Is there a way to declutter toys, painlessly?

@GreenMoo (11837)
May 28, 2008 3:37pm CST
If your kids are anything like mine they have far more toys that they could ever play with. My youngest would rather play with my cooking pans than his toys anyway! My own pet hate is those dreadful plastic McDonald toys which seem to breed in the bottom of the toybox, have no educational value whatsoever, but the kids refuse to part with. So how do you declutter their toyboxes, make some space on their shelves? Do you go for the sneak attack method, removing things under cover of darkness and hoping that they don't notice? Do you have a one thing in one thing out policy? Perhaps you declutter together? Whatever you do, I'd love to hear about it. Oh, and if you don't hear back from me, I've probably opened a cupboard and been caught in an avalanche of McDonalds toys
3 people like this
9 responses
@deedles88 (297)
• Australia
29 May 08
Oh, dont get me started about those stupid McDonalds toys! My Aunt-in-law will go to McDonalds just to get the Happy Meal, just to get the toy for my daughter! She has 30 of the same one! I use a combo of all those techniques. I sort through the toys that are too babyish for her i.e rattles, plastic chew rings, and throw them in a box, to be used by the next baby or a friends baby or whatever. Then I get a big plastic box and sort out the toys she plays with most, and the ones she doesnt, I then put half of each in the box and it goes in the cupboard. The ones that are left out she can play with, then I rotate them so she doesnt get bored with them. During the sorting process I throw out the dumb McDonalds toys and the ones that are beyond repair. She also has a big set of shelves, which we laid on their side so she can reach the top shelf without needing to climb it, and that holds the puzzles, bigger odd shaped toys and on the bottom shelf we have some smaller plastic containers which are seperated into a box for ther 'Little People' toys, one for her Cooking utensils and one for random weird toys.
2 people like this
@GreenMoo (11837)
29 May 08
Random weird toys! We seem to collect those too LoL I've got a bag of baby toys sitting in the corner waiting to be passed on, but the contents keep mysteriously appearing back in the toy box!
@SViswan (12071)
• India
29 May 08
hmmm...my older one was quite organized with his toys when he was younger...it's now (at 7 years of age) that he decided he does like clutter after all. But I figured that he likes to clutter only when he sees the toys around him. So, I got rid of a lot of useless toys when he was at school and now he has stuff that are good for him and he takes care of it because I threatened to get rid of those too if he didn't keep it in place. The younger one (who is 18 months now) was a born clutter head..lol But then I realized that we got him all the wrong toys and he didn't really care about them, that's why it was all over the place. Then I got rid of most of that and got him all the boyish stuff he wanted...balls, cars,bikes...etc. And now he does keep them back after he's done (with little reminders)
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11837)
30 May 08
I find it hard to imagine kids who are organised with toys! I guess kids learn from their parents, and I'm afraid Dad and I aren't particularly good examples of tidiness though.
@SViswan (12071)
• India
30 May 08
Well, only the older one was organized. The younger one just dumps it in one box when I remind him and sometimes even pulls out more than he's put in. To be honest, my husband isn't tidy at all and with the 3 of them, there are days when I just let things be. But you must be right...when my older one was younger....his father wasn't around much for him to see the untidiness...and since he wasn't around, I got a lot of cleaning up done before my son woke up. Maybe that helped. While that's not the case with the younger one.
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 May 08
My son is still young and he already has a pile load of toys. I just don't know what to do with all of them. I thought about getting rid of some of them when he wasn't around because chances are that he would not even miss them but then I thought what if he does? I would feel so bad if he really wanted something and then it was gone forever. The rotating toys seems to be an idea. I have to do something ... there is just no more room for all of the toys. LOL if I end up keeping the toys he will be buried in them and we won't be able to find him by the time that he is 5 LOL
@GreenMoo (11837)
5 Jun 08
How about clearing some out, but putting them out of sight somewhere to see if he notices? If he doesn't then you could decide to actually get rid of them. Maybe pass them onto someone with a younger child. It doesn't seem to painful to pass them on like that!
@Hatley (164231)
• Garden Grove, California
29 May 08
when a good many years back my kids were little my biggest bane was the darned leggo pieces. they werekillers on bare feet especially if you just happened to step on one. I used to wish they had magnetic strips in them so you could pick all up at the same time and put them away. My son dearly' loved to build stuff with them but putting it back afterwards was a big deal.and usually ended with dear old mom doing that part of it. i finally adopted the one thing in and one thing out and for me and my kids it seemed to work quite well too.
