How to Organize and Rotate Toys

{Originally written for}

Are there toys everywhere you look? Chances are that an over-abundance of toys is just as overwhelming for your child as it is for you. Joshua Becker gives a compelling argument about Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Children. In my experience, fewer toys out means less to clean up and more focused and calm playing by my kids. I developed a toy rotating strategy when my eight year old twins were toddlers and used this system for years until their younger sister went off to kindergarten. Now I find myself restarting my system for my baby boy. Here is how I did it.

How to Organize and Rotate Toys

Step 1 –

Get 3 containers and divide all the toys into 3 groups, giving each grouping a good variety. Most of our toys come from consignment sales. Used toys are the best, because once they’ve been cleaned, most are good as new!

Divide the toys into groups with a good variety in each

Step 2 –

Bring one bin out and use the bin itself as the toy chest, or distribute these toys into your decorative toy baskets.

Step 3 –

After a week, gather toys and give them a good cleaning. Place back in bin to store.

Step 4 –

Bring out the next bin and repeat.

When the toys come out, it is so exciting and magical to see the long lost toys. The kids play with the “new” toys so well! And during the week, it is so much easier to clean up fewer toys.


Easy enough, right?!

Keep bins tucked away in a closet, so they don’t get all mixed up.

Store bins out of reach of little hands

This system is better for baby and better for mom! Win-win!

Organized toys are good for mom and good for kids

Don’t you love easy solutions that can make a big impact? Have you ever rotated your kids’ toys? Let me know if you try this system and how it works for you!

Happy playing!

Mary is a professional organizer and mother of four, dedicated to bringing you organizing and homemaking tips and tricks at Be sure to follow Mary Organizes on Facebook and join in the 91 Day De-Clutter Challenge starting September 1st!

13 thoughts on “How to Organize and Rotate Toys

  1. Dear Mary, this solution is so simple and yet so useful!. I will do it with my children’s toys and I know it will be a success. I’m a new suscriber from Bolivia and I’m loving your articles!!! Thanks a lot!!!

  2. Right now, we organize a little differently. I have bins organized by category (trains, cars, dramatic play, and educational). My kids are 4, 2, and 6 months. I tried leaving only one bin out at a time, but then they end up asking to play with stuff that’s put away. I try to keep the other bins closed while they are playing with one, but it doesn’t always work. It does help with teaching where things go. Still trying to figure out if it will work for us.

    1. I would with the 2 year old, but by 5, I’d hope they can start to learn how to clean after themselves a bit, so it isn’t so terrible to have a little more out.

  3. I have a 3 year old boy, 20 month old little girl and 2 month old boy. Do you think j should mix their toys in a bin and bring out or get different totes? (Love this idea as I am drownding in toys)

  4. Ok me again…what age do you recommend doing this until and how do I decide what toys to get rid of or what toys to rotate…At age 3, 1 and infant they only play with a toy for a couple of minutes so it’s hard to know which ones to keep verses are just junk. I also have so many smaller toys that just seem like clutter. I’m leaning towards getting rid of smalls

    1. Oh yes, sounds like you could get rid of 90% and be fine. I think you answered your own question – they only play with it for a minute. They don’t need a ton of toys that they only play with a minute. I remember reading that 10 toys was a great amount for small kids. I let that guide me a lot, though I never held myself to that exact number. Get rid of redundant things – like things that focus on color sorting. Maybe they only need one thing that focuses on that. :) Don’t worry, you are not being mean getting rid of their toys, you are giving your children so much free space to build imaginations.

      1. Yes, thank you. I could probably fill like 20 plastic bins to rotate,,,ugh,,,it’s overwhelming to me so I’m sure it’s overwhelming to them.

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