Another Christmas has past, Santa and his Elves are enjoying a well deserved rest, and all is right in the world! Well, almost…
If your house is like most with kiddos, there are new Christmas toys scattered everywhere. And when you add in all the old toys, they take up a lot of space. After all, our houses are only so big.
Time to get organized! You might feel overwhelmed, but no need to be. Here are some simple tips to help you get started.
First, gather all the toy packaging. It’s likely not needed, so discard it. Just, be sure you’ve removed all the items and accessories. Save instructions and warranties, and dump the rest. Designate a big box as your recycling/trash “center”. Use it as a pre-disposal area in case you realize something is missing and was accidentally discarded. Then when your ready, one trip to the recycle/trash bin.
Now that you have some space, it’s time for the real work to begin. Sort through the old toys and decide what stays and what goes. Favorite toys can stay, but toys that have served their useful life with your kids, can be donated, sold, or discarded.
Kids can be so enamoured with their new toys, they likely won’t miss their old favorites for a while. This will give you time to move these old favorites into a “rotation”. Store them out of sight in boxes or bins in a closet, garage, or basement. In a while, as the newness wears off the Christmas toys, you can rotate the old favorites back in. They’ll seem new and exciting again. You can repeat this process throughout the year, continually identifying those toys that stay or go.
So what do we do with toys that are no longer fun and interesting and need to go? Purge them of course. Donate, sell, save, or discard.
If a toy is soiled or damaged, the choice is easy, discard it.
If it’s still in good shape though, consider donation. Donated toys are just waiting to become someone’s new favorite. Consider these popular donation options:
- Resell charities such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army,
- Women’s shelters and children’s centers,
- Non-profit preschools and nurseries,
- Church charities,
- Toys for Tots,
- Ronald McDonald House.
There is goodness in donation — personal gratification as well as a nice tax deduction. As your kids get older and understand the reasons for donation, you can get them involved too.
If you choose to sell the old toys, a yard sale is always a good option. You can also list them on websites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and your neighborhood homeowners association.
Lastly, you can choose to save old toys. Maybe you’re planning to have more children. Maybe you want to pass the toys down to family members or friends with younger children. After all, some toys are timeless. Legos, MatchBox cars, and Barbie dolls never get old.
Ok, good work! Now let’s circle back to the favorite toys we’ve decided to keep for day-to-day play. What do you do with them? Ah, phase two of our plan to organize.
House Beautiful has some great storage ideas for the kids involving shelving, cubbies, bins, and baskets. This cubbie implementation is a really neat idea both in the room and the closet. Both are implemented with simple shelving, baskets of various types, and tote bags!
If you want to upscale a bit for small toy storage in the family room, consider a wicker basket with lid. These are really sharp! Select an image to see pricing.
Lastly, let me leave you with this thought. Wouldn’t it be great if your kids picked up after themselves? Well, they can. Instill the habit while they are young. Teach them to pick up and put away their toys. You can make it an end-of-day routine just for them or part of a group effort to straighten up the house. You might also consider teaching them to put away a toy before getting another one out.
You can also turn putting toys away into a game to make it fun. Let them ring a bell when they finish, or set a timer to see if they can beat the clock. For younger children, help them out. Pitch in so cleaning doesn’t feel like an insurmountable task to them. It doesn’t take much to make cleaning fun for kids, and it can make all the difference in their attitude about helping out.
You’ve got this! Follow these simple tips to tame the toy chaos! Your house will look good, and you’ll feel great. There’s some simple satisfaction in organizing and straightening up, and just think how prepared you’ll be for next Christmas!