Simplify: Toy Clean Up Simplified

I’ve screamed phrases like these way to many times,

“He has too much stuff. I feel like we live in the stuff-mart!”
” Why in the world does he feel the need to empty out every box?”

Action had to be taken so I asked a dear friend (who seriously needs a Phd in parenting) what she did and she told me about the 5 Day, 5 Containers Rule. It’s really simple and for those of you with little kids, you’re going to love how easy it is. That’s the great thing about simple rules, they’re exactly that and make life easier.

First you’re going to need 5 baskets/containers/a draw set. I chose these adorable ones from The Dollar Store. Yup, just $5 and I got my sanity back!I filled each basket with different toys. I decided to separate mine into categories so as you can see the basket on the right has play food in it and the play checkout (which by the way even has an adorable coupon button as I train him correctly how to coupon!!!) and the basket on the left has cars in it. I’ve got one for musical instruments, one for bits and bats and one for blocks. You can do it differently if you like and put a little of each in all of them.

I then cleaned out the bottom of his closet and put the baskets in there. Each day I let him pick a basket but we just get that one out. It makes pick up easier and is a simple way to get toys out of the way.

What about big toys? I still have some of those out that he plays with. Others I put away in the basement and will rotate those after a month or 2 so he gets “new” toys.
Do you rotate? Absolutely. Some toys I keep downstairs for a couple of months and when I reproduce them it gives them new life.
What about favorites? Favorites like his Buzz Lightyear toy or Thomas the Train are always allowed out.
Where do you keep books? We like to read a lot and so I have a drawer of books and puzzles for him that he can go in anytime.
How do you keep puzzles neat? Those go everywhere! I simply put them in big zip-top bags and house them with the books. He doesn’t get to pull another out until he’s put one away.

Homework: Buy/set aside 5 baskets for each day. Explain to your child what you’re doing and get them to help in the cleanup. This is also a good time to go through unused toys that they’ve grown out of that you can store elsewhere or run to the thrift store.


  1. Great idea! I’m headed to the dollar store a.s.a.p.

  2. Love these ideas! Thanks for sharing.

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