My first step at decluttering my son’s toys

A few ways I started to declutter all the toys in our houseIt’s a new year, and if you are on social media, it’s hard to miss that resolutions are in full swing. In my feed, everyone is decluttering. There are so many tips and tricks out there that I am having trouble decluttering the decluttering process!

However, I decided to take some of this advice to heart. ZJ’s toys were taking over our living space to a point where we were all a bit unhappy. I definitely had enough.

I would like to think we have an average number of toys — more than some and less than others. My two-year old was still a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of play choices, and they were poorly organized.

How I started to declutter my son's toys!

Help! I am surrounded!

In addition, we were constantly picking up after him. He does understand how to clean, but we can’t expect him to if there is no clear place where to stow his toys.

Since he is still young, we decided it was a good time to clean out the toys.

Here is what I did:

1. We have a toy storage bench in the living room. It works great but we let the toys flow out and take over the living room. I chose his favorite toys and found a place in the bins. Once the bins were full, that was it (for the most part).

Decluttering toddler toys Decluttering toys!

2. I put the leftover toys in a large plastic tub, and brought it to the basement. We also have a few toys in his room. He gets to enjoy them when we are downstairs or upstairs. Every few weeks, we’ll rotate the toys.

3. We put away the toys he has outgrown, or will soon outgrown, or that I simply didn’t like. This includes very loud electronic toys. These are marked to either be used again if we have another child or to be donated or given away.

This isn’t rocket science and this idea is not new. But in the few days since we did this, I can already see results.

ZJ can more easily focus on his toys. I can see a difference in his play and he has a new interest in toys that he hasn’t touched in a long time.

He is even happier and plays better on his own.

We are all happier that our living room is less cluttered.

Everyone has a different philosophy toward children and toys in the house. I’ve seen minimalism work quite well and I’ve seen families work with toys in every corner of the house. We didn’t go gung-ho with this process and kept a lot. We will regularly assess when a toy needs to leave circulation.

But we will keep out only what we have room for.

This one small step is showing us how curating the toys — even just a little — is working for us. And I got part of my living room back!

I found some good tips in these articles:

From one of my favorite bloggers, Janet Lansbury: Play Space Inspiration

Tame the toys: 5 great ways to manage the messes

Babyproofing a fireplace: Where fun meets functional

Time to tackle a babyproofing challenge!

The Problem: Our fireplace. It is at ground level and can be easily reached by any curious baby or toddler. At that age, what’s not to love about an open fireplace!

We started out with just the fireplace screen, which was a temporary deterrent for a determined child.

We then put our pack and play in front of the fireplace, which worked for ZJ. However, it took up a lot of room in our moderately sized living room, and it didn’t work for me. I wanted to reclaim part of my house!

Baby proofing fireplace with gigantic magnetic board


The Solution: A gigantic magnetic board!

I first found this solution in this post on Fun at Home with Kids. (The magnetic board was only one of many great ideas in this post. I am definitely going to revisit it!)

Asia Citro, the author, had a custom magnetic board built. I’ve also seen hacks that use giant oil drip pans, which seems brilliant if that size fits your space.

We did it a little different. We went to Home Depot and got a custom piece of plywood wood to fit our fireplace, a can of magnetic paint, and some sand paper. We had Velcro tape at home.

Babyproofing a fireplace using a giant magnetic board!

It was a simple process:

1. Sand the wood.
2. Paint the wood.
3. Affix to the fireplace with Velcro.

I’ve seen some examples where the board is painted with chalkboard paint: Not only is it magnetic, you can also draw on it.  I was hesitant to do this because I don’t want chalk everywhere, and I was also afraid that it would encourage my son to write on other walls!

Who knows, I may change my mind in the future. Chalkboard paint can easily be added to this board.

We added some Melissa and Doug animal magnets, which he loves. I will be buying some more magnets soon!

No more slams: A hack to stop spirited children from shutting (or locking) doors

One of ZJ’s favorite pastimes is running into a room, or the bathroom, and slamming the door. He is not tall enough to open the door and he is stuck.

Usually we don’t let him stay trapped for long. Of course, we wouldn’t do that …

I stumbled upon this hack in a few places, most recently at Kids Activities Blog. All you need is a relatively strong rubber band.

A hack to keep your child from shutting (or locking) doors in your home


It’s simple to install.


Use a rubber band to prevent your young one from locking the door.


It works. After trying a few times to shut and latch the door,  ZJ realized his efforts were futile.

Mom hack approved!

Mom hack: An easier way to clean the bathtub

If I were to star in a super hero movie, my bathtub would be the villain.

I am not a willing cleaner. I love a clean house and a clean bathtub. I don’t particularly care for the process to get me there!

My earliest memories of bathtub cleaning are of my mom or dad hunched over the tub, scrubber in hand. Sweat beading on their foreheads. Tons of elbow grease. Maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but that’s how I saw it.

Looking for a better way, I ran across this post from Joyful Homemaker. It looked very easy. Put a homemade cleaning solution (Dawn soap and vinegar) in a dish wand. Then,  bring it with you in the shower and scrub the tub before you bathe.

I was game to try this.

Shazaam! It was as easy as promised.  What I liked most about this method is that it feels like less work, even though you are still scrubbing. And afterwards,  you feel fresh and clean.

The only drawback to this method of cleaning is that it calls for a homemade cleaning solution. It cleans well, but it’s not as shiny as my Scrubbing Bubbles. Just be warned. I may switch off on occasion to get the shine.

You will need:

  • A sponge wand (I got mine at Target)
  • 1 part blue Dawn dish washing liquid 
  • 1 part white vinegar

A few notes:

  • The solution keeps for a while under the sink but you may have to add water occasionally to the wand.
  • This solution doesn’t smell bad but there is a hint of vinegar, as you may expect. One way to remedy this is to add a drop or two of essential oils to the mixture. I’ll be trying that soon.

I am still on the hunt for the most efficient way to clean a bathtub but this is a start!