Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tips For Purging a Toy Box

Can you believe that it's almost the end of May?! You know what that means? It's also almost the end of Spring Cleaning Month!

I'm thrilled that I've been able to share all this fun cleaning and organizing information with you. And seeing your response to it all has farther inspired me to get my home in tip-top shape.

But I'm not done yet!

If there is one area in my house that is in constant need of cleaning, it would be my boys' toy boxes; the hub of all play things in their rooms. Which just so happens to also be the hub of all junk too (the child's version of a purse).

Now, let me slide slightly off topic here and tell you that I'm not the biggest fan of toy boxes. I'm an organizer at heart and the fact that everything is just thrown into a toy box with no rhyme or reason plays on my nerves daily.

I hate it.

But I'm also big on simplicity as well.

With 2 boys, a husband, a cat, and about a thousand other things that need taking care of on a daily basis; it is nice to not have to fight my children every time I tell them to pick up their rooms.

Because of the toy box, they are able to just toss everything in and be done with it. Making my evenings go so much more smoothly.

Therefore, because I'm an organizer, I have come up with a method to cleaning those nasty little suckers out. Which puts my OCD mind at ease.

And, because I'm cool like that, I thought I'd share my method and my tricks with you.

A toy box is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting and nasty places of a child's bedroom. I can't even tell you all the things that I've found in my son's toy box when I've gone into it to clean it out; including, but not limited to an apple core (yes, it was rotten), used masking tape, juice boxes, and sand. Lots and lots of sand. (Now, I don't allow my children to eat in their rooms. So your guess is as good as mine as to how some of those items got there.)

Because of this, I try to make sure that I clean them out once a month and sort through the toys twice a year; at their birthday's and just before Christmas (since that is when they get the most new toys).

When I'm planning to clean the toy box, I make sure to have a few items along with me. Things that just make the process a little bit easier:

  • 3 bins/large baskets; one for trash, one for donations, and one for items that go back into the toy box.
  • The vacuum.
  • Trash bags (to use in the above baskets).
I find it much easier to clean out the toy box when I'm not tripping over toys and I can sort as I go. Makes for a cleaner work space and makes things go by faster.

And like I just said, I don't just empty out the toy box on to the floor. I prefer to sort as I go; putting the "keep" toys in the designated basket, the "donating" items (things they don't play with, that aren't broken or missing pieces, and are gently used) in their designated basket, and the trash in the trash can.

This can be the most tedious part of cleaning out a toy box, since my boys (especially my oldest) tend to have a lot of little toys; like army men and things from his McDonald's Happy Meal.

And sometimes it can be emotional. (Who wants to admit that their baby is growing up?) So I try to keep a few things in mind as I'm sorting:
  • Does it have all the pieces/Is it broken?
  • What kind of condition is the toy in? (this will help determine what basket I put it in).
  • Is it played with?
  • Have they grown to old for it? (I try to make sure that as my children age so do their toys. Even my 2yo doesn't want to play with baby toys).
  • Do they love it? (Sometimes my boys will LOVE a toy that is broken or missing pieces. Like the nappy teddy bear with no eyes, mouth, and holes. I will consider their feelings before getting rid of it...sometimes. ;0)
Once completed I vacuum out the toy box (like I said, lots and lots of sand)...

Put all the toys from the "keep" basket back into the toy box, throw away the "trash" and bag up the "donating" items to be taken to the Goodwill.

Easy peasy. 

Most of the time I'm on my own when doing the cleaning, but I always try to include the boys when I'm donating their toys. I think it's important for them to know where the toys are going and why. And for them to feel the joy of donating to those less fortunate than themselves.

I might be terrified of going into those boxes, but my sons love them and all the joy that the items within hold. So the least I can do is try to make sure that the toys inside are taken care of, clean, and up-to-date with their interests.

And by doing so, I'm able to put my mind at ease knowing that there is nothing growing or rotting where my children's toys live.

Have you ever found anything interesting when you're cleaning out your child's room? Do you have any of your own methods to cleaning the endless black pit of children's toys? Let me know!


  1. I'm (Norine) with you! I love a good toy purge! Though I must purge on the sly as I've discovered that toys that haven't been played with maybe EVER are instantly FAVORITES once the there's a threat that they might LEAVE THE HOUSE FOREVER!!
    I'd suggest you add one more place to stash toys: "Pandora's Toy Box" that place to hide all the toys that make horrible beeping, squawking noises!

    1. Right?! My 6yo does that all the time. That's why I'm mostly on my own when I do it. Cuz the brat just gets in the way! :0) And those toys mysteriously disappear when I'm purging......

  2. These are great tips, Kendra. I am actually about to embark on a toy purge this weekend, so this post is timely!

    Stopping by from SITS.

  3. My daughter is 5 and I haven't gotten rid of alot of her toys since she was two. I think my problem is she's with me when cleaning out the toy box and SHE wants to keep everything! We're getting ready to move in a couple of months and I have to put my foot down on things that have got to go! Thanks for the wonderful tips! I'm visiting from #SITSsharefest


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