Surviving the Toy-nado: Tips to Declutter After the Holidays

Everyone warned me about the overabundance of toys that would appear. This Christmas was technically my son’s second Christmas but it was the first one where he really became excited about presents. I think him being so aware and excited makes our family super excited and overzealous with the gift-giving. Combine that with the fact that of course “Santa” was super excited to fill the living room with new toys, and we now have ourselves the first toy-nado of post-Christmas gifts.


Toy-nado /toi nādō/ (noun) a mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating toys ripping through your once clean home and leaving a path of utter destruction, clutter, and over-stimulation 

My son also has a February birthday which gives us exactly one month to make room for the next round of gifts. The toys have now spilled over into our guest room and the living room. Did I mention my son is not even TWO years old yet? He is more interested in grabbing the TV remote and trying to stick his fingers into electrical outlets while his expensive vtech, Fisher Price, and Little Tikes toys sit gathering dust. I am extremely grateful for all of the amazing toys that have been given to my son. However, I can’t help but feel guilty that so many of these nice toys are just sitting in the corner. There is often so much to choose from that my son becomes very overwhelmed.

I have been gathering ideas for what to do with all of these toys and I want to share a few tips for any of you who are also experiencing this toy-nado!

Tips to Declutter After the Holidays


When you think of donating items, Goodwill is usually the first place to come to mind. However, there are several different places you can consider when donating used toys. Your local children’s hospital is a good place to contact to see if they accept used toys. If you are in East Tennessee, here are the item donation guidelines for donating to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Local police and sheriff departments will also usually take gently used stuffed animals to keep in their cars to hand out to children during emergencies.

Save for a Rainy Day

Put away some of the newer toys that your child has not become attached to. You can store them in a closet, the attic, the basement, etc. When your child seems to be getting bored or it is nasty outside and your child needs a little pick-me-up, pull one of the toys out as a special surprise. There is also a method called Toy Rotation that I have not personally tried (it seems like it takes a bit of work to set up) but it sounds like a great idea. You can find several articles on different methods. I found this one to be helpful: Toy Rotation: A Step-by-Step Guide.


Consigning toys, or taking them to a place like Once Upon a Child, can provide you with some quick money. You could put the earned money in a special account for your child to practice saving, or put it toward a big-ticket item your child has been wishing for. If your child is old enough, you could also use this opportunity to allow them to help choose a charity to which they can donate the money.

Improve Organization

Sometimes you can improve the toy mess with some simple organizational techniques. I am a huge fan of plastic Rubbermaid tubs because they stack neatly in closets or wherever you want to put them. I even tuck cute tubs under dressers, the changing table, on bookshelves, etc. Pinterest always has some cute ideas for organization. Check our Let’s Get Organized Pinterest Board!

No Gifts Please

One thing I am going to implement for my son’s 2nd birthday is a “no gifts, please” policy. Of course, we will get him a few items and his grandparents will as well. However, if we have a little party or anything, I am going to try and stress no gifts! I have seen some kids have parties where they ask the attendees to bring items for an animal shelter or another charity, and then the child gets the joy of taking the items to the charity.

Non-Toy Gift Ideas

This post from Lauren is a classic: 25 Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids. I think sometimes the driving force behind all of the toys is the instant joy that the kids express when opening the toy gift. While the non-toy ideas may not provide instant excitement, they will produce memories which is so much more precious. A child is not likely to remember which toys came from which person. However, if someone takes the time to take the child to their favorite restaurant, a movie, or sporting event, the child will be more likely to remember the time spent with that person. My mom used to always buy season tickets to our local playhouse in Huntsville, Alabama. I can tell you about so many of those plays I attended. Those memories are something that will stick with me forever.

We would love to hear any tips you have on what to do with an overabundance of toys! Share with us in the comments!

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