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How to Organize Toys & Games

Updated on November 16, 2011

Declutter The Toys & Games

Before any real organzation can occur, you have to declutter. And that means you are going to have to get rid of some stuff. You know what I'm talking about. The games and toys they have outgrown or just don't play with.

The biggest thing is you really do need to get your kids involved with the decluttering. This is their personal, private stuff. I'm not saying you could cause serious psychological scars if you throw out the Candyland that's missing half the cards. But still, it's their stuff. Ask and you might be surprised at what they really are willing to get rid of.

What are some examples of what should go:

  • You're child is 12 and you are still hanging onto Lucky Ducks or Candy Land
  • You can't find half the pieces to Operation, or the checker pieces for Connect Four
  • Your kids just don't play with them, or they really don't like it but they didn't want to tell Aunt Rita because it would break her heart

Not everything is charity worthy

Seriously. I know it's hard to throw things out with so many people going without. Donate the good stuff. Not something missing parts, dirty, torn, or stained.

Get the trash bags and the donation box and ask yourself the hard questions. Is this something a kid would really want to play with or use? Is this a safety hazard? Is it just plain lame, boring, embarrassing?

It's ok to just throw it away.

Help! My kid's a hoarder!

OK, so that's a fair bit of extreme. But that's how it can feel when little Timmy doesn't want to get rid of his headless G.I. Joes or Suzy can't bear to part with her one armed it's hard enough for us as adults to get rid of some things. Kids tend to identify themselves with their belongings. There is a tendency for them to feel like they are losing a part of themselves once the decluttering process starts. That's ok, everyone breathe and calm down. It's going to be ok.

  • Talk about the great things that happen when you get rid of old toys, like having more room to play and even get new
  • Let them choose where everything goes. It could be their classroom, library, or daycare. Take them with you to donate the items.
  • Yes, you are the parent. But, let them have some say in what can stay and what can go. have ground rules like you can't keep everything. But for every three go's, have one it can stay.


Not just a one time event

Christmas is a great time to do the toy sweep. Get rid of the old to make room for the new.

One of thebest rules I have is a one for one rule. This means if your child chooses to keep a toy, then they must also choose one to go. I like doing this at least every six months. My daughter's birthday is in June. So this gives us a good six months from birthday to Christmas. Doing the declutter on a regular basis keeps your kid's room from looking like a Toys R Us crack den exploded. This important stuff to teach them now. That way, you don't see them on an episode of Hoarders.

Organize the Keepers

I like the categorize by type rule. My Little Pony's in one drawer, Barbies in another, cars on that shelf. And how much do I love labeling. Take a picture of what goes where and put it on that space. That works really well for pre-readers.

If you have things that have small parts or lots of parts, then it makes sense to keep them all together. Seriously makes life so much easier to deal with. Also, make sure if it's something your child plays with on a very regular basis that it is very accessible. Again, that just makes life very easy for you so you don't have to keep getting up every five minutes to get that teddy bear down off the shelf.

Toy home base

naturally, toys will be kept in your chld's bedroom. But if you have a game or family room, ther emay be toys there. But you may not want Barbies in the dining room. And that's ok. Make sure you have set ground rules about these things.

A place for everything and everything in its place. This is a sure fire way to make sure you keep the toy mirgation. Make sure that if it's not being played with or used, that it's put up, picked up, and put away in the right places. if you don't have a space, place, or room for something, then maybe you need to do another round of decluttering.

Seriously, making sure there is a place for everything is one of the most important things when it comes to organizing and keeping it organized.

Inevitably, you will find stray toys around the house. Use something like a laundry basket to collect the stragglers. After a few days, take them back to their assigned positions.

make it kid friendly

Make sure that whatever you do for storage and organizing, that your kid's like it and it's easy for them to use.

Here are a few ideas for storage and what it should feature:

  • Toy chests with no lids or lids that close very slowly to keep from fingers getting smashed.
  • Toy nets are amazing for keeping toys off the floor and very little in the way of organizing is needed for these
  • Plastic containers that stack and have lids. These are amazing for Barbie clothes and legos
  • Wicker baskets are awesome for the daily cleanup of stary toys throughout the house
  • Shelves are great for books


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