Learn how to organize toys and get your playspace organized once and for all! Overwhelmed by too many kids’ toys? Check out these 7 sanity-saving tips for how to organize your kids’ toys even without a playroom.
We love to celebrate holidays and birthdays every year with cake, a party—and, of course, gifts. It truly brings me joy to see how excited my kids are as they unwrap presents, but without careful planning, the aftermath can mean pure stress and chaos, along with frantic searches for “how to declutter toys” online.
How to Organize Kids’ Toys in 7 Sanity-Saving Steps
It feels like your kids’ toys can go from 1 to 100 in 5 seconds flat. And with multiple kids, it can feel like a toy tornado has torn through your already crazy house.
These seven steps will show you how to organize your kids’ toys so you can reduce your stress, save your sanity and truly enjoy the toys and the happy memories that come with them.
1. Visualize the Space and How You Want it to Look
This is the fun part. Think about how you want the space to look when it’s done and how much fun your kids will have in that room when it’s finished. Think about what your kids like to do most and where you see them typically playing with it. Ask yourself:
- What do I want my kids to play with in this room?
- Where will we keep the majority of their toys? In a playroom? In their bedrooms? In the living room? A few in each?
- What are my kids’ favorite activities and where do I see them doing it? (for example, do they read in their rooms or snuggled on the couch; do they play dress up in their rooms or in the living room; do they have nerf battles in the backyard or is it an all-out war in the living room?)
If you don’t have a toy room, make a simple plan for which rooms toys belong in and which ones to put there.
2. Take All the Toys Out
Gather all the toys together from all the rooms into one central spot if you can. It might be overwhelming to look at the massive pile but it will also help you greatly in the next step.
Don’t skip this step—if you don’t realize just how many toys your kids’ have, you won’t know what needs to be organized (and harder yet…put back in its place!).
3. Declutter and Purge the Broken, Unused and Outgrown Toys
This part might take some time but it’s essential for getting your toys truly organized and under control. Gather the things you need to declutter and do a thorough toy purge:
- a black trash bag (so no one can tell what’s inside)
- a donate bag
- if you struggle with parting with toys, have a “save for later” box
- a small keepsake box for each kid for super special baby mementos
- a paper and pen to write down things that go in the donation bag
Go through everything and make a FAST decision on each piece and where it should go. Don’t overthink it! Here are some easy “rules” on how to organize toys and declutter with speed:
- if it’s broken, a Happy Meal toy or party favor, throw it out
- if it’s missing a piece, throw it out or donate if it’s not missing an essential piece
- if your kid hasn’t played with it in the last six months, donate
- if your kid has lost interest, put it in the box to save for later or donate
- if it’s a super special memento to you of their baby/childhood, put it in the keepsake box
- when in question, donate
4. Make Clever Use of the Space You Have
If you don’t have the luxury of a separate playroom, you can still have your toy clutter under control. You just need to make clever uses of what space you do have for toy storage. If your kids’ toys are in their bedrooms, you’ll want to maximize the space in their closets before adding new toy organizers.
Think outside the box and use the storage you already have, such as your closet. Here are some toy organizer ideas to utilize within your closet:
- add a hanging organizer on the back of your door with baskets for small items or space to keep folded clothes
- slide a rolling cart into free space in the closet where kids can put toys and you can slide in and out of the way when needed
- install extra shelves in the closet to stack seasonal toys or ones that are not yet age-appropriate
If your kids’ toys are in the living room, you’ll want to have functional and pretty storage that won’t stress you out to look at when people come over.
Here are some a few toy organizer ideas for the living room that hides the mess inside:
- storage ottoman
- storage cubs and lids
- baskets with lids
5. Make Sure You Choose Kid-Friendly Toy Storage
Once you know all the spaces where toys can go, you might still need actual toy organizers to keep them in. The key is you want your kids to put their toys away. Even toddlers can do it all on their own as long as you make the system clear to them.
Make sure you consider your child’s age and height to make sure the toy storage have works for them, so they can easily put their toys away.
Easy Toy Storage Ideas
Here are some quick tips to make sure the toy organizer ideas you are considering will work for your kids. When choosing items, look for:
- baskets and drawers that are easy to slide in and out
- toy storage bin lids that come off storage bins should be easy for little fingers to use. Avoid anything that automatically closes or can snap shut
- toys that are accessible for your kids’ height
- shelves and bookcases that can easily be secured to the wall
- simple ways you can help your kids understand how the toys are organized (sorted by color or sorted by type of toy)
Here are some more fun and clever ways to organize toys, big and small.
5. Fill Your Toy Storage Containers 1/2 Way
I know. You’ll be tempted to fill up all these clever toy storage solutions all the way. But also know that your kids will be moving toys around and getting more toys every time a birthday or holiday rolls around. You want the containers to still be able to hold all the toys thrown in it. Or you’ll have to go through this whole decluttering and organizing toys project again sooner than you’d like.
Thoughtfully and carefully select your child’s absolute favorite toys to fill each container halfway in the room where they will play with it. Once all their favorite toys are in all the containers you have, do a toy purge and declutter the rest.
6. Save Some Toys for Later
If you opted for setting some toys aside during your initial toy sorting, this is where it will come in handy.
In 6 months or so, bring the box out again. They may react by acting like it is their birthday all over again, filled with sheer excitement to play with the “new” toys (good thing you left some space in the containers for these).
They also may quickly seem disinterested in these toys. In this case, they can go straight into your donation bin.
7. Enjoy the Space and Your Organized Toys!
Now that your toys are organized, enjoy the space and encourage (or bribe) your kids to keep it that way. Make it look the way you envisioned and start imagining all the special memories you’ll share in your newly organized and clutter-free space. That will be motivation in itself for all of you to keep the space clean and tidy.
I hope these tips on how to organize toys have shown you that you can get your toy chaos under control. Follow these 7 sanity-saving steps and I know you’ll go from overwhelmed with too many toys to a fun, tidy, organized play space your family will enjoy.
Related: 23 fun and clever ways to organize toys.