Keeping toys organized can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you have young children at home. Toys seem to multiply and take over every room, no matter how much you try to contain them. However, getting and staying organized can make your home environment feel peaceful, promote independence in your kids, and teach important life skills. With some effort and consistency, you can implement systems that work for your family’s habits and dynamics. Here are five effective ways to keep your kids’ toys tidy.

Store Toys Closer to Where They Are Used

Make Use of Baskets and Bins

The easiest way to keep toys organized is to store them where your kids actually play with them. Use baskets, bins, or storage containers to hold toys in the spots where they are used most. For example, place a bin for Legos and building blocks in the playroom and one for dress-up clothes and accessories in the bedroom. If your kids like to play in multiple rooms, put a container or two of their favorite toys in each common area.

Baskets and bins are great because they are easy for little hands to access. They also allow kids to see what’s inside, which promotes independent cleaning up. Just be sure to label each container with words and/or pictures so your children know where everything goes.

Designate Spots for Different Types of Toys

In addition to using baskets and bins, create designated homes for different toy categories. This might include:

  • A shelf, cupboard, or bin for board games and puzzles
  • Bins or baskets for small toys like figurines and cars
  • A spot for outdoor/large toys like balls and ride-ons
  • An area for craft supplies and activities
  • Shelves or hooks for stuffed animals
  • A puppet theater or dress-up station

Grouping toys that go together helps kids stay organized when putting toys away. It also makes packing up and rotating toys simpler for grown-ups.

Keep Toys in Reach

Make sure your kids can easily access and reach the storage solutions you set up for them. For example, use low shelves and open bins they can see into instead of closed cupboards up high. Having toys within reach encourages children to put toys away independently when they are done playing.

Set Limits on How Many Toys Are Out

Choose a Number of Toys to Keep Out

Too many toys out at once leads to inevitable clutter. Help focus your kids’ play by setting a limit on how many toys can be out at one time. How many depends on the age of your kids and how much space you have. For example, you might allow each child to pick 5-10 toys to have out. When it’s clean-up time, they put those toys away before getting different ones out.

Use Rotating Toy Storage

Another option is to rotate toys in and out of storage on a regular basis. This creates novelty and keeps your kids from getting bored. Pick a day each week or month to swap out the toys they currently have access to for ones they haven’t seen in a while from stored bins. You can also rotate seasonally if needed. Just be sure what’s out at a time doesn’t exceed your limit.

Store Excess Toys Away From Play Areas

Keep extra toys put away out of sight in a closet, cabinet, attic, or basement. This prevents your family from being overwhelmed by too many toy options. It also allows you to rotate toys as described above, creating a “new toy” experience for your kids. Out of sight means out of mind.

Make Cleaning Up Part of Playtime

Incorporate as Part of Your Routine

Tidying up shouldn’t just happen when you demand it. Make cleaning up an expected part of your kids’ regular playtime routine. For example, have them put toys away when they switch activities or before meals and bedtime. Sing a clean up song or turn it into a game to make it fun. With consistency, they will get used to cleaning up being just another part of playing.

Set a Timer

Use a timer to build clean up expectations. Let your kids play independently for a set amount of time, and when the timer goes off, it’s clean up time. Start with just 5-10 minutes as needed for young kids. Older kids can likely handle 15-20 minute increments of playtime before cleaning up.

Make It a Family Affair

Don’t just expect the kids to clean up all the toys. Make it a family activity by pitching in and doing it together. Even just 10-15 focused minutes a day can make a big difference. Make it fun by putting on some music, racing to clean up, or giving “challenges” to get things put away quickly. Your participation will motivate kids to do their part.

Provide bins

Keeping toys organized when it’s time to clean up is much easier if you provide effective storage bins and containers as discussed earlier. Baskets allow kids to scoop up toys to “dump in.” Clear bins help them sort and see where different toys go. Having a spot for everything makes cleaning up faster and more successful.

Purge Toys Your Kids Have Outgrown

Go Through Toys Seasonally

Do an overhaul of your toy collection a couple times a year to remove excess. Go through with your kids and have them pick out toys they no longer use or want. Avoid just tossing stuff indiscriminately, or you might accidentally get rid of something they weren’t ready to part with.

