Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taming the Toys

Here is a trick we use at our house to tame the amount of toys.  We've already cut down to mostly toys that we love, that our kids can use in multiple ways (aka building and make-believe toys rather than plastic button-mashers).  Still, even great toys still have a way of taking over.  This is a trick we use to manage the number of toys that our kids have out at any given time.  I will give the example using Legos, but we've used this trick with dress-ups, books, puzzles, dollhouse pieces and more.  This is not a punishment, it is merely a way to help the child take control of his space, and not suffer through marathon cleaning misery.

1) Sort through the Legos and decide which pieces the child is currently using, and which pieces are extras that can be put away in a bin.  These pieces are not gone forever, just put out of circulation for a while.  It is always possible to dig through the bin for a necessary piece!

2) Make sure there is easy storage for the toys- we LOVE the trofast bins from Ikea.  Then (and yes, this is a touch painful), dump every single Lego block onto the floor.

3) Set a timer for five minutes (or ten, depending on your child and your goal).  Cheer on the child while he picks up as many of the Legos as he can in five minutes (but let him do all the picking up).  When the timer beeps, stop picking up.

4) If all the Legos are picked up, you're done!  If there are still some on the floor, sort through the collection again and remove some more.  Do the five minute test again, until there are only as many toys in the room as the child can pick up in five minutes. have the appropriate number of toys!

5) Every now and then, test out the system by setting the timer again and making sure that the child can still pick up all the toys within the time limit.  If this is not possible, sort always seem to have a way of multiplying over time.

Linking up:
Tender Moments
House of Hepworths
Creative Time Out
Thriving on Thursday
For the Kids Friday
TGIF Linky Party
Show and Share Saturday
Share it Saturday
Milk and Cuddles


  1. This is a great trick. My little guy has some attention issues, but I guess this would be a good way to get him to focus on cleaning. If he knows I'll throw out anything that he can't pick up in 5 minutes, he might pick up a bit faster. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Great tricks. Clean up time is not always a fun time in our house... I know you're shocked =)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Hope to see you linked up again today =)

    Have a great weekend,
    Beth =)

  3. This is a fun and fast tip! We are featuring your post tomorrow on Share It Saturday as part of our round-up of ways to simplify life with kids! Thanks for sharing this with us, and we genuinely hope to see you again at Share It Saturday :)
    Colleen at

  4. Getting the toys manageable again is one of my projects for the month. It's amazing how quickly they get out of control again. I will have to use this trick when we are sorting.

  5. Amazing, why have I never thought of this before?

  6. This is a great idea. I always have issues with my son to help clean up after a play, now cleaning up will be play too and I am sure his going to love it.