How to Keep Toys Under Control

Organize Your Kids Toys Before This Christmas

Every parent knows the feeling of being overwhelmed by your kids toys. They seem to multiply overnight, don’t they? Before new arrivals this holiday season learn how to keep toys under control.

I for one know that if I don’t do something about my child’s toys, they will soon take over the house. Looking around, I have no idea where her new toys are going to go, but I have some thoughts.

How Do You Get Toys Under Control

The easiest way to stop the flow is to never start to begin with. Perhaps the greatest thing you can do is to stop it from coming into your house in the first place. But, that’s not realistic. Kids are kids and kids will have toys.

Kids, toys, control, can it all come together? It may not be easy and you may face resistance from the kiddos, but it is doable.

It helps to keep toys in designated areas. When toys are used in the main, family living space, ensure there are baskets or bins available to store them.

In your child’s bedroom or playroom, make use of bookcases and shelving as well to maintain organization.

Before you throw in the towel and surrender your house to the littlest occupants, here are some ideas to give you a fighting chance at survival.

1. One in One Out

The “One in One Out” rule is a good one. It’s as simple as it sounds, for every toy you add, remove a toy. You want to be sensitive to your child’s feelings and only remove the toys they’ve grown out of or no longer show any interest in.

Start a donation box for toys and include your child in choosing what will be sold or given to another kid. Make it a routine to revisit your child’s toy inventory throughout the year so you aren’t making big purges at one time that might upset your little one.

Watch out for the cunning of older kids who may ask for a 1:1 replacement of the toys you remove. That is not what this is meant for. Feel free to purge more toys than you bring in.

2. Stash and Switch

This is a great idea to keep the inventory of toys that are out and available for play at a minimum. This is particularly great for kids, like mine, that lose interest in their “old” toys in favor of new ones.

The way it works is that you choose a selection of toys your child has stopped playing with. Hide them away in a box in your closet for a specified amount of time, like 3 months for example. Then swap those toys out with the ones he/she/they have been playing with.

Like magic, the “old” toys are like new again. Your child will be excited to play with their old friends once again. If/ when the toys no longer bring them joy, they will be ready to move on to another family.

3. Toy Swap

This is a fun one! Who wants to go shopping?! Here’s an idea for a new holiday tradition… a toy & cookie swap!

Not only is it a money saver, it’s also a nice way to social and support each other.

Here’s what you need. Other parents, cookies or cookie recipes and toys. Bring them all together, perhaps with some spiked holiday beverages for a fun night of toy and cookie swapping.

At the end of the night, not only will you walk away with some “new” toys for your kids, you will also have some delicious cookie recipes to share with your family over the holidays.

Bonus, you get a head start on the holiday celebrations and you get to save money on your toy bill. Pro tip: You can do the same thing with clothes too!

Start a new holiday tradition with your friends & family this year!

How to Keep Toys Under Control- different storage options, a lidded jar with an army action figure inside, with the jar sitting on top of a pile of action figures, a basket with 3 small teddy bears in it and plastic bins with small, colorful toys inside.
Photos via: Thomas_Eye Design- Getty Images Signature, sylv1rob- Getty Images, sampsyseeds- Getty Images Signature

4. Playroom Organization on a Budget

It might be a wasted effort, but if you can, make a plan to organize your kid’s toys. Find a place for everything and encourage your child to care for their things by putting them away. When it’s time for household chores, have them focus on their space.

And, getting organized doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. Look around the house and see what you can repurpose. Perhaps you have a few empty Amazon boxes you can use (you know you do). Use them as is, or have your child decorate the outside with what goes inside (ex. pictures of Legos, cars, trucks, etc.).

Baskets can be used for plushies and books. Old dressers and bookshelves are right at home in a kid’s playroom. Even unused laundry baskets and plastic bins make a great catch-all.

I also like to use old, lidded, plastic containers that might have once held snacks for small things like beads, action figures, and more.

Keep things your kids can play with on their own nice and low and precious things, requiring supervision, up high. Check out this post if you need ideas to organize your child’s artwork.

5. Manage the Flow

Between birthdays and holidays, you are not the only person to bring new toys into your child’s life. Grandparents, aunts and uncles add to the mountain of toys you have to climb each day.

Being able to manage the flow of toys into your house goes a long way in how to keep toys under control.

Try to get ahead of the problem by communicating what you do and do not want your child to have. As giving is the love language for a lot of people, offer alternatives that will allow them to give in a more mindful way.

Maybe something practical that your child needs is a better choice. Or, perhaps an experience that they can enjoy with their loved one. At the very least, make it clear what you don’t need more of, like stuffed animals, dolls and slime!


Sometimes holiday joy can be dimmed by wondering where to put all the stuff you bought your kids! Thankfully, there are some things you can do in advance that may help.

You are now armed with several ideas on how to keep toys under control.

When thinking about toys and organization, give one of these ideas a try.

  1. One In One Out
  2. Stash and Switch
  3. Toy Swap
  4. Playroom Organization on a Budget
  5. Manage the Flow

These ideas give you a way to manage the toypocalypse happening in your home.

Save yourself time, money and energy by not going overboard with the toys this holiday. Take a proactive approach and manage things year round so you have a plan in place during the height of the holiday season.

Are the toys overtaking your house? How do you stay on top of it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How to Keep Toys Under Control”

  1. Great suggestions Cassie. I like the Toy Swap idea and Stash and Switch. it’s great to get rid of things at this time of year in time for Christmas. They can all mount up, like you have mentioned in your post. Thanks for sharing. Jade MumLifeandMe

    1. I’m going through my kid’s toys this week. As much as I try to keep them under control, they’re everywhere! It’s nice to swap out toys and save a little money when you can. And stashing them just makes them new again, which also saves money! Hope you and the kids have a great holiday. Thank you so much for reading, Jade.

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