Toy Rotation: Saving Time, Money and Simplifying your Life

23 Oct

As Christmas is approaching I’ve been thinking about what we should get Kinley.   This will be her 2nd Christmas but her first one that she’s old enough to get excited about toys.  I want to get her fun things that she will really enjoy, but also be frugal.  I’ve actually been thinking a lot about how I want to do toys for the rest of our children because not only do I want to get toys that they will actually play with, I want to have a good system in place before we add more children to the picture.  I’ve seen way too many toy rooms completely  full of toys and children that get bored too fast with them.  I decided that I want to set up a rotation system so that new (or forgotten) toys  are always being introduced. Toy rotation will help your children appreciate and take better care of their toys, it will help them learn and focus more efficiently, it will save your family money, and it will help you as a parent when you need a little time to get something done.  Once I decided what I wanted to do I got online and was surprised to find many people already do this.  Here is how I plan on doing it:


I went through and organized what I had, put all the toys into bins and organizers, and labeled everything.  Throw away any toys that are broken or have missing pieces.  If you have children at different stages, also organize things by age (“baby toys,” Toddler toys,” etc.).  I like to also have things organized by indoor/outdoor, seasonal, and type of play (pretend, active, sensory, etc).  You can be as simple or as complex with this as you’d like.



Labeling is important because you want this system to simplify your life, not the opposite.  If you are digging through totes trying to find specific toys then you are only complicating your life.  Find a way of labeling and organizing that will make it the very easiest to find what you are looking for.


This would definitely be according to your own taste, family situation, and how you want to decorate and organize your toy room, but I like to always have a few things out.  For instance I don’t ever pack up books.  I want Kinley to be able to pick a book out to read anytime she wants and I like to have a good selection to choose from at bedtime.  I also like to keep art supplies at arms reach (MY arm’s reach) because  I want them to be available whenever (not just for the kids, but for me)!  A few other things I keep out at all times:

Big toys like a play kitchen, rocking horse or art easel. (I will pack away all of the play food and everything that goes with the kitchen, but I don’t want to have to haul the big stuff back and forth whenever my kids want to play with them).  When the kids decide they want to play with the kitchen I will go get the toys that go with it, or when they want to play with the crib and stroller I will go get the doll stuff.  Make sense?

Learning Toys.  I like to keep a few things out like legos or blocks that they can play with anytime they want.  I will still rotate them with other learning toys, but less frequently than I rotate everything else.

Also, if you happen to go to a yard sale, or have toys handed down from a family member…resist the urge to give them to your kids all at once.  Put them into rotation and wait for them to be surprised!  They will also spend more time playing with them and they will last longer.


This would also be according to your own taste and situation, but I like to rotate things whenever my kid starts to appear bored with the toys she has, or when she is older I will also pull things out as they are requested.  If she wants to play with dolls on a particular day, then I am not going to stop her; but in order to have a new toy pulled out, another one will take its place in storage.  How often you rotate will also depend on where you store the toys.  I have three places:  a closet, a storage room, and a garage.  The things that I want handy at any moment (like art and craft supplies) I will put in the closet.  This is also where I will put busy bags and quiet books(little bags with on-the-go activities when I need to take a child along with me in the car or to an appointment).  The things that my children enjoy playing with more frequently will go in the storage room.  The things that I want to be a surprise to pull out on days that I really need to get something done (or items that I won’t rotate as often) will go in the garage.

Do you rotate your toys?  What are some ways that you do it similarly or differently?  What has worked best for you?

If you haven’t already, please give your input on my post about toys that kids play with the most!

Here are some toy rotation ideas from other moms:

This one is an excellent post on why toy rotation is so great:

This one has ideas from multiple moms:


One Response to “Toy Rotation: Saving Time, Money and Simplifying your Life”


  1. Busy Bag Madness! « Mother's Niche - November 16, 2012

    […] not have free access to this item at all times, it catches their interest, similar to the idea of a toy rotation.  These are great for church, doctor’s visits, car rides or those desperate moments when you […]

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