How I keep my kids clothing & toys under control

We had a lovely weekend. On Saturday, we were busy preparing for Margs’ small birthday party. Our guests arrived around 4pm and stayed late into the night. We had an amazing time celebrating this little girl. Delicious food (most of it was bought prepared) and even better company made for a really wonderful evening. Margs was surrounded by her favourite people and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.


Sunday was spent at home relaxing. Margs was exhausted from the previous nights excitement, so while she took extra long naps I got working on organizing her toys and clothing.

Margs received a bunch of lovely new outfits from her grandparents and fun new toys from her aunts and uncles. All this new stuff needed to be put away and to make room for it I had to sort what she already had.

I started with her toys.


Margs doesn’t have that many toys really. I try to keep toy clutter to a minimum (purging every other month or so) by cycling out the toys that are broken (garbage) or no longer age appropriate (I send these to the consignment shop for store credit).

Pictured above is the contents of her toy box that sits in our living room. In all, there were 45 toys. I find that it helps immensely to lay them out this way. It helps you visually see what toy inventory you have so you can begin choosing which toys will remain and which ones will go. First, I removed all the toys that were broken or damaged. Then, from the lot I had left I removed any toys that were no longer age appropriate or that Margs shows no interest for. At this point I was left with nearly half what I started with. My final swoop involved choosing toys to keep that I know she enjoys and that provide her with positive stimulation.


22 toys remained.


I purposely store her toys in a medium sized cloth basket. (2 ft by 3ft and 1 ft high) Mer and I were going to buy her a wooden toy box but after some reflection we realized that the larger the capacity of the container the more likely we were to fill it with toys that really served no purpose. So, I purchased this smallish basket and it’s working out wonderfully. Its small size forces us to sort through her toys often. It also makes us conscious of what we do buy because we’ve got an unwritten rule that the box cannot overflow. We treat it like prime real estate around here so we are extra careful when adding to her toy collection.

I approach her clothing situation much the same way. Whenever new pieces arrive I make it a point to let go of items that are either unusable (stained, ripped) or too small. Kids grow at such an alarming rate that there is always something in their wardrobe that they are about to outgrow. To keep her wardrobe under control I’m constantly switching out items so that we’re not overwhelmed with a huge volume of baby clothes because they can accumulate incredibly quickly if you’re not keeping on top of it.


Here is her one drawer of outfits. (Yup, she’s only got one drawer of clothes).

Margs’ clothes are folded such that each bundle includes a top and bottom. It makes changing her a breeze because each one is a set and I do not have to waste time or energy matching any of her clothes. I fold them this way fresh from the dryer and just pop the clothes back into their respective slots when I’m done.

We basically live by the “one in one out rule” around here when it comes to Margs. Babies Toddlers (waaaah!) have and need tons of stuff. To keep things as simple as possible we tend to get rid of the same number of items as we bring in. It really does help keep things simple, organized and manageable.


Author: Jenny

I'm Jenny, a 30-something mama to 1 living child and 5 angels. I live in a tiny blue cottage in a small suburb outside a major Canadian city. I live here with my miracle baby Margs, my husband Mer, my pup and my 2 cats. I blog about a bunch of different things including parenting, frugal living and minimalism. Feel free to subscribe to my blog and follow me on instagram, twitter or bloglovin.

26 thoughts on “How I keep my kids clothing & toys under control”

  1. We follow a lot of these ideas as well! Our toy box is a bit larger (it doubles as a family heirloom and seating!), but if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay. I’m working on a major pre-Christmas purge of toys and clothes right now. We’ll be “doing Christmas” a total of FOUR times, so I’m a little nervous lol!


  2. Jenny, Great information and ideas where were you fifty years ago when I had three small girls, the job of a ministers wife and I was swimming in stuff. Great advice. I did get better with age. Jessie

    Pure joy is not found in the journey, nor in the destination, but in the moments along the route.

    On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 7:03 AM, this tiny blue house wrote:

    > Jenny posted: “We had a lovely weekend. On Saturday, we were busy > preparing for Margs’ small birthday party. Our guests arrived around 4pm > and stayed late into the night. We had an amazing time celebrating this > little girl. Delicious food (most of it was bought prepared” >


  3. I love this. I have nieces and nephews who have SO MANY TOYS it’s taking over their entire homes. My husband and I have vowed to not let that happen to us. I love the idea of a medium box that can’t overflow. We plan to do a clean-out of old toys and donate them after getting new ones each birthday and Christmas.


    1. Toys accumulate and get out of control so quickly. We realized it pretty early on and for now this technique works. She’s also not old enough to really understand that there are toys missing – when we get to that point we’ll have to reevaluate I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really want to like you, but you are so organized that I’m afraid I will go bananas with complete and total jealousy. 😉 Just teasing! Mostly – I am genuinely envious of your mad organizing skills. We are in that “lots of little toys taking over the home” stage with our youngest as well. It’s like gremlins but without the requirement to add water to get them to multiply. Seriously – how many toys are there in the world, and why do people insist on giving them all to our child? Oh well. Hard to be too upset when people are adamant about loving you and your crew. Happy happy birthday to your little one!


    1. This made me laugh. I was the LEAST organized person on the planet. I would shove things in every space I could find until I realized how absolutely miserable I was living in my own chaos. It’s a process for sure.


      1. I have large areas of organized, and hidden areas of madness. I literally laugh out loud when my friends tell me how neat the house is because I know that if they look at the specific closet(s) here or the specific drawer(s) there, they will run for the hills!


      2. That sounds exactly like what I used to do. I called them hot spots. On the surface everything looked okay but in certain areas it was like a junk tornado had gone through. It’s taken me over 6 months to get here. Really, it was a question of taking baby steps and reevaluating what we truly need.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome post, Jenny! It was a lot easier keeping up with the purge with one kid. It’s a little harder with more kids and as they get more attached to the toys as they age. I read somewhere that all kids really play with is something like 12 toys. I think you are embracing that well.


    1. Thanks Robyn.

      I can’t imagine the volume of stuff that accumulates with more than one kid. It must be mind boggling. I guess if you’re just consistent about scaling down their stuff periodically it should help? I hope!

      And yes, I read the same thing: 12 toys average.


  6. I’m impressed. My four sons have accumulated a barge full of broken toys. Amazing what a little consistency does as you go along. Now, what am I gonna do with all these broken pieces of plastic?


  7. I did this with my 8 year old. Matched everything up for her. It lasted half the year but with 3 kids it made putting laundry away hard for her since they weren’t matched. I settled, the help from her putting her laundry away was far greater than already having everything paired up.


    1. Oh my little one is still small so for now this works! I imagine as she gets older and starts putting her own stuff away we might have to find a new system!


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