Get Rid of Broken Toys

Toss any toys that are broken beyond repair or missing essential pieces. If it’s not something your kids have played with in months, it’s unlikely they’ll miss it or ever get around to fixing it. Broken toys just take up needed space.

Donate Good Quality Toys

Find a local charity or shelter that accepts used toy donations. This lets other families make use of toys your kids have outgrown. Some hospitals and doctor office waiting rooms also accept lightly used toy donations for their play areas. This makes room for new toys your kids will enjoy now.

Sell or Swap

Another option is to sell quality used toys at a yard sale or swap them with friends who have kids of similar ages. You can get a little cash return or trade for “new to you” toys they’ve outgrown. Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace make selling and swapping toys easy.

Store Special Toys Separately

If your kids have a hard time parting with toys they’re emotionally attached to but no longer use, keep a special storage bin or area for those “nostalgic” toys. They stay out of the main toy rotation but don’t have to be given away. Revisit these toys in another 6-12 months.

Make Things Easier for Kids to Put Away

Use Pictures and Labels

Use words, photos, or drawings to label where toys belong, especially for young kids who can’t read. For example, tape a picture of a car on bins where cars go and a picture of a puzzle on the shelf for games. This helps guide children to clean up properly.

Store Toy Pieces Together

Separate small pieces like Legos, puzzles, and game parts in labeled zipper bags, “junk drawer” organizers with dividers, or sectioned storage trays. Kids can easily dump pieces in matching compartments for fast clean up. Include any instructions so kids can rebuild toys later.

Wind-Up Toys

Instead of loose tangles, store toys like kites and yo-yos already wound and ready for play next time. Wind string back onto yo-yos and tie kite strings into neat bundles so they are grab-and-go when kids want them again.

Use Toy Hammocks

Hang a toy hammock or mesh sling in your child’s room to instantly tidy stuffed animals and soft toys. Kids can easily drop them in at clean up time. Hammocks keep plush toys visible and within reach while keeping floors clear.

Keep SomePermanently Set Up

Consider leaving toys like a kitchen set, train tracks, dollhouse or play workbench assembled instead of constantly breaking them down. Keep these bigger setups contained in one area like a playroom. Allow your kids to play creatively without constantly packing it all away.


Keeping your kids’ play areas and rooms neat doesn’t have to feel impossible. With some thoughtful organization and consistency, you can contain the clutter. Store toys near where they are used, limit how many are out at once, and make cleaning up part of daily routines. Also regularly purge toys they no longer use and donate or sell them to make space. Lastly, make putting toys away easier for little hands with labeled bins, storage solutions, and pre-set toys ready for play. Staying organized takes effort but promotes responsibility and independence in kids while creating a peaceful living environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I encourage my kids to clean up their toys?

You can encourage kids to clean up toys by making it part of the daily routine, setting a timer to define clean up time, involves the whole family, singing clean up songs, and providing labeled bins and storage to make it fast and easy. Praise their efforts to motivate them!

Where should I store my kids’ toys?

The best places to store kids’ toys are in the rooms they play in most using bins, baskets, shelves and storage furniture convenient for their height. Having toys visible and within reach encourages independent cleaning up.

How do I decide what toys to get rid of?

Assess which toys they no longer play with, are broken, or missing pieces. Have your kids pick toys they’re ready to donate. Sell or swap good quality toys online. Store special toys separately. Only keep toys they actually enjoy!

What are the benefits of being organized with toys?

Benefits include reducing clutter and overwhelm, avoiding tripping hazards, teaching kids responsibility, making clean up easier through routines and storage solutions, allowing kids independence in accessing toys, and keeping your home peaceful and functional.

How often should I rotate my kids’ toys?

A good rule of thumb is to rotate toys every 1-3 months. Seasonally (every 3 months) provides variety. Monthly rotations keep their interest more consistently. Anywhere from weekly to every few months benefits kids depending on age and attention span.