Today's mission is to get rid of toy clutter from your child's toy boxes, bins and other toy storage containers.
This mission continues on with the previous couple of days missions, all about decluttering toys, because I didn't think just one day in the Declutter 365 calendar would be enough for the task of decluttering toys.
That's why I split it up into smaller tasks, including the first day focusing on decluttering broken and outgrown toys, and yesterday starting the process of decluttering toys with small parts, or toy sets.
Today's mission is meant to be a catch all for whatever other toys you and your kids have got inside toy storage containers of any variety, such as toy boxes, bins, and more.
(Please look at the Declutter 365 calendar for these missions, because I do also have missions for some specific types of popular toys, such as stuffed animals, games, cards and puzzles, and video games.)
All of these toy missions are designed to be done while we work through the Organize Toys & Games Challenge, which is one of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges here on the site. However, this and all the other toy missions can be done at any time that you really feel like you need to do it.
Today I want you to focus on decluttering the toys that are within containers in your home. Because of our emphasis in working in 15 minute increments you should only focus on one container at a time.
Doing just one container at a time works well to keep you from making a huge mess, and also from getting you too overwhelmed with the process.
If, while working through the mission, you run out of time or energy to keep going (because we all know decluttering, especially with kids helping, can be very tiring), and you've dumped out all the containers at once you're going to leave a huge toy mess in your floor, and that is going to get exercerbated by kids who'll play with toys and carry them off here and there, making the mess worse.
However, going through just one container at a time allows you to contain the mess, focus your attention on a small amount of stuff, which tends to make the decision process much simpler, and let's you put things back away that you're keeping as you go so you're never left with a huge toy explosion.
With this decluttering method you most likely will need to go through the containers at least a second time (with this second round of decluttering being much quicker than the first round).
The first time you'll remove anything you know you or your child don't want or need, and you'll probably get rid of a surprisingly large amount of stuff.
Once that initial purge is done then you'll have more room to sort like items together, and to better assess what types of toys, and what quantities of each type you've got left. Then, it's easier to make that second round of decisions, decluttering even more as you can see what's left more clearly.
I often say that decluttering of this type is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Each time you remove just a bit more, until you've got it down to what is most important for you and your kids, so everything they have left are things that they enjoy playing with, are age appropriate, not broken, and there is toy storage space within your home for all the toys.
I also have one more word of caution about toy boxes and bins, and other toy storage containers, while you're focused on these items during this mission. Be wary of toy containers that are too large for the toys they're holding.
Keeping toys contained within boxes and other storage containers is a good idea, so there's a place for your kids to put things away and not have everything underfoot all the time when not in use.
However, you should use thought and care when deciding what type of storage containers to use for your children's toys. If you've got lots of little toys, and toy parts, within a large container, it can quickly become a jumble of stuff that makes it difficult for children to find what they want to play with.
In other words, the wrong storage containers can turn kids beloved toys into toy clutter, simply from becoming a big pile of junk where you can't find anything easily.
Therefore, make sure to choose containers that allow you to fit all the toys from a particular type or category together, but without being so big that you're trying to add every single toy into one container.
Three smaller baskets, each containing a specific type of toy, such as blocks, cars, and balls, will be much easier for your kids to play with, and put things away in an organized manner, than one large container where all these things are dumped in, never to be found easily again.
You will quickly get a sense, as you declutter your various toy containers, if they're right or wrong for the job, depending on how organized they are, or how much of a jumble they've become before you began decluttering.
If you notice some large toy containers, such as large toy boxes, are always getting cluttered, you may want to get rid of them or repurpose them for something else, and get smaller containers after this decluttering session, so things are easier to keep organized in the future.
Here are quite a few photos sent in by other Declutter 365 participants who've already done this mission. These photos show what you too can accomplish when you tackle this task, and what a difference it can make in your home!
Here is a photo from a reader, Danielle. She said, "I just cleaned up and organized my 2 1/2yo toys. I did get rid of 2 boxes (same size as those shown) worth and my next to do is her clothes. She's finally up to 18-24mos (she's a preemie)."
Next, here are a couple photos from another Declutter 365 participant, Loriana, who said, "My 7 year old and I went through her toy bins. It came out to 3 bags of garbage."
Finally, here's a photo from a reader, Sabrina, who said she was about to tackle her child's overloaded toy box. Are you ready to start working on your toy clutter too?
I hope seeing these pictures and instructions have inspired you to declutter excess toys from your house.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
Second photo in the decluttering mission collage courtesy of Jalil Arfaoui
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!