As Christmas approaches, there’s no doubt your kids have a list they’ve prepared for Santa–and a room already full of toys. You may even be wondering how in the world there’s anything left to put under the tree, or you may already be overwhelmed by the idea of all that will come your way by December 26th. 

Reducing the number of toys your child has access to at any given time ignites their imaginations, encourages them to be independent and play on their own, engages them more during playtime, and makes cleaning up a breeze.


If you’re considering a toy decluttering now or in the future, here are a few simple tips for getting started.


Decide exactly what you’re going to Declutter


Being intentional about minimizing your child’s toys, and decluttering your home, then bringing them all together helps you to discover just how many toys to get rid of by looking for quality toys that fit into the categories below.

If this is too overwhelming, go room by room managing the toys in their bedroom first, then playroom and so on.

If you pick “toys,” that’s probably much too broad, especially if you’re overwhelmed with toys. Instead, start with “puzzles” or “baby toys” or some other narrow category.

Collect ALL the toys or items in that category and bring them into one place. It helps if you clear out some space first.


Organizing with Toy Sets


If you anticipate anyone trying to rescue things from the garbage, the bag MUST be black! You don’t want anyone to notice what you’re throwing out.

  • Baskets. You can pick up inexpensive baskets at the dollar store or yard sales or choose a more expensive variety for aesthetic appeal. Either way, using baskets is a great idea for keeping toy sets together and organized and including them as part of your home decorating.
  • Colorful bins or boxes. On the other hand, storage boxes from National Mini Storage are another great option for organizing children’s toys while still incorporating the storage unit into your decorating in kids’ rooms or playrooms.
  • Clear plastic bins with lids. On the other hand, you may prefer to use clear bins, which allow you to see what each one contains and keep them from getting accidentally dumped out or mixed up. This is an especially good option if you keep the sets in a closed cabinet or storage area where aesthetics don’t matter to you as much.
  • Cloth or plastic bags. Using simply drawstring cloth bags for your sets can save space because they’re not rigid like a plastic bin. For those worried about the environmental or health impact of plastics, this is a good solution as well. The downside is that you can’t see what’s in them without opening the bag, whereas you can with a clear plastic bag. 


Pick up each thing in your collection


Don’t skip this step! You must handle each item. Ask yourself (or your child): Do we love this item? Do we still use it? Do we have room to keep it? Is it in good condition? Does it support our family values?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it needs to go!

Decide if it will go into 1 of 3 spots:

  • Trash. That’s your garbage bag. Any toys that are broken, worn beyond repair or just plain junky (I’m looking at you, Dollar Store toys!)
  • Pass on. That’s your laundry basket or box. These are things you don’t want to keep but that can be passed on. You might decide to sell the things in excellent condition, give to a friend or take to the thrift store.
  • Keep. Your second laundry basket or set to the side. This is for all those things that your child truly loves and uses.


Making It Easier for Kids to Clean Up


Like a lot of moms, I don’t mind the toys themselves as much as I dislike having to clean them up. Our girls do a pretty good job of cleaning up their toys on their own, but there are simple ways to make cleaning up even easier for them.

Use picture labels to show children where toys belong. For younger children, label each box/basket/shelf with a picture of the item that belongs there. Use lots of individual pictures to avoid confusion. For older children, take a picture of the shelf or room at large so that they have an idea of what it should look like when it’s done.

Use boxes/bins to put things away rather than just stacking or piling them. Toy boxes or a pile in the corner can be tempting because it’s easy to throw everything in at once, but it really just leads to more chaos because you have to actually dump out the whole box to find all of the toys you’re looking for rather than just being able to pull out individual containers.

Help them do it themselves. Kids won’t know how to clean up unless you show them. Although it takes extra time to help them do it — versus just doing it yourself — the payoff is worth it as they learn to do it themselves so that eventually they don’t need your help!


For many families, toys are the hardest area to organize and declutter. However, with these simple strategies, it is possible to get control of the chaos!