As you’ll know if you’ve taken part in our 7 day declutter challenge, the idea is to break down everything that needs sorting into 30 minute slots so that it feels far less daunting and is far more achievable. No-where do I think this is more relevant that when tackling toys. Toy decluttering and organisation is no mean feat, so here are some tips and suggestions for how to make it that bit easier.
From ride on bikes that you fall over daily through to plastic monstrosities that are for some reason their ‘favourite toy ever’, via teeny tiny Lego pieces that end up in the hoover (or even dog, if you have one). Here goes…
1.Pinterest is of course amazing for storage ideas. Just don’t get too fancy and spend the next 6 weeks creating something spectacular that the kids probably won’t even notice and will be drawn all over in no time. Also, remember that this isn’t purely about organisation tips, get ruthless, declutter. If something isn’t played with or is missing parts or isn’t the right age then get rid. This might mean setting up a place for it to live until a sibling is the right age (we have a suitcase full of soft toy type bits for a baby) or it might mean it gets passed on to friends or the charity shop. Just don’t try and do this with them around, we all know how that ends up and it’s not pretty. If you’re not sure or they really don’t want to let go then try putting it out of reach somewhere for a period of time and seeing if it is missed. I’d suggest a couple of months, my husband would give it a week!
2. Ahhh IKEA, nothing fills your house (or time) more than a quick glance through some IKEA hacks. This also gives you an excuse to go and eat those meatballs that probably contain no meat but taste weirdly good, and come back with a car full of other stuff you didn’t go for too – result! This blog post here has some ace IKEA toy storage hacks including this one below. We have a few of both the units in these pictures and they are so flexible and handy for toy storage generally.
3. Think about where exactly toys need to be kept in order to be workable for your whole family.
It is just going to ridiculously frustrating if your beautiful shelf contains the thing they play with on a daily basis. We keep small world and Playmobil type stuff, anything with small parts, less accessible. Partly because when friends with younger kids come round I am really conscious of choking and also because they tend to be things they don’t just play with on a daily basis and can get lost too easily. It sounds obvious but keep the stuff they love and use regularly most accessible.
In relation to this we have got better at looking at how and where they play with toys and responding accordingly. That might mean putting things on rotation because after a while they stop noticing them OR acknowledging that the mini table and chairs taking up half the room just isn’t used (this is us!) It can of course also help with that trip to the charity shop or for filling the bag of things to be sold.
4. I’m not sure there will be a house that doesn’t contain LEGO of some sort. My husband is a major LEGO fiend and has done this to all our LEGO models. I ridiculed him for some time over this but it does receive admiration from many friends and annoyingly does mean they play with them again and again so I will share it but let it be said this is a bit far even for me – haha. We also use a tray for building LEGO, this slides under the sofa and means that they can carry on building over a few days or play at the kitchen table and not have to move it all when it’s tea time.
5. Large canvas style bags are ace for soft toys / babies (should probably say dolls) / balls etc. They can also be hung up on a hook if you have a spare wall.On hooks, these really are the storage dream for those with little space. All our scooters and helmets are hung up on the garage wall and it is a huge space saver. They can be bought from any DIY stores for just a few quid.
6. Packaging does take up a lot of space. Buying a ton of plastic zip lock bags (from any supermarket) can be a genius way of storing jigsaws, some games and other toys that don’t require the huge plastic monstrosity they arrived in. Cut out the picture off the front and get decanting.
7. Drawing is something that never gets put away, we have this from IKEA (this seriously is not a sponsored post) box on the table as well as another drawer full of activity books, paper, stickers etc.
8. Crafting is sorted into three boxes for paints, play duh, ‘other messy play shit’. The latter is my husband’s terminology. He describes glitter as his nemesis. I am a fan of this box as it contains everything from lolly sticks to random straws I’ve bought in the sale from Hobby craft and I am never happier than when it makes an appearance. This was not an easy task to declutter and did take us well beyond the 30 minute time slot but the kids were happy to help with this one. I’m pretty chuffed with how it has turned out, see the before and after pictures below.
9. We also have a box full of art type toys (Hama beads and the like). For this, and I know it is a bit obsessive, I have a list of what’s in there put within our ultimate family folder (not heard about this yet, we cover it here) so that on a rainy day I can easily pull something out.
10. Finally, don’t forget that drawer or box full of Cbeebies comics, random albums, pads with no pages left. Often this one purely requires some brutal action on the chuck out front. I rescued and re homed stickers but mostly this filled our waste paper bin.
If you want more advice, tips, support on decluttering or getting organised generally then you might like our Organise My Entire Life Facebook group or the FREE seven day declutter mini course which can be found here. Or alternatively check out this blog post all about why and how everyone can benefit from getting organised.