Category Archives: Toys

The Big Toy Purge | Part 2 Slow Progress

We are working on a big toy purge around here. You can read Part 1 here if you missed it.

We gathered more toys from the basement and carried them up in a big bin.

And here we are with more sorting…

I also brought up these lovely black trash bags full of toys, trash, and miscellaneous items. These are more than a year old.

Some of them are from a method I tried:  “If you don’t pick up your toys then I’ll just put them away in this black bag/throw them away/give them away to someone who will take care of them.”

I do not recommend this method, by the way. It didn’t work well for us. What I really needed to do instead was teach my kids how to clean up their toys. 

Other bags are from a “Someone is coming over! I don’t have time to clean this up! I’ll just throw everything in this black bag and sort through it later – right after they leave!”

Yeah, right. Or 2 years later.

Instead of dumping out the bags, I just had the kids dig through and pull out anything they thought they might want to keep. We also pulled out pieces and parts that went with other toys we like and play with.

Some things went to trash/recycling and we are down to one bag that I need to go through again myself. Most of this should be going bye-bye.

And here are some of the sorted toys:

I’m really hoping to make some good progress this week. I would love to see more things going out the door. I want some visual impact!

I’m actually really ready for this project to be over. But I know it takes work to get there!


Filed under Kids, Toys

The Big Toy Purge | Part 1

Toys are fun, aren’t they?

But when they take over your whole entire house, they are less fun.

I think when there are too many toys and they are disorganized and spread out all over and who-knows-where, kids just get overwhelmed and the toys actually don’t get played with as much.

However, if you walked into my house, you wouldn’t guess that this was my thinking.

It’s time for action.

The Cleaning Fairy has arrived. This cleaning fairy puts everyone to work!

The only way I can get my head around a project like this is to get all of the toys together in one room. Not everyone would agree with this method, but here’s why I like it:

-We can see exactly how many toys we have

-We can see if we actually have all of the parts and pieces for each toy

-We can see how many of each category of toy we have (dolls, stuffed animals, cars)

Once we have everything in one place, we categorize and sort into various containers just so that we can really see what’s there. This is where we are right now with this project.

Here’s the start of toy sorting:

We have gathered many of the toys from around the house, but we still need to do another round of gathering and sorting this week.

After that, I think we will get rid of the easy stuff: Broken toys and things no one cares about or plays with anymore.

Then comes  the harder part: Choosing favorites to keep, making sure we have reasonable space for the toys we want to keep, getting rid of the rest.

It’s a good thing I’m telling you all about this, because now I know I need to come through with some good after pictures! Keep an eye out for Part 2, coming soon to a blog near you.


Filed under Declutter, How To, Kids, Toys

Knowing when it’s time to quit

This is an unusual post for me because I don’t really have fabulous before and after pictures to show you like I had planned. How sad, eh? I mentioned on my Facebook page earlier this week that I was planning to participate in Simple Mom’s Project Simplify again this year. How could I not, right? The topic this week was Kid Stuff.

Well, I’m giving up. I didn’t do anything until today, and we only spent a few minutes on it. I think deep down I knew I was trying to do too much this week, but I wanted to do it anyway. I was tempted to stay up crazy late working all by myself to get it done and have something to show you, but I’m not going to do it.

Sure, a decluttering project could be finished, and we all like that to happen, but at what expense? I would be totally exhausted tomorrow and probably Monday, too. That’s not good for me or my family. And my dishes aren’t even done!

Dealing with the kids’ toys and clothes is definitely an area that I need to work on, and I will come back to it. The area I really want to improve is the living room. Here’s a before picture:

And in the few minutes the kids and I worked on it, we did decide on 3 things to get rid of.

One is the play table you see here.

And here are 2 more:

That ball popper toy is missing a few important pieces, so I need to hold onto it a little longer so that I can give it away in usable condition. And you might notice there is a Little People mommy stuck in there. I tried to get her out with the usual bang and shake methods, and I even tried a bent wire hanger, but nothing worked. Let me know if you have a brilliant idea. I may just need to totally unscrew the whole toy and take it apart to get her out. But once I get that figured out, this toy is outta here.

So that’s it, but I guess it is something. And getting a little more sleep should help my overall productivity and attitude this week.

If you want to see some before and after pictures from some people who might be a bit more inspirational than this, check out the results page for this week’s Project Simplify: Kids’ stuff organized: before and after photos.


Filed under Toys

Man on a Mission, Woman on a Journey

On Saturday, Mr. RSS was on a decluttering mission. Watch out. Don’t get in the way. The man gets focused and stuff is going out of the house!

He was moving so fast that I couldn’t get all the before and after pictures, but here are a couple of pictures of clutter loaded in the car, ready to go!!

BIG artificial Christmas tree, baby gear

Printer, TV, TV stand

It’s so interesting how different we are in how we declutter. We have the same goals, but the process is different.

Mr. RSS’s typical decluttering process:
  • Pick an area, or just pick stuff up that is sitting around the house (usually larger items)
  • Make quick decisions, move quickly, sort quickly(if required),
  • Get the stuff out of the house ASAP

He’s really about action, focus, impact. The end result is always great, but it can be a little crazy when he’s in his focused mode of decluttering! He doesn’t declutter as often as I do (of course he’s at work most days), but he does get a lot done in a short period of time. Sometimes he is tossing with such abandon that important things can get accidentally tossed, and I need to watch him closely to be sure he doesn’t toss one of the kids!

