more” medicine.
More toys leads to less engaged and active play.
More clutter leads to less space to create and imagine.
More junk leads to less freedom to choose.
When our little ones get overloaded with toys choices and clutter, chances are, they shut down. They turn to the old reliable escape of the TV or tablet. They plug-in to screens, and unplug from their imaginations and creativity.
If we want to unplug from screen time and unlock real play again, we’ve got to get back to simple.
We all crave simplicity.
Yep, even that 3-year-old ball of energy dino-stomping around my kitchen. (True story, y’all. We have a huge dinosaur infestation in our house.)
That’s why it’s so important to nail down your WHY for cutting clutter. Paint a picture in your mind mama, not just of what the physical space in the room will look like when you’re done, but also of the experiences and imagination that your simple space will draw out of your child!
Here’s why I’m tackling the clutter:
- I want to encourage more creative and deeper play. This won’t happen if my little guy has a bottomless pit of toys to choose from, he’ll bounce about from one toy to the next, never really engaging with anything!
- I want to provide both physical and mental breathing space for imagination.
- I want to encourage more real play and rich experiences. Less screen time and toy overload.
So, mama. What are you going to do about toy clutter? Are you up to the challenge?
I think you are 🙂
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Use these three strategies to tame the clutter once and for all:
- Say Yes to Less: The number one reason for clutter in a child’s space is so simple. Too many toys. Take a quick inventory peek into your child’s room or play space. Chances are you’ll see more than one, or two, or three of every type of toy. By simply weeding out duplicates, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of clutter!
- Create a Toy Rotation: Pull out four storage bins, and label them 1-4. In each bin, place a few toys from different categories. This means you’ll have a good mix of learning toys, building toys, imaginary play toys and more in each box. Don’t worry, your child won’t be stuck with only one type of toy to play with. Simply rotate in a new bin each week, and pack up the toy items from the previous week. This is a great strategy to keep your child’s playtime fresh and exciting!
- Organize With Purpose: Once you’ve weeded out unnecessary toys and limited the number of toys out for each week, it’s time to organize! The whole goal of organizing in a kid’s space is simple. First, make toys super easy to find. And second, to make toys insanely easy to put away. In our house, we mainly uses boxes and bins. All the cars and trucks go in one box, dinosaurs and toy animals in another box, and different types of building toys in their own bins as well. This makes it so easy when it comes to clean up time! I usually assign simple jobs: “You find all the cars and put them in their box, and I’ll put away the train tracks in their drawer.” When everything has it’s place, you set your toddler or preschooler up for success!
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Leave me a comment below! What’s your WHY for tackling the clutter in your child’s life? What strategy seems to help the most when it comes to creating simplicity in your child’s play space?
Ready to unplug your toddler or preschooler?
Love it! This is exactly the push I needed to give my little girl’s room a much-needed purge. Thanks!
Clean up time is quicker and lets you move on to other things, so cleaning up is not resented.
Chldren begin to feel the peace and contentment of “having enough”.
Understanding that creativity develops from using old things in ways, makes it easier to resist the lure of the toy aisle.
Great article, thanks!
Do you include toys that your child plays with ALL the time in the rotation? Or leave those main staples in place and rotate the other toys that are played with less often? (At the moment, it is a doctor kit and a set of play figures that are most often played with, along with the kitchen/food)
We are moving this month so I want to start off on the right foot, and curious what other moms have done with this issue!
I think it depends on your child! Great question 🙂 I tend to leave out perennial favorites like magnet blocks, and my son has a train table set up that we leave out. If you notice that your child plays with something every single day, then I would definitely leave that out. Just rotate in different toys with those main items to provide different creativity-boosting combinations. For example: sometimes I will set out magnet blocks + cars for ramp and “physics” fun. Or I could display magnet blocks + dinosaurs for imaginary play adventures. Hope this helps! 🙂
What if you have NO room for storage and don’t want to get rid of everything?
If you have no storage, it would definitely help to declutter toys! A solution might be to have a tub or 2 of toys and periodically trade with a friend who has children the same ages. This way you & your friend’s children get different toys to play with & you both only have to store 2 tubs. A win-win situation!