My Adventures in Minimalism–Part Two: Toy Rotation

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So a few days ago I started a little series on minimizing. Going minimalist. Basically, getting rid of a bunch of shit.

While doing some research, which I do for EVERYTHING, I found this thing called “toy rotation.”

What is toy rotation, you ask?

Well first, it’s a godsend. Seriously.

The rotation of toys is when you have your child’s favorite toys divided into three, four, five (your choice) storage bins, and you allow your child to play with one bin per day, per week (also your choice). I snatched these storage bins up from Amazon, they are amazing! Cute designs, great price, and VERY sturdy.

The first step is to bring out ALL of your child’s toys. ALL of them. Put them on the floor in the middle of the room so you can see everything at once.

What you’ll want to do first is make a keep, donate, and toss pile. If your kid’s toybox is anything like mine, there were billions of broken parts and pieces, Mr. Potato Head noses, and Monster High forearms floating around. Throw ‘em out!

I made the mistake of letting the girls help in the process. It was kind of helpful to get Mikinley’s insight on what she wanted to keep or donate, but at the same time, both of my girls were exposed to all of the toys at the bottom of the toybox. They hadn’t played with this stuff in forever, yet they were so attached. Even the broken Monster High arms.

Unless the toy holds a deep sentiment to your child and/or you, don’t let that emotion get to you. Their attachment will only last a minute or two and they will move on to something else.

Once you’ve split up the toys you’d like to keep from the donate/trash categories, bag the latter up and set them aside.

Grab your storage bins and prepare for more dividing.

You don’t have to be exact with this next step, but use your best judgement and keep your child’s playtime habits in mind.

You’ll want to split up the multiple into different bins. For example, my daughter Brenna has about 10 baby dolls (this was AFTER minimizing her collection). I put a few in each bins, along with play bottles and food. Add a few Barbies to each bin, toy cars, blocks, puzzles, etc. And put a few unique pieces into each one, as well.

Make sure you have something in each rotation that will get them thinking, moving, pretending, and creating. If you even out the toys so that they have a little bit of everything, your kids won’t feel the need to ask for another bin.

Once everything is separated and stored, keep one in the child’s room and put the others in a closet out of reach and out of sight.

Every day, or every week, swap out the storage container for a different one.

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After a few days of playing with a small(er) amount of toys, your kid will be ECSTATIC to see a whole new set! In their eyes, it’s like getting brand new toys, ALL THE TIME.

Happy kids, happy life, right?

Besides having more space and less clutter, there are SO many benefits to toy rotation.

  1. Clean up simplified. With a fraction of the toys to clean up, it’s a great way to teach your child to help clean as well.


  1. Independent play. Kids learn to play better on their own, which is a great way to stimulate the brain.


  1. Creativity blooms. When a child has less, he or she tends to get a little creative and inventive.


  1. Preparation for holidays. I always dreaded Christmas and birthdays because putting new toys away was impossible when there was simply no space for them. With toy rotation, you have tons of extra space and can split up new toys into the rotation.


Cutting the amount of toys and clutter out of my girls’ room was a weight off my shoulders. I didn’t feel any guilt because I only kept what I truly thought was meaningful, sentimental, or a favorite. If she loved the toy a year ago, but hasn’t played with it since, what’s the point in keeping it? Let someone else enjoy it.

Today, Mikinley asked me for a trash bag so she could go through her office and take out things she no longer wanted. I was shocked! I think I’m rubbing off on her (:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a hurricane of toys and a depressing amount of time spent on cleaning up, give this a try! Or start small—watch your child play and take note of five toys they haven’t paid attention to. At the end of the week, secretly swipe those toys and donate/trash. After a few weeks, you’ll notice a huge difference!

The trash bag and tote both went to Goodwill–that’s A LOT of toys, yo.

Leave a comment and let me know how it works for you! I’d love to hear success stories or any other ideas you have for reducing toys and increasing creativity.

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