I Threw Away (Almost) All of My Kid’s Toys


….and I may toss more.

If that has ever been an idea for you…I say go for it! LOL #teamtossitout

Why I did it:

I didn’t ever want a messy, toy-filled playroom. The energy was bad for me. I hated cleaning it up every night, and being naggymommy making the kids clean up with me (Even though we made it as fun as we could). It was always messy. I tried the parenting book tactics of “play with one toy at a time, put it away before moving to the next one” bla bla bla but the rule didn’t stick because we move from room to room to outside so much. And if they were in their own 15 minutes of “quiet time” (aka Mommy’s late afternoon sanity break) they would “read” for 2 seconds and then just pull out everything at once and just swim in it until quiet time was up.

Bigger than that, I didn’t like how the children were interacting with their toys, valuing them, or treating them. And the energy of the messy playroom throughout the day added to their already high energy, but in a weird manic let’s-throw-this-and-this-and-this-while-shrieking.. kind of way. I’m a big believer in energy, and removing stuff so fresh energy can flow through clear open areas. (This is part of the reason why we have a big empty space in the middle of our house)

open space

What I tossed/donated:

  • All the broken, bent, parts missing, random plastic odds and ends
  • The stuffed animals that never got played with
  • The “baby” toys
  • The figurines they never used
  • Small plastic pieces of bigger toy sets
  • too-small dress up clothes, and dress up clothes that they fight over
  • All “fighter” or “superhero” action figures
  • Everything old, cheaply made, with bendy plastic or any sharp pieces

What I hid in the garage for later:

  • legos
  • knex
  • “big kid” puzzles and games
  • books I hate reading ūüôā

What I kept:

  • Stuffed animals that get daily play
  • These Blocks and some puzzles
  • Rohan’s Cars/Trucks/trains
  • The Kitchen set (but I tossed the fake plastic food/utensils)
  • Kaya’s Teapot
  • The tool sets and instruments
  • Books and art supplies
  • Kai’s 2 dolls
  • 2 dress up capes
  • Outside toys: ride ons etc.


My thinking behind it was:

I wanted to only keep the items the kids LOVE and play with independently DAILY (Ro: his vehicles, Kai: her stuffies and teapot) and then the “general” toys. I don’t know the right word for it….but the “themed” toys, for imagination/creative play. So the art stuff, tools and instruments and of course the blocks had to stay. I notice that they spend the longest time with those types of toys. The blinking beeping interactive toys don’t keep them entertained as long….and I noticed Ro already finds them limiting it seems. (The only exception is the ipad. We use ABC Mouse on that thing…and there is SOOOO much to do with it. Totally worth the money if you are looking into it – Use the coupon for 2 years at $99 total….but I digress….)

I wanted to have the playroom feel good again. Get the chi right, know what I mean? And by having only the things that the kids seem to cherish would be a step toward that. Also, when the random toys are strewn around the house, it’s still something that is loved and often played with, so it doesn’t stay stranded on my bedroom floor, or on the couch for very long.

And as for the kids’ attitudes,¬†I wanted them to be just as happy with less “stuff.”

What Happened:

The kids didn’t care at all. ¬†Seriously… they didn’t give a damn. We barely had a conversation about it.

Here goes Ro:

Rohan: Mommy you took all my toys out!

Me: I did. I took you and Kaya’s toys out.

Rohan: When? ¬†(note: I swear he was going to ask me why….but…)

Me: Yesterday when you were at Auntie Pam’s.

Rohan: Like a secret agent?

Me: ….yes.

Rohan: On a secret mission?!

Me: Yes!

Rohan: You kept my vehicles!

Me: Of course.

Rohan: Good idea.

That’s it. No further conversation. No asking for toys that disappeared. ¬†Kaya only plays mostly with her bunny, teapot and doc mcstuffins so she didn’t care at all.

The kids play longer with the toys they have left. They stay playing in the playroom for longer stretches. It’s impossible for the floor to get covered in toys now (unless they rip all the books out of the book chest) so they lay around playing and building together for extra time.

The kids play with each other and nothing else more often. I caught them a few moments ago just talking laughing spinning around and rolling on the floor like two happy drunks. They spend more time on the “tag” type games or just laying on top of each other laughing and talking.

They ask for their outside toys more. I didn’t expect that. They have fewer inside toys to run through each day I guess so they ask to go out on the playground or the patio, or ride their bikes/trikes more often. And over the last week when I’ve offered crayons (which usually is met with squeals and shrieks of joy) they’re countering with asking to go on the patio and use the sidewalk chalk instead. ::shrug::


What I thought would happen, but didn’t: (lol)

I thought the kids would take better care of their remaining toys.   NOT! They still throw them around and leave them in random places like the little honey badgers that they are.

I thought they’d fight a little less. False. They still “mine! mine! mine!” until I want to punt them through the window…. Just not over toys as much. .. It’s over… every. single. other. thing. in. the. world. (They fought over a piece of fuzz from a slipper earlier today.)


Best decision ever. For the sanity saving extra minutes of quiet play, and the lack of mess. I think as they get older it’ll be even more of a benefit. We plan to swap out toys as they grow. Kai’s birthday is coming up and I’m going to request that any items she’s gifted fall into the “kept” category above.

