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4 Tips to Declutter a Playroom (and Save Your Sanity) Before the Holidays

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Decluttering a playroom is always a challenge, especially with working parents and kids that like to leave everything out.

But with small children who have lots of energy and adults who have full-time jobs outside the home, feeling like you’re constantly playing catch up in this department is normal.

What’s that saying that compares cleaning up after kids to shoveling in the middle of a snowstorm?

Well, there’s always a blizzard with kids playrooms and I’m sure you feel a couple steps behind when it comes to staying organized.

declutter a playroom

Why we declutter the kids’ playroom before the holidays

While it’s tough to tame the everyday clutter, this can be even more challenging around the holidays when shiny new toys are constantly making their way into your playroom and children’s rooms.

how to declutter a playroom

Let me be clear: I am so very thankful for everyone’s generosity, particularly during the holiday season. We are incredibly lucky to have so many people who love us and want to give gifts to my children.

But I do like to take a few steps to declutter our kids playroom before the holidays creep up on us so that we can all enjoy ourselves instead of feeling overwhelmed.

And so that we can all move freely throughout the house without having to step over a minefield of Legos.

That’s not too much to ask, right?!

How to declutter a playroom (it’s easy!)

So today I’m sharing with you the four things I’ve done over the years in early December to prepare our kids playroom for the forthcoming influx of toys. (Here are some additional tips for organizing your kids playroom or you can download a free printable with my declutter checklist)

declutter a playroom

Trust me – do this now and you’ll be breathing much easier when the holidays arrive!

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

#1: Have your kids select toys they no longer play with, and donate them before the holidays.

This is a two-for-one deal. Don’t you love those?!

If you have children who are old enough to understand the concept of helping those in need, this allows you to not only clean out your play areas to make space for new items, but it also teaches our children about being compassionate and caring toward other people, especially those who are less fortunate.

I realize this sounds like a no-brainer — “Well, of course we should donate the stuff we’re not using!” — but often times the to-dos and other commitments pile up and then activities like this get shoved waaaaay down to the bottom of our list.

So make this a priority before the holidays roll around.

Many churches, hospitals fire and police departments, and other local organizations accept donations of gently used toys.

You can also find a local outpost of either Goodwill or Salvation Army to drop off your donations.

declutter a playroom

#2: Walk around your play areas with a trash bag after the kids go to bed, and toss the low-value items your kids don’t play with regularly.

I’m not a mean mom, I promise. But let’s be real: There are plenty of random toys that somehow find their way into your playroom and then take up valuable space. And these need to be tossed.

Pick an evening and after your kids go to bed, and gather up all the items in the playroom that don’t meet the quality threshold for being donated. I’m talking about the cheap stuff from birthday party goodie bags, board games and puzzles that are missing pieces, broken crayons and dried out markers… get the idea.

Throw that stuff away!

declutter a playroom

I know that I don’t do this often enough but when I do I am so pleased that I’ve taken the time to streamline the junk and make room for the stuff that my kids love and use regularly.

I can also assure you that my kids have never noticed when a plastic harmonica purchased at Five Below has mysteriously gone missing.

Want to jump start your decluttering? Grab this FREE printable checklist with 39 things in the playroom that you should toss right now.

#3: Use your vertical wall space wisely.

Most people have great storage solutions for toys like catch-all baskets and short shelving units, but don’t forget about your vertical wall space!

Make room for more toys and books by using this square footage.

One of my personal favorite pieces is the IKEA Kallax shelving unit, which is affordable, highly versatile, and durable (bonus: it’s sold on Amazon, which means no crazy shipping prices a la everyone’s favorite Swedish retailer). We have this in our playroom.

Don’t have room for a large shelving unit like the Kallax? No problem. There are plenty of great options available.

Retailers like Target, Walmart and Amazon offer affordable shelving options that will do the trick.

A couple of my favorite alternatives include this Threshold unit that comes in a beautiful rustic gray, and this Better Homes & Gardens 25-cube shelf which is essentially a Kallax lookalike in an espresso color.

Think outside the box about other wall-mounted solutions that might work. How about this wall-mounted magazine rack (it’s under $30!) for holding coloring and activity books? Or this cool catch-all solution with perfect pockets for Barbies and action figures? These wall-mounted wire baskets would also be awesome placed next to an arts and crafts table or a desk.

#4: Make sure you have some “catch all”-type storage options available that can hold toys of all sizes to help declutter your playroom

Yes, you can always purchase a basket or floor bin to serve the “catch all” purpose. But wanna hear about my favorite, multi-purpose option?

A storage ottoman! I can’t tell you how much I love the one we have in our playroom. I purchased an ottoman a few years ago from The Land of Nod and it still looks like new. It not only corrals toys of every shape and size and hides them, but it also doubles as seating.

In fact, it’s the only seating we have in our playroom.

If you’re looking for some options that are a bit more affordable, there are tons to choose from.

Check out Amazon, Wayfair and Target – all those retailers have plenty of stylish storage ottoman options.

Pro tip: Choose a neutral color or pattern so that one day when you don’t need it for toy storage anymore, you can easily move it to another room in your home and have it blend right in. For example, I love this tufted slate gray storage ottoman from Amazon. Bonus: It’s an awesome price!

Happy decluttering, and happy holidays!

P.S. – To jump start your decluttering and make the whole process even easier, make sure to grab my FREE printable checklist of 39 things to throw away right now.

Overwhelmed by the kids' clutter? This FREE printable checklist will jump start decluttering a playroom today

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Becky Fitch

Saturday 3rd of February 2018

where did you get that rug? so cute!!


Monday 5th of February 2018

Hi Becky! Thanks for the kind words. The rug is from FLOR and we absolutely LOVE it. I believe it's the "Made You Look Patchwork" rug in kiwi. Let me know if you end up purchasing it. It's SO great for everyday life with kids and pets.

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