Tackle the Toys

Help. Our kids toys multiply like rabbits and are literally taking over the house. Whats the most effective way to keep them corralled

We understand. Between birthdays, grandparents, and special occasions, the toys just stream into the typical family household. And if youre a kid at heart like we both are, its doubly hard to say no to shiny, sparkly new itemsespecially true when you can rationalize them as critical tools for helping little ones grow and develop! But ultimately the math of toy management is simple: more toys in than toys out means youre going to have a problem. Happily there are a few, simple things you can do to keep them from taking over. Put one or two of these tips to work for you.

  • Give them a home. Make it easy for your kids to get in the habit of picking up after each play session by giving them a bright, fun container for their items. Get them invested in the idea by enlisting their help in picking out or decorating the container. Then, each time they finish with a toy or set of toys, make sure they put things in the box before moving on to the next thing.
  • Establish limits. Its hard to put away toys when there isnt enough room for them. If your children have more toys than their toy box can hold, its time to get rid of something. If you frequently have overflowing toy boxes, set aside thirty minutes this weekend and weed out toys that have passed their prime or are no longer appropriate. Put gently worn toys in a bag and bring to a local consignment store or give them to a charity. Then, establish a rule that for every new toy that comes into the house, one must go.
  • Rotate toys. This is an especially great trick for young children (under 4). Rather than keeping every toy out, break up your childrens toys into three or four extra large, Ziploc bags, keeping an interesting mix of toy types in each bag. Then switch the toys in rotation in your childs room every few months, keeping the out of rotation toy bags in a closet, the attic or basement. This helps reduce toy fatigue and makes toy switching day a lot of fun as kids dig into their new toys.

We purge in the fall - before Christmas. If they haven't been played with, they're gone. Sentimental stuffed toys are kept, but anything that hasn't been played with is fair game & given to kids that don't have. We too have asked for things like swimming lessons, tickets, 'experiences' for the kids, magazine subscriptions, etc.


We've started asking the grandparents to give things like books or "experiences" rather than toys. Things like passes to the zoo, or the latest edition of Magic Treehouse books are not only educational, but help me stay on top of the toy clutter!


My husband has no emotional attachment to any toys, so periodically when one of our kids is not home, he will do a purge of their toys with a great big garbage bag. Some go to Goodwill, some go in the garbage. We never miss those toys either.



We rotate our toys and our daughter loves it! In fact when we bring out a new batch she is very excited. She usually says thank you so much when she sees the "new" toys.