Learn how to declutter kid’s toys and room without losing your sanity. If you’re feeling overwhelming about the cleaning process, these ideas are perfect for you!

child stacking blocks

After recently cleaning out my son’s toys and room I was asked how to know what to get rid of when your kid wants to keep everything.

The first thing you need to know is that every kid wants to keep every toy.

It’s very rare that a child will bring a toy to you and let you know that they’re done playing with it.

As their parent, we have to teach them how to keep their room clean.

Here are a few tips that I hope you will find helpful in this process!

How To Declutter Little Kid’s Toys

(Learn how to declutter older kid’s toys below.)

1. Declutter toys when your child isn’t around.

Especially if you’re doing a major declutter or toy cleaning session, I recommend that you do it when your kids are not around. If not the process will take a lot longer because they’ll want to play with/look at everything and do their best to talk you into keeping everything.

Turn on a show for them to watch, clean out while they’re taking a nap or in another room, or send them to grandmas for a few hours. I promise this will make the decluttering process so much easier.

2. Ask yourself if the toy is being used.

When trying to decide which toys to get rid of the main thing I look for is whether or not my son is playing with it. If it’s been sitting in the corner for the last month and a half to two months and he hasn’t touched it, it’s time to say goodbye.

Don’t feel guilty about getting rid of toys.

Whether they played with them for 3 weeks or 6 months, the toys have served their purpose. Instead of having them sit in the corner piling up it’s time for another child to enjoy them.

Whether you choose to donate or sell them (learn how to successfully sell on Facebook Marketplace here), I recommend that you get them out of your house.

Throw away broken toys.

With all of the toys that your child has, there’s absolutely no reason to keep broken toys. Throw them away, friend!

And take it from me, hide the toy in the trash. If not, it’s inevitable that your child will see the toy and have a meltdown.

wooden toy blocks spelling play

3. Have a toy rotation to eliminate clutter.

Whether it be birthday or Christmas, it’s inevitable that your child will have an influx of toys a few times a year. This is why it’s very important to have a toy rotation.

What is a toy rotation?

A toy rotation is as simple as filling a box or bin with toys and putting it away. After a few months pull it back out.

Begin the cycle again by filling that same box with toys and putting them away.

Having a toy rotation keeps toys “fresh” and your child will feel like he’s getting new toys.

You’ll love seeing the excitement on your child’s face as they pull a toy out of the box.

If your child isn’t playing with a particular toy after it’s been put away in the toy rotation, it’s time to say goodbye because he’s not interested in it anymore. It has served its purpose and is ready for new home.

4. Give your child systems to keep their toys organized.

I wish it was the case but being organized doesn’t come naturally to most children. This is where we have to step in and teach them how to keep their toys organized.

Put systems in place so that each toy has a “home.” When it’s time to pick up your child will know where the toys go and be more apt to put them back instead of just leaving them laying around. (This doesn’t mean they’ll automatically begin picking things up on their own, but it’s a great start.)

Put like items together and give each and every toy a home!

5. Clean up toys throughout the day.

Teach your child to clean up at different intervals throughout the day.

Before naptime or bedtime, before watching shows (this is a great incentive to get it done), when they’re done playing with something…having toys strewn all over your house doesn’t have to be the norm.

Set your child up for success by teaching them to be organized.

clean and decluttered bedroom

How To Declutter Your Older Kid’s Toys

(Learn how to declutter little kid’s toys above.)

1. Let your older child help declutter.

This might sound counterintuitive but I want to encourage you to let your older children (beginning around age 8-9) help with the decluttering process.

Letting them help lets them feel like they have a choice and a say in the matter.

I also believe it empowers them to keep their room clean.

2. Use the three pile system.

Start the process of decluttering by making three piles – keep, donate and trash.

Each item in the room needs to go in a pile.

3. When donating a toy put a “face” with it.

If they pull out an item and are unsure of whether or not to keep it suggest a friend or family member who might enjoy the toy.

You can also remind your child that when they donate an item they’re giving a family that might not have much money an opportunity to get a great toy. This simple act helps kids put a face with it because they can picture the kid in the second hand store finding the item.

I’ve learned that putting a face with a toy helps my son be more apt to give it away. He knows that “Bobby” will be playing with the toy and it won’t be going into the trash. (This might not always work but it’s nice when it does!)

4. Offer to help your child sell the item.

Facebook Marketplace is a beautiful thing when it comes to selling things.

If the item has enough value, offer to help your child sell it (check out my post for how to successfully sell on Facebook marketplace) so they can buy (or save up to buy) something they’ve really been excited about.

As a side note, you could also teach them to look for used toys to help save money. Buying used gives them more toy for their money!

red clock

5. Start small for the reluctant child.

If you have a child who is absolutely against decluttering their toys or room I recommend that you start small so that you don’t overwhelm them.

You might not understand why but the things in their room are important to them. When you make their toys important to you it will go a long way for your child.

Focus on organizing first.

Choose an area of your child’s room where you see a big difference could be made if it was organized, and start there.

For example, if there are papers strewn all over the room, encourage them to have a box or area where they can keep all of their special papers. (Take it a step further by taking them to the store and letting them pick out a special box for their papers.)

Give your child systems to encourage the decluttering process.

It’s highly likely that the clutter in their room is overwhelming to them but they don’t know where to start (or want to ask for help because they think you’re going to want to throw everything away).

Much like finding a special box for their papers, help your child put systems in place to be more organized.

Break the decluttering down into smaller areas of the room.

This is perfect for the child who is overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering their entire room.

Start small by picking a closet, the top of a nightstand or dresser, or one area of the floor.

Make it feel doable for your child so she’ll be encouraged to keep going and declutter her entire room.

Praise your child when they’re finished.

Especially if your child is reluctant to declutter their toys or room, make a special effort to praise them for the effort they made, whether it be big or small!

Your praise will make a huge difference with their self-esteem and might just help them want to keep moving forward with keeping their room clean.

6. Play the timer game.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and encourage your child to see how much cleaning or organizing she can get done in that amount of time.

Take it a step further and work on a similar project in another room. Then compare each other’s rooms to see how well you both did.

7. Record a time-lapse video of your child decluttering.

Every kid loves to watch videos of themself.

Simply place your phone in the corner of the room and hit record. When you’re finished decluttering let them watch their video.

I cannot tell you how many times this has motivated my son to clean up a room.

I know the task of decluttering kids rooms can be daunting but you’ve got this momma. I’m cheering you on!

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