Trying to keep toys under control can seem pretty much impossible. Kids seem to be gifted and handed down toys right and left by good-meaning friends and family, but if left untended the toy pile can grow significantly! After Anchor’s birthday and the holidays we quickly realized his toy situation was too much and had to be dealt with. I had planned to go through his toys before the holidays to make room for new ones, but the season became too busy and I never got around to it. So there we were, January and swimming in toys!
So, one day after school I had a little “toy organization station” set up and had Anchor help me go through them. It was pretty successful and now I hope to make sure I do this every few months or so! Read on below for how we achieved this!
Note: We do our best to not buy him “things” and keep his gifts for holidays very minimal, but as I mentioned people love gifting children things and it’s not my gift to refuse! So that’s the HOW of the out of control toy situation hahaha. Even with the best of intentions this happens to the best of us, so don’t feel bad or alone!
First, Some things that helped us:
It’s up to you whether you want your child to be a part of this process, but it was important for me to have Anchor see how much he has accumulated, why we need to get rid of them, the benefits of donating and so that he has a proper “goodbye”. It DOES make the process more difficult and longer, but again, it was important to me!
Knowing the goal ahead of time. Is your goal to dwindle down the toy pile as much as possible? Get toys in their rightful places? Only get rid of toys that are broken or no longer age appropriate? Mine was pretty much all above.
Splitting it up by category. We did toys, then books, and eventually we will do art supplies and then bath toys.
Okay, here’s what we did!
1. We gathered all of our toy storage bins and baskets
Anchor plays mostly in the family room, and unfortunately we don’t yet have a good built-in storage solution. So, I chose baskets and bins that fit in aesthetically with the space. Have bins in varying sizes and some with lids (for items like legos). Try searching your home for storage baskets/bins you may already have that can work.
2. We placed all of the toys in a large pile
Yes, this will seem overwhelming and you will want to throw a blanket on top and run away, but this part is crucial to see everything you need to deal with in one spot. I learned this nifty trick from none other than Marie Kondo!
3. We set up our station
We gathered two large plastic bins, one for “donate” the other for “store away” and a pile for trash/recycle. We tossed gently used toys (with all pieces) that no longer “spark joy” in Anchor or are no longer age appropriate into the “donate” bin. Toys your child can’t seem to part with or that YOU can’t seem to part with and want to keep for sentimental reasons or for future children, toss in the “store away” pile. All toys that are broken or missing pieces should be thrown out or recycled appropriately.
4. We then placed his toys in their rightful homes
Having bins for specific toys like legos, matchbox cars, etc. helps to make things easier for Anchor to find. Anchor plays mostly in the family room, with a few toys up in his room, but all are accessible and reachable to him. Nothing is up high or locked away.
5. We did the same for his books
We gathered some to donate, others to “put away” and some into our holiday book baskets.