@GreenMoo (11837)
30 May 08
My eldest has loads of Lego, and is a big fan of Magnetix and that other clip together construction toy too. I insist that it lives in the caravan. So when his friends come over they can make as much mess with it as they like, but it's not all over the floor in the house! Be warned that if you're ever a guest who stays in our caravan you are likely to be finding Lego all over!
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
29 May 08
I used to tell them that we need to get some new toys! We'd go around the house and pick up all the ones they didn't play with then turn them in to a place called Other Mothers that gave us credit for them then we spent that credit on toys that were there. Moms could turn in clothing or toys and buy other moms' stuff, it was neat. Or we'd donate them to Goodwill or another thrift store and buy "new" toys there.
@GreenMoo (11837)
30 May 08
What a brilliant idea! We had a swap shop for kid's clothes near us which was just fabulous, but we've moved unfortunately and I've not found anything similar.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
28 May 08
I just grab a box and go through them. The kids help some, voluteering things they don't care about...usually in trade for the things they really don't want to lose. I tell them that the toys won't be gone for good, we rotate things every few months. It's usually pretty painless.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11837)
29 May 08
I like the rotating idea. We used tohave toys at home and toys ay Grandmum's, but I used to look upon that as a halfway house before they disappeared for good.
@Amberina (1541)
• United States
29 May 08
I had to go through my kids toys when they where at school if I did it when they where home I never got rid of anything every little thing broken or not was SOOO special to them. With my youngest son who is 14 yrs old he is a collector of a ton of wierd toys and I swear he knows every little piece of trinket he has in those bins everytime I try to get rid of anything when he is gone he comes home asking for the things I got rid of and he doesn't even know I went through his stuff and got rid of anything. So I would just sort his stuff matchbox cars go in the platic shoe boxes and wierd little trinkets go in another plastic shoe box and big toy trucks go in big bins out of the way. Oh and Legos must be seperate from anything else those are his special toys. I do insist that his broken toys be thrown away and he throws a fit but he gives in. He's now old enough to have toys that sit on shelves to look at and special collections that he doesn't play with so that helps him take care of his other toys.
@GreenMoo (11837)
5 Jun 08
All this little bits and pieces are the bane of my life. In our case they just look like bits of junk, but to my son they are really special. Kids!
@ravinskye (8242)
• United States
28 May 08
i just got a box and started throwing things in it. they didn't put up a fight. i let them help. they got to choose stuff they wanted to yardsale so that other kids could have toys. what we didn't sell at the yardsale we carted off to good will. if it becomes a problem with them i'll just cart them off to grammy's for the weekend and do it while they are gone.
@GreenMoo (11837)
29 May 08
I'm impressed! When I start dragging toys out to box up we keep discoving 'favourites' in the bottom of the box that everyone had forgotton about!
• United States
27 May 09
My daughters tend to be pack rats and I tolerate it to a point. They each have an organizer shelf in their room that they can pile as many toys on as they want I also allow them several boxes in their closet to store the overflow. They do not have to look neat but the toys must either fit in the organizer or in one of the boxes (the lids must close on the box. Once I notice that the toys have exceeded this limit I will pick a Saturday and depending on how out of control the toys are I give each daughter 2-3 garbage bags. They have the weekend to fill up the bags. They can fill them up with anything in their room and unless they ask for my help I leave them alone to sort through their stuff. By Sunday night there needs to be 2-3 bags filled sitting by their door and all other toys must be put away. Monday when they leave for school I go into their rooms with a bag of my own anything on the floor goes in the bag. If their boxes in the closet do not close I put whatever in on top of the boxes in the bag until they close. If they do not fill up the required number of bags, bags must be full to the top partial bags do not count, then for every 1 bag they are short I will fill up 2 bags. After my inspection I take the bags they left by the door along with any I filled up and take them to the dumpster. I have found that allowing them the decision makes the process go smoother. It has also made them consider when they get a new toy if they really want it because with every new toy their storage space will fill up. The first time I did this my oldest tried to cheat the system by filling each bag up less than half way and stuffing her excess toys in the back of her closet. Needless to say once she got home and saw 6 bags piled up in her room she knew I was serious. I allowed her to reduce the number of bags from 6 to 4 and since then My inspections I have not had to throw away a single thing.