How to declutter toys.

A Reader asks: “I plan to drastically reduce the toy inventory around my house this week. Can you share some good guidelines for me to determine what we can live without?”

1. A little known secret…if you pull the plug on the TV, you can get rid of most of the toys.

Once you get past the initial withdrawal from television (which is NOT fun) kids are much more content with less stuff. They get very involved with toys for building and make-believe.

They begin to do incredible things with cardboard boxes!

2. If you are not willing to part with the TV, try thinking the way dog owners think.
Rotate your kids’ toys. If you only have 6 great toys for a dog, you hide at least half of them and bring out the hidden ones after a week or so. (Of course, hiding the others.)

Consider rotating two kids’ toys out every few days to keep them fresh. 

3. When decluttering, get rid of anything that’s missing parts and pieces, anything broken, anything your child hasn’t played with or even noticed in months. (Hint: you might want to do this secretly..they wont miss a thing.)
4. Let your children help you. Have them donate their gently-worn, excessive toys to a childrenʼs home so they can SEE where their giving is going. I recommend only doing this with a child who is old enough and mature enough to handle parting with their toys.

You want to keep your sanity! 

5. Prevent toys from coming into the house (excessive hand-me-down toys & gifts). 

For kids’ birthdays and Christmas, ask grandparents for gift certificates to a children’s museum, zoo or art classes for your little Van Gogh.
As new gifts come in, have them trade one old toy for every 2 new toys they receive or some similar formula.

6. The less toys you own, the less toys are available when other children come over to play. Since children tend to drag out every toy available, you can really start to regret those play dates. If you have to, hide the bulk of your child’s toys. (Children are often happier playing together with less toys.) 

7. When storing toys, “think up.” In a small room, this creates more visual space and makes for faster, easier pickup. 

8. Ways to “think up”: 

~Toy nets hanging off floor but within childʼs reach…for stuffed animals

~A long, low shelf (child height). A label or picture on the shelf for each toy. Small bins for small pieces like Legos labeled with a simple picture. 

~Hooks at child height.

~Clear shoe hangers on backs of doors.

Your ideal day  (& home) will be much easier to achieve as you rid your home of excess toys. Less to pick up, less to wash, less to put away.

Do you use any of these declutter rules or storage items now?
How’s it workin’ for ya’? 

I picked these especially for those of you with kids clutter. I only recommend items that I have used or (one item..the drawers) that I desperately wish I’d had when my kids were young!

If you’re interested in one of these items, please click here to buy. This will help support the worthy cause of Livin on the Skinny. And maybe we can have something besides Ramen noodles for dinner this week! {kidding : ) }


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  1. Great article! You chose some great pictures, too. I can’t wait to read some of your other posts. I am always trying to organize one more thing. If only my kids would let it stay clean once I organize it!

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