I’ve found that people fall in to two categories when it comes to their homes…the very neat and the very messy. There’s gray area in the home neatness spectrum. I fall in the gray…closer to the “very messy” but with brief brushes with the “very neat.” Where do you fall in the Home Neatness Spectrum?
My house wasn’t always messy. In fact I wrote about the blissful 1.5 years after my husband and I built our new home. We loved the space. After living in a very small two-bedroom town home moving in to a four-bedroom home was amazing. Our furniture was dwarfed in the house. There was open space as far as the eye could see. We had two completely empty bedrooms and an unfinished basement. My clutter-free house was no more just prior to the birth of my first child. The arrival of the baby crib was the start of the cluttering deluge. Soon every square inch of my home was filled with baby equipment, toys, games, puzzles, and even briefly a basketball net!
I wrote a bit about my journey to decluttering earlier this week. Today I want to tell you how I reclaimed my home from the clutter of toys and other kid stuff. The process for ridding my home of toys was a gradual one. It didn’t happen overnight. Took years in fact. I’ve found that you have to be ready both mentally and emotionally to be able to start organizing your home.
I was only able to think about organizing my home after my youngest child was born. I knew he would be my last child. When he arrived, my home was overflowing with every baby toy you could imagine. With two girls, I had doubles of many toys…two dolls cribs, high chairs, strollers, and changing tables. The dress up box was stuffed with at least a dozen outfits with matching shoes. And since I wanted my girls to have access to all toys, not just girl toys, we had train sets, Hot Wheel cars, race tracks, and action figure play sets. In every room there were toys. I even had a train table in my bedroom for a bit. Crazy, right?!
I hit a wall. I remember looking around and thinking “I cannot deal with all this stuff for one more minute!” My epiphany happened when my baby son was approaching 6 months old. He was very bored with baby toys. Wanted out of the exersaucer. Clamored to get to the little kid toys. If he was ready to stop playing with baby stuff, then I was more than ready. He was the impetus I needed to start the toy decluterring process. Since I was at home full time with my son and I had no work projects looming (I had quit my freelance job shortly before he was born), I was ready to get rid of toys, games, baby equipment, and more.
10 Tips for Decluttering Toys
- Pick a room…the nursery, the playroom, the family room, your child’s bedroom.
- Look around that room with a critical eye. What toys are no longer needed? Is your baby too big for the bouncy seat or swing? Does she play with the stacking rings?
- Move baby equipment, toys, and games from the room you are in to another location. I stored all no longer played with toys to the basement storage room. I found that if I stored toys in the garage, the toys would get dusty and grimy.
- Bag or box up toys so that if little ones wander in to the storage location they won’t see that toy kitchen that you stashed away months ago. With kids, out of sight is very much out of mind!
- Move new toys or toys that your child has not played with in to the newly cleared spaces. You’ll be amazed at how much your child will love seeing the new toys. She will most likely forget about the old toys.
- After a period of time — could be 1 week or 1 month or even 1 year — sort through the toys.
- Check to see that toys, baby furniture, and equipment are clean, free of tears, and that you have all working parts.
- Decide what you are going to do with your unused baby equipment and toys. I chose to sort my stuff in to three piles: CONSIGNMENT STORE, DONATION, and TRASH. I wanted to sell the toys in good condition and then use the money to buy more toys. Since we had so many toys, I didn’t want to donate it all. I used the money I earned from consigning to buy toys that were more age-appropriate. Don’t worry…I had — and still have — bags and bags for the donation truck. At one point, I had a scheduled pickup by a donation truck about once a month. In addition, I consigned at three consignment stores. Now after years and years of decluttering, I have less stuff to sort through. I’m down to consigning about once every two months and having a donation truck come by about once every three months.
- Call for a consignment appointment or schedule a donation truck pickup.
- Bag up broken and no longer working toys for trash pickup. Note: Toys and baby furniture that has been recalled cannot be sold or given away for safety reasons.