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Decluttering: The Start of a Toy Organization Journey

Written by Melanie McConnell as part of our Blog Collaboration

By the time parents call me in to help with their out-of-control toy situation, they’re at their

wits end. They complain that their kids’ play area, which has sometimes spilled out into the entire home, is in disarray. Toys are all over and so disorganized that it’s become a source of stress for them all.

Purging the excess toys and creating a rotation allows your kids to be less overwhelmed by having access to too many and instead be more engaged and enjoy their playtime again. If the idea of doing this on your own seems too overwhelming, you can bring a professional home organizer in to help you. Hiring an organizer also frees up your time to do other things in your busy schedule.

However, if you decide you want to go to it on your own, the following is a guide to help you decide what to donate, trash, or put in storage. Once this is done, organization and clean-up will be a breeze.

• Throw out broken toys. Easily broken, rigid toys that have very limited possibilities should also be purged out. These toys usually have one spectacular function, and chances are they no longer perform that very well, if at all.

• Donate developmentally inappropriate toys your kids have outgrown.

• Over-stimulating toys with all the bells and whistles such as flashing lights, loud talking, and sound effects designed to “excite.” These are usually given by someone that does not understand how annoying they can be over any extended period of time and how overstimulated kids can become after playing with them. Always remember to keep things simple.

• Toys you were pressured to buy that are now forgotten under the pile of other toys.

• Duplicates of the same toy or kind of toy should be reduced to a manageable amount your kids can love and appreciate.

• Sentimental toys can be kept in storage, not in your child’s playroom. If you’d like to avoid hurting Grandma’s feelings by getting rid of toys they gave your kids, you can label “Grandma’s Toys”, put them in storage, and bring them out when she comes to visit. But chances are she won’t even remember giving it.

Again, this is a guideline only. You can add to and take away from this list as you see fit.

For a simple organization system, divide the remaining toys into categories by placing like items together such as: dress-up/costumes, vehicles, dolls, activity books, coloring books, arts & crafts, etc. Store toys in respective baskets or bins and decide how you’ll label them so that categories are easily recognizable. Depending on your kids’ ages, you may want to print picture labels for the bins. These all make clean-up and organization at the end of the day easy for kids.

Getting your kids' toys under control and organized should always start with removing the ones that just cause clutter.

Melanie McConnell is a Professional Organizer and the owner of Mello Spaces. She helps busy professionals and parents get the organized home of their dreams. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram: @mellospaces

Florena Davies is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Organize by Flo. She uses her experience as a wife and mother of 2 to create real life organizational systems and changes for work and home that allow our 2 worlds to co-exist and 'Flo" together. Check out her website at and on instagram @organizebyflo.

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