Controlling Toy Clutter


I am the mom of two little boys, 14 months and 3 years old, and they both have a grandmother that loves to spoil them and bring them a toy every time she sees them. It’s what grandmas do I suppose. But that also contributes to the over all toy clutter that never seemed to go away, or would pop back up like a nasty pimple just a few hours later.

Your house ever look like this: 

What makes moms go crazy more than anything is having to turn back around and clean something they just cleaned yesterday!  I have hated that more than you know and have tried desperately to seek an answer. The answer used to be sneaking bags of toys out to the trunk of my car to sneak off to good will after the kids went to bed. God forbid they catch you throwing anything way! 😉

But the thought suddenly hit me when I was paroozing Pinterest and I saw all these beautifully labeled bins full of toys in a lovely organized playroom.

That moment of “Duh”! Hit and I knew to save my sanity I had to do something about it. But it was more than just creating bins of toys, it was creating the bins, but then keeping those toys out of sight and only letting my kids play with a certain set of toys.

So yes, I keep bins of toys up high in the playroom closet, and some toys accessible at all times, but the catch is this:

If the boys want a toy from the bins that are up high on a shelf, they first have to put all the toys they were currently playing with in the play room, (which isn’t much) back in their toy box. This can usually be done within a few minutes.

The Benefits of cycling thru toys:

1. When you need to clean up toys, you can do it in minutes and your kids can help with the toy clutter instead of mommy having to get down and organize all the toys. Keep only the amount of toys readily accessible that will fit in an average toy box. If it doesn’t fit in the box, keep it put away, that way when its time for the kids to clean up after themselves, they can do it  fast and know that all those toys go right back in the toy box.

2. Keep the toys that your kids love playing with most, up high. You can use that as a barter system to help keep their play are clean. For example if your kid loves his Innotab 2, don’t let them have free reign of the device. Use it during times when you’d like to have quiet TV time, or maybe when you want to have adult conversations with no interruptions, or as a reward for cleaning up their messes, using the potty or taking a nap.  J myster has my old iPod touch that I put in a fisher price protect the case for him with the parental controls enabled and age appropriate apps on it. When he wants his iPod, he first has to clean the living room of the toys that he was playing with and take them back to the playroom. (Then I limit his iPod time to a half hour at any given time.)

3. Cycling thru toys keeps your kids interested in their toys longer. If you have a bin of toys out so they can play one week, put that bin of toys up the next week and let them play with a different set of toys.

4. As stated in no. 1, keeping just the amount of toys out that will fit in a toy box is beneficial in creating specific toy clean up times. Teach your kids that at specific times in the day, like right before lunch, nap or dinner time that this is when we clean up the toys.

Keep Safety In Mind:

Keeping toys high up out of reach needs to be thought out carefully. Make sure your child can’t climb a dresser or shelf to get to a toy that is out of reach so they don’t kill or injure themselves. The best thing to do is designate a high closet shelf for toy bins that can’t be reached by climbing on anything.

Also label the bins for categorizing the toys in an easy clean up way, for example: “action figures”, blocks” “cars”, “balls” etc.

Pretty soon you’ll have a house that looks like kids live in it…not run it.

About Heather Jones

I'm a coffee addict wife, "work at home mom", mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy "momisodes".

Heartfully Heather


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Heather Jones

I'm a coffee addict wife, "work at home mom", mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy "momisodes".

20 thoughts on “Controlling Toy Clutter

  1. Ah ha ha, hmm, well If your husband has a problem putting his toys away and cleaning up after himself, I definitely think a reward system should be incorporated. 😉 LOL I think you know what I mean here. The adult children in our lives might be a little harder to do this with. Funny!

  2. Great ideas and completely understand how clutter can get away from you if you let it. I am also trying to implement a few tricks myself.

  3. The clutter really can be overwhelming! You offer so many great tips! We try and donate as much as we often as we can.

  4. We try to cycle through toys but unfortunately it isn’t going so well. Thanks for the tips. Will have to be more diligent because our house is super messy!

  5. This is great for me to keep in mind! I have a six (almost seven) month old now and I know this day is coming soon for me! Thank you for sharing these tips!!
    I came here from SSS, new follower! Have a great week!

  6. Hi Emily,

    I’ve found that there still with two boys are so many things I can learn from other moms and just kinda like “Duh” moments I’ve had over the last four years, like why didn’t I think of that sooner kind of thing. This has definitely helped in making me less stressed and able to re-focus my attention to other areas instead of the constant toy pick up. Thanks for stopping by! Off to check out our site! Have a great week!

  7. Those are awesome suggestions. I used to do that in my classroom but didn’t actually think about doing that at home. I had special bins with Thanksgiving toys (Playmobil Native Americans, etc) or bins for shapes or color play. What a great idea to organize your child’s toys at home. I guess I will need to put this plan into action for my grandkids!

  8. I think sometimes we make it a lot harder on ourselves. But even after I wrote that post, I still find that clutter can get the best of me. It is a battle for sure. I hate clutter!

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