5 Tips For Getting A Grip On Your Overflowing Toy Problem

March 5, 2019

Do you have a toy problem in your house? We did – in practically until we got ahold of the situation. To start I removed ALL the toys from Piper’s room – leaving only a basket of stuffed animals & blankets and her books. This has made a huge difference. I then implemented some new storage baskets in our Ikea shelves (they hold & hide SO much clutter) and lastly I had a professional organizer come help me tackle the biggest challenge: our dumping ground for any kid item: the playroom! Luckily we have an amazing organizer locally, Systems By Susie and today Susie is sharing the only 5 tips you NEED to get ahold of your toy problem and organize your kids stuff for good! 

Tip 1: Group Like Things

When organizing your toys, think in broad categories like Vehicles, Pretend Play, Crafts, Building, Games, Dolls, etc. and group them in a container together. It will make clean up easier for your kids when the groupings are intuitive. Also, if you have a play kitchen, it’s helpful to place the play food and dishes right next to it. For a train table, put the trains and tracks close by. For a doll house, include the furniture and dolls in a basket next to it. Make it as easy as possible to both play with a toy AND to clean it up!


Tip 2: Rotate Toys

Less is more. Keep only the toys that your kids are currently playing with. This sounds obvious, I know. But, consider the space in your playroom as “prime real estate.” Only keep the toys that they engage with, and put the others away in a closet to rotate in later. Bring them out in a month, and if they still don’t play with them, it’s time to donate or sell them.

Just like Marie Kondo, author of the best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests, ask the question, “Does it spark joy?” for your child.  Are you keeping the toy because it makes them happy? Or do you keep it out of guilt because someone gave it you and you feel a responsibility to keep it? Or maybe you feel bad getting rid of it because you remember how much you spent buying it? Ultimately, let your child lead on this one and keep only the toys they love.


Tip 3: Remove Packaging

When possible, take toys out of their original boxes and packaging and place them in matching containers that are easier to store. Puzzles and bulky board games are stored more compactly in these zippered pouches. You can tape the puzzle photo to the outside using clear packing tape. For legos, cut out the photo on the box and store all the instructions and pieces in clear zip lock bags. Then you can have one container with multiple lego sets, taking up much less space.

Tip 4: Pick the Right Storage

Having the right organization containers makes ALL the difference in a playroom.  I often see cubbies like IKEA’s Kallax line in toy rooms with solid bins or baskets filling the entire cube. They give your space that “Pinterest Perfect” look, but if toys are out of sight, they will be out of mind.  What’s the point of having a “perfect” playroom that your kids never play in? If you already own these cubbies, instead find bins that are half the height of the cube, so that your child can still look down into it and grab what they need or buy these clear bins.

Here are my two favorites for storage:

  • Clear containers, like the men’s shoe boxes from The Container Store,   make it possible to see what is inside and are easy to label. They also stack nicely and are perfect for storing arts and crafts
  • I LOVE reach-in containers like the Storagepalooza from Crate & Kids. The cubbies hold so many toys and kids can both see what they have and make clean up a breeze.

Tip 5: Label with Words AND Pictures

Label everything! Adding a visual picture along with words enables young children to help with clean up. Not only does it help you maintain organization in a space, it helps everyone else (children, spouses, babysitters, and grandparents) help keep that space clean. For picture labels, you can make or purchase vinyl labels, take photos of your toys and put them on the front of the bins, or purchase printed picture labels and put them in clear adhesive pouches like these

Set your kids up for success in their playroom.  Have a moderate amount of toys they LOVE (and actually play with!), give everything a place (grouped in categories that make sense), put them in the right kind of containers for easy access, and then label those bins, allowing for others to help in the clean up process. Have fun playing!


Susie Salinas, is a Professional Organizer & Owner of Systems by Susie and mom and based in Annapolis, Maryland. You can follow her on Instagram here




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