This is a re-write/edited version of a previous post.

I was watching a conversation happen on someone else’s social media account that was started with a seemingly simple question: “How can I best organize my kids’ toys?” I rarely respond to these because these aren’t the best spaces to have such opposite-of-simple questions. I’ve written recently about why I prefer working side-by-side with my clients and here is another reason: every family is different.

My answer to the toy question can only come after you answer more questions about the size of your home, the priorities of your parenting, and the personalities of your children, just to name a few.

What do I want to tell most people who ask this question? What one mass answer would I give? Throw away all the toys.

Okay, not really. But it would certainly benefit your family if your children had less toys. And depending on how many your house currently has, a lot less toys. They might even be telling you that in not as many words.

Do your kids melt-down a lot at your home? Do they constantly say that they are bored? Are there boxes of toys that haven’t seen the light of day in months or years? This could be your children saying, “there is too much stuff in here!”

I’m not the expert on why that happens but I can give you a chunk of questions to help you decide which of the toys in the mountain can leave.

Children’s toys can multiply so quickly. Between birthdays, holidays, and the generosity of family and friends, a room in your home can go from a mild mannered play room to an all out toy store… just not as organized. Below are 10 questions to ask to help you decide what toys to keep and what toys to box up or get out of the house altogether.

I’ve found that asking the same question in a different way can make all of the difference.

Questions to help you think of what to keep out and around your home

  1. What toys do your kids go to first thing? (a book, a doll, a car, etc.)
  2. What do they spend extended amounts of time playing with? (manga-tiles, coloring, reading)
  3. What would they cry real, lasting tears about losing? (a lovey vs. 1 of 30 matchbox cars)
  4. What toys do you see as a grower of imagination and learning and growth as a functioning member of society? (legos, musical instruments, craft/science supplies)
  5. What toys meet your family’s mission statement? (if you don’t have family mission statement, take some time to come up with one)

Questions to help you think of what to get out of your home (or box up for soonish or sentimental)

  1. Are there duplicate toys that serve the same purpose? (I’m talking about 2 xylophones here, not 2 stuffed animals.)
  2. What toys have the kids outgrown? (teething rings, bouncy seats)
  3. What toys do they not play with? (they just aren’t into horses)
  4. What toys are too complicated for their age? (100 piece puzzle for a 3 year old)
  5. What toys drive you crazy? (the singing remote, anyone?)

Remember, this is your house (that you share with your family) so think about what you want to keep up with and what you enjoy and what serves the greater purpose of your family and growth of your children.

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