There are toys everywhere. Little knick-knacks, plastic junk from kid events, parties, and fast food meals, and stuffed animals and tiny cars sprawled across the floor. There are toy storage containers, but they don’t hold everything. There is not one piece of floor space that is not being used. It sounds awful and for many, relatable. This was a picture of my home before we decluttered the kids’ rooms and created kid’s toy storage solutions. If this picture seems familiar, then I have some tips and tricks to share with you to finally declutter your kid’s room and create manageable kid’s toy storage solutions.
A Guide to Show You How to Minimize and Declutter Your Kid’s Room and Kid’s Toy Storage Solutions:
1 – First, set an example before you minimize and declutter your kid’s room
You can’t start your decluttering journey in your kid’s room if the rest of the house is a mess. Well, you can, but there will be anarchy. I know, I wanted to start in my kids’ room. I mean, so much of it was junk. Why on earth child are you crying? Oh, you love this item? Really?!!! Lesson learned.
Before you declutter your kid’s room, declutter your bedroom first. Then, declutter your closet. After that, move on to minimize the kitchen pantry. Let your children see you setting an example of living with less before they are expected to live with less. Show them you too have to learn how to let go of things that are cluttering up your home. Once you start to do this, you will start conversations with your children about minimalism. Tell them when it seems scary. Tell them when it seems frustrating. Then, tell your kids how you worked through it for yourself.
2 – Talk to your kids about decluttering and minimalism
When you talk to your kids about minimalism, focus on the positive. Tell them how you can help other kids when they share their toys. Speak to them about having more space to enjoy their activities. Point out how much better your room feels now that it is decluttered. Get them used to the idea as much as possible before you start, and you will be set up for success.
3 – How to manage the guilt
You bought all these toys, and there are so many of them. Isn’t it wasteful to get rid of them? I mean, you work hard to give your kids this stuff. They shouldn’t live without. You are successful. You can afford this home you live in, and you can afford to stuff it with toys. Remember, why you started this process mama. YOU ARE DONE CLEANING UP! You are tired.
It is time to take back your home, and you can do this without giving your kids less. In fact, once you start to live with less, you start to want less and be happier. You will start to focus on experiences with your family, and they will start to use their imaginations rather than play with toys that do the playing for them.
For items given to you by family, be honest with yourself and involve the kids if you have to when making a decision on whether or not to keep it.
Do your kids really play with it anymore? When is the last time you saw it being used? Why do you feel guilty? Is the guilt worth keeping it? Usually not, even if it hurts when actually getting rid of an item. I can tell you now, once the item is gone that no one likes, it is awesome!
4 – When to declutter your kid’s room
Ok, so I’m not always an advocate for being sneaky, but if your kids are little, I highly recommend the sneaky, nap time or bedtime decluttering method.
You have now set an example, and you got rid of your stuff first. They know something is happening in their home, even if they don’t fully understand WHY it is happening yet.
I decluttered my kids’ rooms while they were sleeping the first go-round. I did it slowly, over the course of about a week. That way, not too much stuff disappeared all at one time. I also switched back and forth between the rooms, so one kid was not impacted more than the other one. They were both under five years old the first round.
If your kids are older, it is likely they need to play a more active role in decluttering their toys and belongings.
5 – Get rid of the easy stuff first when you declutter your kid’s room
Toys your kids have outgrown and no longer play with are some of the easiest things to get rid of when you declutter your kid’s room.
When I first decluttered my children’s rooms, there were so many three and under toys they never played with anymore. They were large, clunky, and took up a lot of floor space. Getting rid of the big items that had lost their interest really sparked our excitement to keep going. I thought my kids would be upset to see the larger items gone. Turns out, they were ecstatic their play space had doubled! They had small rooms, so the extra floor space was a huge bonus, and they were extremely grateful.
6 – Plastic junk
I don’t know what else to call it. It’s the crap that comes home in goodie bags from birthday parties, given out as freebies to kids at restaurants or comes home from school as rewards for good grades and behavior. I hate this plastic junk. It invades my home, even when I work diligently to keep it out.
Recycle what you can. Throw away much of it. If you know your child enjoys some of the pieces, create your kid’s toy storage solution for it. You can use large plastic containers, storage cube baskets or anything similar.
Decluttering your kid’s room is a constant endeavor. It is not a one and done action, and the plastic junk will continue to make its way into your home. Let your kids enjoy it for a bit, and when they grow tired of it, take that opportunity to get rid of it.
