How To Declutter Toys Without Upsetting Your Kids

If you are in the process of decluttering your house and got stuck on decluttering toys, I absolutely get it.

The toy room in our house is such a mess that I have not found it in me to approach it since we moved in, so it is only becoming more and more cluttered.

Today, however, I am finally tackling this room and taking you along, so here is how to declutter toys quickly, efficiently and without upsetting your kids.

Decluttering toys

This is the toy room mess. You can see they have nothing in their buckets, everything on the floor. This is the exact consequence of me not coming up here enough.

I used to declutter their toys before birthdays and before Christmas, which was great, and I need to get back to that. I have not decluttered this room for an entire year, which is four kids worth of birthdays, four kids worth of Christmas, four worth of random grandparent gifts and anything that they buy and bring home themselves.

When we moved in a year ago, we had our toys contained in two of the Trofast units and it was wonderful. It was a minimal toy situation in our house.

However, I have had a hard year with my autoimmune disease, so I have not stayed on top of it. Now they do not even play in this room anymore because it is such a mess.

For the past three days, the place they have played the most was the porch, which I decluttered on day one of my decluttering marathon. It is nice and neat, with wide open spaces for them to play, and they have been out there for hours every day. That spoke volumes to me about the toy situation that I have let take over our house.

Before you begin, ask each of your kids what three toys they would choose to bring with them if they could only take three. Mine all had different answers, but that gave me a guidepost to start with in this hot mess of a toy room.

The first thing that you want to do when you are tackling a huge toy purge is to go around the house and gather all of the toys from all over the house. You cannot purge toys properly if you do not actually see how much you truly have.

Decluttering toys

Once you have gathered all the toys in one place, grab a trash bag and your donate box, and start sorting. I do bring my children in in the final stages of a toy purge, but I do the first steps on my own just like I do in the book purge.

Sort everything by category so you can see what you have and purge as you go. If you pick up something that you know they do not play with, go ahead and throw it in the donate bucket.

Here are the categories I set: Barbies, animals, Legos, stuffed animals, dress-up clothes, baby dolls, figurines... all this needs to be condensed later.

I am putting all the planes, trains and cars in a huge bucket for now. Also we have play food, magnet tiles, and that is pretty much it. We are only keeping two Trofast units for toys.

I am going to let the space limitations in the RV be the bad guy. The children understand that we are moving into a very small space and that that is going to severely limit the amount of things that they can bring with them, and they are really okay with it.

Decluttering toys

This is our “keep”. Some of the things on top of the drawers my daughter got just recently, so I will ask her about them, and we will try to pare them down, too.

Decluttering toys

And this is our trash and donate. There were so many toys that were broken or missing pieces, and I had to repair them several times, so it was time for them to be retired.

The kids did not blink an eye when they came in here and saw the donation pile. In fact, my daughter said, let's go through some more and donate some more.

It was really easy as I was sorting to tell what they played with and what they did not. We tend to keep categories of toys anyway, and just once I sorted it, what to keep and what not to keep just naturally sorted itself.

I still have to go through the dress-up clothes, the stuffed animals and the books, but I am thrilled to have got it down from that huge mess to basically just these two pieces. The kids did a fantastic job and approved everything once I got it all sorted and into buckets.

How to declutter toys

If you are planning to declutter toys in your house as well, I hope the tips I shared will come in handy, and good luck on the declutter.

How do you tackle the game room? Are your kids part of the decision making process? Do they share your willingness to let unused toys go?

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Join the conversation
  • Alicia Webber Alicia Webber on Dec 18, 2023
    My son (8) has so much stuff he doesn't know what he has. When I say we are going to go through his toys he gets upset and doesn't want to let anything go
  • Ore27096857 Ore27096857 on Dec 18, 2023
    Try hiding a few things to see if he notices.