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5 Journal Prompts to Help You Simplify Your Toy Clutter

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

I have always lived in small homes, approximately 1,200 sq feet or less. As you can imagine, clutter has a profound impact in these smaller homes. It cannot be hidden and its presence is felt. When there isn't any visual white space, it amazingly feels like there isn't any mental white space either. Toys have their own special way of accumulating quickly. Seeing the way they can initially delight a child, it is quite tempting as a loving parent, grandma, or aunt, to want to replicate that feeling again and again. It is easy to find yourself with too much, creating overwhelm, and not enough space. Mental space. Space to rest. Space to evolve. Space for creativity.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably looking for motivation or a place to start. You may be needing some parameters to take into account or think about as you begin this process. I hope you find some encouragement and tools to get started here.

Do your toys have a natural boundary?

I read a quote recently stating, "I have never been forced to accept compromises but I have willingly accepted constraints."

It is quite amazing how much something can multiply without some constraint or boundary.

I have seen this with my own possessions with items like books. We have adult versions of things we collect too quickly without constraint including books, coffee mugs, board games, and the list goes on.

Instead of limiting ourselves to one bookshelf, it is tempting to keep buying more bookshelves or start piling them on the floor.

It is similar with our children's toys. If we do not willingly choose to live with some constraint, we can buy bin after bin or toybox after toybox to fit them all.

So, if you want to declutter your toy collection, start by asking yourself, what constraint or boundary do you want to live with? How many storage bins do you want? Rather than being reactive to the amount of toys you are accumulating, ask yourself how many toys do you want to accumulate? For example, we have one rope basket for stuffed animals. If they start to exceed their basket, then some have to go.

Take time to consider this for your toys. What determines enough for you? Where do you want to draw the line?

Do I have natural clean out days?

Do you have built in times to reflect on and condense your toy collection? For me, this is right before Christmas and birthdays. This maintenance keeps cleanout from becoming overwhelming. If you do not, consider when your collection begins to build the most and schedule some reflection time before then.

Do you have too much variety of similar items?

Many times I have been tempted to get my children bristle blocks or wooden blocks because they look so fun! However, I already have foam blocks and Duplo blocks. This concept can extend to many different categories also. Another great example is art supplies. I wish I would've never purchased acrylic paints for my kiddo. They are definitely more of a headache when it comes to clean up for me, and water color would've been sufficient.

This can extend to animals, cars, books, and many more. The point is, they essentially all do the same thing for our children, but when we continue to add variety, we must find more places to store extra items or they begin to clutter our home.

Can anything be used as something else?

Can any of your toys have duel purposes? Having less toys - and even non-toys, sparks more creativity with the toys you have on hand. I don't have Play-Doh stamps, because I have blocks I use to make impressions in Play-Doh. I try to keep items limited by seeing the possibility all of the ways an item can be used.

How long does my child play with this item?

Puzzles are a good example of this for us. I have a toddler, and most times a puzzle is dumped and left behind for mom to pick up the pieces. On a good day, she may do the puzzle, but it only takes her two to three minutes. It does not hold her attention long, so for me, it is not worth the space it takes up or the mess it makes.

Does my child actually play with this toy?

This one is the obvious question but needs to be asked. Through observation, we as parents usually know what toys our kiddos are playing with, but if you are unsure, I put them up in a closet for a month. If my child asks for the toy, I tell her I moved it but I will go get it for her. If she does not seem to notice, it is usually fine to donate.

I hope this list helps you get started on simplifying the toy clutter in your home. To me, simplicity is such a gift and you may find that your kiddo thinks the same thing too (they just may not know it yet).


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