Out With the Old, In With the New: How to Declutter Toys

Out With the Old, In With the New: How to Declutter Toys

The holidays have come and gone, and tons of new toys are in the playroom. The new toys plus the old toys combined may have you dealing with a BIG mess. Sometimes organization alone doesn’t cut it and Operation Cleanup needed to happen yesterday. 

How do you help your children declutter toys they no longer play with or have room for? Thankfully, there are many ways to declutter children's toys. Check out our simple tips for making the post-holiday cleanup easier on everyone.

The Joys of Decluttering Toys

Teaching your child the benefits of decluttering old toys leads to great habits they can keep for life. It’s tough to imagine them grown-up in a house of their own, but one day, they’ll thank you for teaching them how to keep less stuff around.

 Children greatly benefit from clutter-free play spaces. With too many options, they won’t be able to fully enjoy the toys that truly build their spirit of play. Less clutter and mess lead to more meaningful interactions with the toys they do have. That's also less picking up and stress for you!

Out With the Old, In With the New: How to Declutter Toys

 A Few Tips on How to Declutter Toys

Want to know how to decide which toys to get rid of and to declutter your kid's room? Prior to decluttering, observe your child to see which toys truly bring them the most happiness and play.

Which toys do they play with the longest? Which ones do they move on from quickly? Which ones allow for skill-building or exploring their imaginations? Identifying their favorites can make it easier during your decluttering adventure.

Have some garbage bags or boxes nearby to collect the items.

Tip: If you child is old enough to help clean out their own toys, involve them every step of the way. Explain the importance of keeping a clean space and why decluttering several times a year is good for their play time!

1. Create piles.

There are several ways you can go about making piles. You can do the three classic "Donate, Keep, Trash" piles or divide their toys by kind of toy.

You can make piles for stuffed animals, puzzles, and figurines. From there, you can identify which piles have an overwhelming number of items. Get rid of the ones that aren't played with often.

For sentimental toys, like ones given by a close relative, or any well-made handcrafted toys, can be kept in a special box in the attic for future generations of your family to enjoy.

If decluttering with your child, divide up the items. Have them take the lead on which toys should go in which pile. Make it a goal to limit their keep pile to a smaller or equal amount to the donate or trash pile.

Out With the Old, In With the New: How to Declutter Toys

 2. Donate.

Research local organizations or toy drives in your area, especially children's organizations, hospitals, and domestic violence shelters.

See if they take gently used toys as donations. If they do, call or message them ahead of time to ensure they have room for donations or have a need for the kinds of toys you are hoping to donate.

 Never drop off items without a designated drop-off area. Donations can be damaged, and some organizations must pay out of pocket to remove them, taking valuable time and effort away from their mission.

If local organizations are not currently taking donations and you would still like to drop them off, many resell thrift stores benefiting charity may take your donations as well.

Is your child a bookworm? Take books they have outgrown and donate them to local libraries or schools. Some use the books to give to other children in need or classrooms needing extra books.

3. Throw out unusable or broken toys.

Toys that cannot be salvaged or donated should be thrown away. Look out for any toys with broken pieces or sharp bits that could cause injury. Any found should be thrown in the trash for their safety.

 4. Take pictures of toys or art to keep the memories.

Have an object or piece of art you're hesitant to throw out? Taking photographs of the items preserves the memories associated with them while removing the clutter from your child's play space. That way, they always "have" the item without it taking up valuable real estate in your home.

 5. Take them to a toy swap.

Neighborhood toy swaps are a fun way to meet your neighbors and for your kids to meet new friends...all while snagging a few "new to you" toys. It's easy! Bring a certain number of toys and exchange for the same number of toys or less.

Remember to clean any gently used toys you bring home.

 6. Sell them.

There are many ways to sell old toys to get a little extra cash. Apps such as Mercari, eBay, Nextdoor, and Facebook Marketplace can be a great (and safe) way of listing old toys so other families can enjoy them. Do some research to find out a fair market price and list them. With a little luck, you'll sell in no time!

Ask your child how they would like to use the money earned from selling their old toys. Give them a few options, such as saving it in the bank, saving it up to buy a toy they really want, or to donate the money to charity. If they’re too young to make the choice, consider putting the money in a savings account or 529 plan for them to use when they’re older.

 7. Recycle.

If some of your kids' toys are recyclable, why not take them to be turned into something new? Check before bringing toys to a recycling center. Some centers only recycle certain kinds of objects. You don't want a fine for bringing items that aren't compatible with their machines.

Out With the Old, In With the New: How to Declutter Toys

Still Have Too Many Toys in the Play Area?

Children may hold on to more toys than expected and aren't emotionally ready to part with them quite yet. As opposed to sneakily throwing them out—which can backfire if they start asking where it is—why not put some of their toys in storage for a few months? Once time has passed, it'll be like they are getting brand new toys without extra space or money spent.

If making decluttering a full day event isn’t possible, try getting rid of one or two days per day or week, whichever works for your busy schedule.

What are your favorite ways to declutter kids’ toys? Share with us on social media (@hearthsong_toys).


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