7 – Look to keep only toys that spark the imagination
There are some die-hard minimalists that say to keep no toy that is plastic, talks or has a character on it. While this is generally a good rule of thumb, it does not have to dictate all of your choices.
When you declutter your child’s room, look to keep toys that can serve multiple uses and those that can spark imagination. Some of my favorite toys we kept were Magna-Tiles, LEGOs, books that were still age appropriate, a dollhouse, a play kitchen, and a drawer full of games. When it is gift time, check out these ideas on minimalist gifts for kids.
8 – Fight toy clutter with these kid’s toy storage ideas
I found that easy kid’s toy storage solutions were the best way to make clean-up fast and doable for my little ones. All like items are stored together, and all items are stored in a container. Toy storage containers do not have to be fancy.
In fact, my favorite toy storage container we use is one large Rubbermaid container each child has hidden in their closet. The Rubbermaid containers hold the stuffed animals and dolls each child wanted to keep. For some reason, stuffed animals and dolls multiply like rabbits in our house. I think I’ve only ever bought three stuffies or dolls in my kids’ entire lives. Where do they come from?!!!
Another favorite kid’s toy storage solution is in an Ikea shelf with bins that slide in and out. I love the Ikea kid shelves. The shelf we have contains several bins for toys, and it makes clean-up so easy for my youngest. It keeps the small toys hidden from view. The top of the shelf also makes a great shelf for toys that are easily accessible and too big to put in a toy box.
9 – Adopt a rule to maintain the toy clutter
I don’t live and die by a one-in-one-out rule, although it is something we often use when dealing with artwork or junk items. We also don’t count how many toys my kids own like some die-hard minimalists. However, each child does have designated toy storage solutions. The toy storage solutions are made of a collection of baskets, bins, boxes, and shelves. Each storage solution contains a specific type of toy. Once the container is full, the kids can actively take part in weeding out toys they no longer care about. This worked really well with the stuffed animal container, toy car container, and the random toys basket.
Just prior to the holidays every year, usually around the first of December, the kids and I actively go through their rooms together and look for toys they no longer care about. We talk about how we can give them to children who are in need and may not have as many toys at the holidays. This always gets my kiddos enthusiastic about decluttering their toys and it helps make space for the onslaught of family gift giving.
One word of caution
If you are unsure about an item, put it in storage first. See if they miss it. And don’t just assume because it is “junk” in your eyes, it is not a treasure for them. Think about who gave them the toy or treasured item, why they love it, and if they play with it or look at it regularly. I recently read this article by This Simple Balance about putting thought into getting rid of the right items for the right reasons when decluttering your kid’s room and accepting gifts given to you by loved ones with a full, grateful heart. I too have fallen victim to the mindset to get rid of everything without considering the feelings of my children sometimes, and it is admittedly a delicate balance.
My youngest child is a collector of treasures. She loves figurines and small knick-knacks. We weeded many out together when we decluttered her room (on a second round), but she was given the option to keep the items that bring her joy. She has about ten special little collectibles on her shelf by her bed. Every night she places them exactly where she wants them for her imaginary play for that evening, smiles at them, and then tells them goodnight. Even though I see no value in keeping these items, they are special to her. Yes, they clutter up her bedside shelf. That’s ok. She is five, and they bring her immense joy. Isn’t that why we declutter our homes, so all that is left are things that bring us absolute joy? I can deal with the clutter to see her happy.
Enjoy the end of toy clutter
Watch, after you declutter your kid’s room. After decluttering my kids’ room, it was so fun to watch them enjoy the toys I knew they loved but were so often buried under mounds of toy clutter. The space they get back is so appreciated, even if they don’t know exactly why they love their rooms so much more. The toys they have left will spark their imagination, and they will be able to entertain themselves so much longer. Your kids won’t realize it, but you are teaching them something valuable. You are teaching them to love their space, respect their toys, and you will be giving them an easy way to manage the toy clutter that was once taking over their rooms. You too get a break mama. When you have less, there is so much less upkeep. Now go enjoy that time you just earned back!
Are you tired of the toy clutter? What is your biggest setback when trying to declutter your kid’s room? What kid’s toy storage solutions have worked? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you!
This post is part of the Happy Clutter-Free Home series. You can achieve a decluttered home once and for all. You don’t have to settle for cleaning all day, stress, and general clutter overwhelm. Being a mom is hard already. Don’t let clutter make it feel impossible. Get back time and reclaim the joy in your home.
If you missed the previous post, check out how to create a minimalist bedroom that isn’t boring!
The next article in the series will discuss what to do with all the stuff after decluttering.