Have you ever considered tossing your kids toys out?


threw out kids toys pin


  1. John Francis says

    Great idea. I’m so glad you went ahead and did this little experiment. I have always felt the same way.

    Seeing how children treat most toys I had a feeling they wouldn’t care that some were missing.

    I think when they are a bit older children may be able to play with them one at a time. If the children are 7 or younger it is an exercise in futility often times.

  2. loni says

    I remember when I did this. It was awesome and I had the same experience in that the kids did not really care. I had 3, the ages were about 5, 6, and 8. But, when my youngest turned about 15, she would remind me every now and again that I gave away her favorite Banana in Pajamas stuffie. It is very funny to me that she really did not mention it until about 10 years afterwards…….

  3. says

    Definitely great idea. We did that last month and their room is so much tidy than before. Having a petit house makes me want to draw away every toy or clothes that we don’t use often.

  4. says

    I just did this too with the toys in the play space. I need to do it with the books in her room. It just becomes overwhelming and she still needs to play with the same things over and over.

  5. says

    I have definitely thought about taking my little girls toys out. I’ve been prepping her for the day by telling her that we were going to give her toys to less fortunate kids when we take them to Goodwill, etc. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it turned out for you ūüôā

  6. Mrs R says

    I did a Google search for “threw my kids toys away” because I just finished screaming at the top of my lungs at my almost 9 and 5 year old son and daughter about their disgustingly disastrous room. The almost 9 year old has a birthday in 10 days, and guess what’s about to happen? An overload of toys from the grandmas that will promptly be destroyed because they don’t value anything given to them.

    I’m glad you validated what I’m about to do this evening, which is toss out every piece of junk in there. Very little will be left, and since they’ve ruined just about 90% of their toys, they probably won’t care. Now only if I could get the grandparents’ birthday and holiday gifting under control.

    • Dani says

      Go for it. Have them help you toss it. They’re older, they can have a teachable moment maybe? But GOOD ON YOU MAMA cuz I know how frustrating it is to see all the ruined toys strewn all over the place. Ugh!! How do you think they’ll react?

  7. Jenn says

    Which toys did you toss vs. donate? Did you toss the “fighter” and “superhero” figurines and send em to the landfill? What did you feel when you tossed toys in the trash?

  8. says

    Already January 2017 so perhaps no one will read this? After 70+ years, I still ache at so much that was taken away from me. I have forgiven my parents [mostly. That record player was a huge blow; I pulled a million weeds in neighbors’ yards to buy a record player, but that first one was so amazingly special, so totally wonderful]. Both had pretty awful childhoods, and Mom struggled with depression most of her life. This has been cathartic!

    These earlier comments seem to be from sensitive, observant parents – mine weren’t. We had few toys during ‘WW II, but all toys and books disappeared while we were stashed at camp or boarding schools or with grandmother each time we moved. Little Toot, a book I thumbed through many times a week, went missing at age 3. Age 8 was especially heart-breaking – all my books gone, including the Oz series and a few gifts of beloved illustrated fairy tale books from my auntie [worth $hundreds today, though I would never have sold them]. Both Bro and I were devastated at the loss of our woodburning set, our erector set, and Lincoln Logs, the Lionel Train set, toys we used most every week, more often in summer. During the war while Dad worked for the navy the house we rented had an abandoned wind-up record player with a huge beautiful trumpet horn and Beethoven’s 9 symphonies conducted by Arturo Toscanini. left behind, even though I listened to that music every week for 5 and a half years. Age 12 move I had taken small things I couldn’t bear to lose with me to each camp or boarding school, the panda bear Dad gave me just days before we learned of the pending divorce, the beautiful Disney ceramic Thumper Bro gave to me when I was frightened by the fire scene in the film, several favorite books, including King of the Wind, losing the rest of the Margaret Henry books [now replaced with color plate used copies, some reread 2 or 3 times yearly right up to age 77]. The move at age 18 took years to forgive. My stepsister and I had both put smallish metal trunks in the attic with huge labels top and 4 sides, ‘don’t throw away”, along with our college addresses – labels ignored. My dad’s panda bear gone, the 30 or so silver dollars Bro and I had collected, bunches of letters from Dad and a few early-on “love letters” and valentines from youthful suitors, several photo albums. My losses were minor compared to my stepsister’s. Her mother had died 3 years earlier, and all Penny’s mementos vanished – 12 years of birthday/Christmas cards and saved letters, beautiful lace hankies, a few little bottles of perfume …. how she forgave, I don’t know, but years later, after my stepfather died, Penny helped Mom close up their cottage, and flew with her from MidWest to California when she developed Alzheimer’s, making sure she arrived where I lived safely.

    Amazing that I remember, age 2 and a half, learning how to use the record player … how to put the many fragile records back in their black hinged box, remember even who conducted that thrilling music. . a life-changing time.No one else in the family cared a fig about books or music or art … if I had not looked so much like my mother, I might have believed I was a changing-child. I became a bookseller [used books] and despite Social Security’s angst, spend most of my pittance on concerts …

    So all you toy-avalanched parents out there, please be observant and careful when choosing what to discard!

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