My typical decluttering process: 

  • Pick an area
  • Sort things
  • Decide what needs to go, pausing to think about each item
  • Organize and clean up
  • Put the clutter leaving the house in a bag/box/pile and place it somewhere waiting to leave the house
  • Take the clutter to the car and deliver

It’s not usually a fast process. I’m thoughtful about it. Too thoughtful, I think. I debate with myself. I get distracted. Sometimes I can complete a project in a day, but this process often takes days or months because I stop working on one project to start another one, or I just need to deal with daily tasks and responsibilities. But when the project is finally done, it looks great!

Since Mr. RSS moved the extra TV and stand out, I was inspired to get the basement family room/playroom back together. So check this out:

We started on the project about 5 min before this picture was taken. I brought the toy organizer down from the kitchen and dumped all of the (unorganized) toys/junk from the bins into the white laundry basket. We used baby wipes to clean the bins.

I got them started, then left them to work on the sorting/putting away and told them to get me when they were ready for me to inspect.

When I came down to inspect, they had made great progress. I helped them with finishing up.

There were a few things we just weren’t going to get done that day, and that was OK with me, because we were making progress. We did not get under the furniture. We did not get to this pile that was originally a decluttering pile of black trash bags, but that has changed over time and it now needs a project of its own.

Some things were added to that declutter pile, and here’s the trash:

And now the finished project!:

I know Mr. RSS and I are both learning a lot in this process, and I think we can really learn from each other. We balance each other in many ways, and I think we are on our way to being a great decluttering team!

What does your decluttering process look like? Is it different than others in your home?

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of organizing. Check it out for simplifying inspiration!


Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter, Kids, Toys

Project: Simplify: Toy Decluttering Progress

(I was enjoying a late-night carrot snack as I was sitting down to write this post. At just the *right* time I sneezed and little carrot pieces went everywhere. No worries. I switched to chocolate so we’re good to go… :-))

I’m continuing to follow along with Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify and I have some progress to show you after dealing with lots of toys around here. The project was off to a pretty good start earlier in the week, fizzled in the middle, and picked back up to a running pace on Saturday.

Here’s a before picture from the living room:

I ended up bringing most of the toys from all around the house to the living room so that we could really see what we had. While I was searching for toys I found a sad discovery. These bags:

One bag was a bag from when I decluttered toys over a year ago. Yup. Still there. And the other 2 bags were from a “stage” I went through where I told my kids that if they didn’t pick up their toys, I would pack them up in trash bags and they couldn’t play with them for a long time. Something like that, anyway. It wasn’t a good solution, in case you are wondering. They were too young and I hadn’t taught them how to clean up their toys very well.

So I decided to dump 2 of the bags in the living room along with all the other toys that were gathering there to sort:

So we sorted and played and sorted some more so that like things were together.

We did some decluttering as we went, but we also looked at all the toys that we had and talked about giving away the ones they didn’t play with very much. I thought the kids did pretty well with that.

Here’s the give stuff:

And here’s the living room after we put most of the rest of the toys in the basement/family room/playroom:

Here’s a before from the basement:

The after pictures from the basement are a little strange because we just got a new TV and cabinet(both used), but we haven’t sold or donated the old one yet.  So here ya go:

The toy organizer is in the kitchen for right now:

Here are some toys on basement shelves. I’m thinking I’ll rotate toys through here maybe a couple times a month:

Just so you know, we are not finished with this! But we did make great progress! Some things that still need to be decluttered: dress up chest, kids books, arts & crafts stuff, DVD’s/videos, and misc. toys from under furniture and in random nooks and crannies.

Below is the other side of the playroom. I think it looks worse than it is because all those DVD’s and videos were taken out of their storage under the TV and other things were moved around to have room to bring in the new TV/cabinet, so as soon as we get rid of the old TV/cabinet, we can finish this room:

I’ll leave you with this organized picture:

If you want to see more kids’ toys (and clothes) before and after pictures, head over to Simple Mom’s link up!


Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Kids, Toys

Project: Simplify: Toys R all over Us

Here we are on week 3 of Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify. This week’s project is Toys and/or kids’ clothes. I am going to focus on toys!!

So I went around the house to take pictures of our toys. It was actually worse than I thought. It’s funny how taking pictures of it all makes me look at it a different way.

The living room is the favorite place to play, even though we keep trying to move all the toys out of there! They always come back! I think it’s because it’s right next to the kitchen, which is where I am most of the time, and it has nice natural light. (I can appreciate that. I am a light lover!) I personally also think that basement playroom is really chilly! 

Here’s the living room:

A closer look at these living room toys…

Here’s the basement/family room/playroom:

And here we have their bedroom. My 2 older kids share a room, and there really isn’t a lot of room for many toys there.

Tsh is encouraging us to have the kids help, which I think is great, but a bit more challenging than doing it on my own. Yesterday I told the kids about this week’s  project. These are some of the things we talked about:

We have a lot of toys.

We can give toys to other kids who need toys.

Some toys are broken/ripped/stained.

One question we asked:

Do we really love this toy and play with it a lot?

If not,  we can give it to someone else who might enjoy playing with  it more.

They were also inspired by the closet project and the desk project, so I think that really helped. I was setting a good example for them in this area! Yay!

We started with the stuffed animals. I had them collect all the stuffed animals from around the house and organize them on the couch. At first there were little peeps about how they didn’t think they wanted to get rid of any of them.

I had them each pick out their 3-4 favorites and put them in a toy box.  They liked that. And then on their own they each started offering up animals that they were ready to give away. We ended up with a box of 8 to give away(including one that needs to be thrown away)! They aren’t all the ones I would have picked, but that’s OK! I’m really happy with how that went.

But there’s a lot more work to do! I hope to post some fabulous results on Friday or Saturday. 

I would love to hear your thoughts/ideas/advice on dealing with this toy clutter!

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Filed under Declutter, Kids, Toys