Swapping Toys for Sanity: Toy Organization Tips

Swapping Toys for Sanity: Toy Organization Tips

Less means more. We’ve all heard this at one point or another.

In most situations, this is a good saying to go by and it is especially true when it comes to kid’s toys.

Between friends and family, holidays and birthdays, my kids are given way more toys than they need- annually. This not only causes a huge mess for me, but it triggers over-stimulation in them and then we’re left with a playroom full of toys no one plays with.

I’ve noticed that my children make better use of their imaginations when they play with 2 or 3 toys at a time rather than 20. So why do we do this to our kids? To ourselves? It’s time to start swapping toys for sanity by getting a hold on toy organization!

The Problem: Your Kids Have Too Many Toys

A few years ago, I tried to remedy the toy situation by asking friends and family members to send the books in place of toys. Even after explaining why I felt like an evil mother for doing this and some of the responses I got were interesting (ahem- that awkward silence). By the time the next holiday, special occasion or birthday came around, people simply forgot and I didn’t want to bring it back up. I came up with a better idea instead.

The Solution: Put Them Away!

Toy OrganizationFor years, whenever the kids got gifts that weren’t age appropriate or if I found a great deal on a toy that wasn’t quite age-appropriate yet- I set them aside in a box for “later”.

Every now and then, I would remember the box and pull out the now age-appropriate toys. Realizing I could use the same idea to fix my toy issue (slightly tweaking it, of course), one day, I took to the playroom with a few boxes and garbage bags.

I filled them up with a little more than half of the toys in the playroom. I threw it all in the closet. When asked where their toys had gone, I simply explained to my kids that because we were having so many issues taking care of all the toys we had, I thought we’d start with less and work from there.

Putting those toys away took care of the giant mess we call the playroom. Over the next few weeks, it quickly became apparent which toys they actually played with and which ones they did not. It became easier to hold them accountable for their mess and subsequently, to get them to clean it up properly.

Rest and Repeat! 

Loving this new freedom, I decided to do it again a couple of months later, but this time, I made three piles: toys for donation/to sell (see my post on Online Buy Sell Trade Basics), toys to keep in the playroom and toys to add to the closet. I then swapped a few of the “closet” toys with the ones that needed to be stored.

When the kids got home, it was like Christmas all over again- but without the chaotic mess. They were happy to see some of their old toys and some new ones. It kept them busy for a while- and Mom got to rest (a little).

Every few months, I repeat this process. There’s less clutter, less to clean and we even make a few bucks selling the stuff we don’t use. It’s a great way to stagger the toys for age-appropriateness, which works for me, since my kids’ ages are staggered as well. It keeps the family and friends happy.

It keeps me happy.

It encourages my children to use their imaginations a little more and appreciate what they have. Lastly, it keeps them entertained, so I don’t have to.

Stop Buying Toys, Start Buying Experiences

We don’t buy as many toys for them anymore, either- since our families and friends do. This saves us money for more important things, like family outings. The kids don’t notice the difference and will always have the memories which are far more valuable. Giving the kids less toys/gadgets also sets the precedent for future expectations- especially since as they get older, the gifts become more expensive.

Too many #toys? Here are a few ways to organize... #momproblems Click To Tweet

For more tips and tricks on getting rid of the clutter, check out my posts on 6 Reasons to Declutter Your Casa, One Mom’s Trash is Another Mom’s Treasure, and 10 Smart Baby Buys.

So what do you think? Would you accept a Swapping toys for Sanity challenge?


Pamela is a Freelance Writer, Blogger, WAHM of 3, and Veteran Military Wife living in Southwest Texas. Raised in the Northeast and having lived a few years in the Pacific Northwest, she likes to write about mom life, parenting, frugal living, experiences, and WINE. (Lots of wine!) When she’s not busy chasing toddlers around, you can find her on the blog or on social media. Check her out on Instagram: instagram.com/wineandlavender

8 thoughts on “Swapping Toys for Sanity: Toy Organization Tips”

    • Thanks for your comment! Isn’t it great? Cuts the clutter, saves us money and keeps the kids happy. It works for everyone.

    • Thank you, Melissa! I’m so glad I found you guys! So many great blogs all in one place- that’s just great. I’ll definitely be stopping by more often.

  • Such a great post – toy clutter is just awful. I’m pregnant with my first and toy clutter has been THE THING that I have deemed will NOT be happening in my home. I’m gonna try and be flexible and roll with the punches on everything else… but no toy clutter. So thanks for this ~ (I shared it on FB) and thanks for linking up at Share the Wealth Sundays!

    • Thanks so much, Carly! With my first, I followed her around and cleaned up after her. Now I’m up to 3, and noone has time for that! LoL Glad you lokes the post, thanks for sharing and I loved the linkup! See you at the next one!

  • I love these tips! We just did a major Decluttering of our daughter’s toys and included her in the process. She was so excited to see toys that she had forgotten about. Now her focus has mainly been drawn to painting, drawing and coloring and imagination play with her Shopkins and dinosaurs.
    I love the idea of the closet too. Perfect for the abundance of gifts our family always showers on her. 💕

    • Thanks so much, Tasha! Isn’t it liberating to get rid of stuff? LOL Our kids had way too much stuff and it did nothing but make us more of a mess. Even if we’re only storing it temporarily, at least it keeps the clutter at bay (and they seem to appreciate it more!).

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