How To: Sort, declutter and store toys using my Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M ©

Do your kids’ toys multiply in the night? Did their toys use to fit in 1 small box, but have now taken over the whole house? Follow a few easy steps in my Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © to wrangle back control.

Today I continue to explore the common problem of having too much stuff and the affect that having too much stuff has on our lives (as explained in Too much stuff!) I’d like to share my own S.Y.S.T.E.M © of letting go of stuff as a way to combat the overwhelm, the feeling of being unorganised and in an effort to move towards a simpler life.

Before we begin…

Don’t be tempted to purchase a bundle of new plastic tubs or fancy containers just yet. Wait until after you’ve followed this S.Y.S.T.E.M ©  so you know what you’re storing.

I’d also suggest for the kids to NOT be involved in the early stages of this sorting. We will get them involved towards the end of the S.Y.S.T.E.M ©.

Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © :

My Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © can be used to sort, organise and store anything from toys, your desk, paperwork, your pantry or even your daily schedule.  As an example I will run through my Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © to wrangle back control from the grip of too many toys!

  1. Stuff:
    • Firstly, as outlined in Too Much Stuff! it’s important to understand where the toys come from and how too much stuff can lead to us feeling overwhelmed, unorganised and move us away from living a simpler life.
    • Toys often come from gifts at Birthdays and Christmas.
    • Make some time to talk to family and friends about giving gifts of experiences eg: zoo membership, movie tickets or some other adventure instead of giving the gift of stuff.
    • You will have more success making your life simpler by making it clear to yourself and those around you that you are making an effort to bring less stuff into the house
  2. You: Make time in the calendar to get started on the problem area (and bigger than that: make a commitment to yourself to being more organised):
    • Get all the toys in the house to the one area (lounge, front lawn: any large space). I did this myself recently and I found the process worked well because everything was within arms reach. You should waste less time looking for Mr Potato Head’s 2nd blue shoe if everything is in the one place.
    • Set yourself a time limit and get started.
  3. Sorting: (putting like items together)
    • Put like items in a group/box/tub:
    • Put things that are not toys in a box so they can be distributed to their permanent home at the end of the session.
    • Keep moving through all the toys.
    • Its amazing how a natural flow starts to happen as you start this sorting process. Missing pieces of a puzzle turn up, all the Shopkins start to surface and all the bits of Lego find their way together again.
    • Throw out any broken items, or toys with missing pieces.
  4. Things you no longer need (decluttering): 
    • Pick up each toy and make a conscious decision if you are going to keep the item or not.
    • Set up a box for “donate”, “throw out”, “give to other” to continue decluttering, (Note: you don’t want to be burdening others with your stuff so make sure that “give to other”  items are in perfect condition and that the person will definitely want the item).
    • If time is limited get rid of the toys you have a definite opinion on and come back to the others at another allocated time to review.
    • In an attempt to keep less stuff you can decide to only keep the collection of items eg Shopkins or Barbies that fit in a particular box/tub OR get a bigger box if you must keep them all.
    • Keepsakes – beware the temptation to hang onto keepsakes! Take a photo, make a video with the child, but don’t put it in a box for prosperity. If you love it, find a way to keep it and put it on display.
    • Before we pack all the toys we are keeping into storage, pack up any other tools you used in the process (zip lock bags, rubber bands, boxes).
    • When you’ve been through all the toys your “donate”, “throw out” or “give to other” boxes will be ready to distribute to their next life. Get in the car right now and get rid of what you can.
  5. Easy storage: Now that you have sorted the toys and have a small collection to keep we can consider storage options.
    • Cardboard boxes or plastic tubs you already have at home will be fine. But if you feel the need to purchase matching storage items, it should suit your budget, easy to use and easy to repeat. 
    • Stay tuned for my blog next week on clever toy storage for specific examples.
    • Return the newly sorted and stored toys to their permanent home, 
  6. Maintenance: keep it up! 
    • This last step in the  S.Y.S.T.E.M © is the best time to get kids involved.
    • Less toys mean less to keep clean, less to keep organised, less to store and, overall, less mess so going through the S.Y.S.T.E.M © next time should be easier.
    • Periodically follow the Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © explaining the system to the kids
    • They will enjoy the step by step nature of the S.Y.S.T.E.M © and will learn:
      • to appreciate their toys (and all the accessories that go with it now that they are neatly sorted and stored all in the one place)
      • how to let go of toys when the time is right
      • how to apply the S.Y.S.T.E.M © to other areas of their lives.

You will find that following this Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M ©  periodically will help you let go of stuff. The  S.Y.S.T.E.M © will also help you wrangle control back from the toys in no time at all and move you towards a simpler life..

Do you have routine for decluttering that you would like to share with us, or have some tips on sensible shopping?

If you need a hand decluttering check out my decluttering services  or  Contact me today for a chat about how small changes to your planning can make a big difference to the stuff that is around you.