Organizing Toys

A question from Nicole via Facebook:

Do you have suggestions for kids toys? How long do you keep a toy? How many toys should they have? What about if you have multiple age levels of kids, how do you handle toys that are too little for the older kids, but too old for the younger kids?

I’d love some tips!

Kids toys…. I knew I’d have to tackle this question sooner or later. I’ll be the first to admit my kids have too many toys. We only buy toys on their birthdays or Christmas, but they seem to multiply overnight and take over my home on a daily basis.

How long to do you keep a toy?

Depends. We don’t have any babies in our house so I gave away most of our baby toys. I do have one bin of baby friendly toys to pull out when we have visitors. I keep toys until my kids outgrow them (and there isn’t another kid waiting to inherit it) or until they break.

I also get rid of toys that appear in our house randomly (after trying to find the owner) and toys that do not get played with for extended periods of time. Unless the toy is really awesome.

For example, years ago I splurged and purchased my kids two very nice marble runs. My older kids played with them all the time. After a while they outgrew them and my younger children were not interested.

I’ve debated getting rid of the sets for a few years (every time I move them). I kept them because I thought the toys were valuable. Finally a few weeks ago my younger kids pulled them out and have been playing with them all the time.

How many toys should they have?

I’ve never known any child in America to have too few toys. I’m sure there are a few, but if you have a computer and internet to read this post your child probably has too many toys.

I believe the more toys a child has, the less likely they are to play with any of them. I’d rather invest in a few good quality toys that get played with all the time, rather than purchase inexpensive toys that are just junk.

If you want to test my theory box up half of your child’s toys when they are not around and store them in the garage or basement. I bet you will find that they play more frequently with the toys that remain than they ever did when they had all their toys.

How do you handle toys that are too little for the older kids, but too old for the younger kids?

In my house baby and toddler toys stay in the main living areas. This is because I don’t trust my toddlers to play alone in the house. (Think sharpie, drinking windex, wandering outside, dismantling the fridge, etc) Since I’m usually in the main living areas my toddlers usually play on the floor with toys from their bin.

Once we got to the point when we had older kids and babies, all the big kids toys (legos and playmobil) went into their bedroom in totes. They could play with them in their room or bring them out into the main area when the baby was napping.

On Monday I’ll share a few pointers for keeping all those toys organized! 

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  1. Alexis Hernandez says:

    We have totes that look like animals (TARGET has them). They fit perfectly into a bookshelf that is in my 2 1\2 year old sons room. It not only looks cute but you can organize what goes into what. For example all of the cars in the lion, legos in the shark etc. It also makes it easy for him to pick up his own toys. Even at 2! I pull out all the totes and he fills them up with his toys, then I put them back on the shelf. I plan to do the same thing for his little brother due in July. This also keeps all toys out of the main room, although they do seem to migrate during the day.

    To eliminate toy clutter every Christmas and Birthday we go through and donate toys. I have my son be a part of this so that he learns to give as well as receive. So far its working!

  2. Max says:

    Great article. Most children really get too much and can’t cope with the overload of choice. Less is definitely better in this case.

  3. Brett says:

    I may have had too many toys growing up, junk toys are no fun and more of a let down as kid then anything else. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about Toys on my blog,

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