The Ins and Outs of Toy Rotation

Toys. Toys. Toys. Who here constantly feels like they’re drowning in toys?

Every birthday or holiday do you smile through gritted teeth as you watch your child open present after present from their grandparents? Do you feel faint when you see just how many pieces that lego set they’ve been begging for has? And just how hard do you roll your eyes when your children say they’re bored while standing amidst a sea of toys?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I urge you to try my favorite mom hack ever and ROTATE YOUR TOYS.


Toy rotation has saved my sanity when it comes to toys and mess and playtime.  I’ve done it pretty much since day 1 with the twins. Honestly, I like to think it was engrained in me by my own mother who rotated my and my siblings’ toys all throughout our childhood.  (She’s a genius 🙂 )

But seriously, here’s why I rotate toys:

  1. It keeps things interesting – for both the twins and for me!
  2. It fosters better focus.  There’s much more play, and less dump and run.  (Don’t know what I mean by ‘dump and run’? I’m referring to when a  child takes an entire bag of duplos or bin of toys, turns it over then instantly moves on to the next thing without touching anything he/she just tipped out. THAT’s dump and run.)
  3. Less toys out at one time means less clutter and mess! And it makes clean up much quicker.
  4. It helps us buy less.  Every 2-3 months it’s like Christmas morning for $0.
  5. Toys get used in different ways. I find that even as the twins get older, when I rotate in toys from their baby days they find ways to use them.  They don’t know a toy is a ‘baby toy’ or a ‘toddler toy’.


Do I have your attention? Want to know how to do it?? It’s easy, I promise.

Step 1: Buy some storage bins (I love these 50qt containers from Amazon) or a few extra laundry baskets.  The amount you’ll need will vary on how many toys you have.

Step 2: Gather up ALL the toys in your play areas and then divide them into thirds or fourths.  If you go with thirds, put away 2/3s of the toys — if you go with fourths put away 3/4s of the toys.  Stash them in the basement, attic, closet.  Wherever you can get them out of sight for your benefit and your little one!

Step 3:  Swap the bins out every 2-3 months, or as needed.  My rule for as needed swaps is one toy in, one toy out.  If your child requests something that’s okay! Just make sure that one toy goes away for every “new” toy that comes out.

I told you it was easy!! And the payoff is huge.  Again, less mess, more happy play, more creativity.  It’s win after win after win.

Feeling nervous? Here are a few more tips to help:

  1. Don’t let them see you! I strongly urge you to do a toy swap (especially the initial pack up) at naptime or after bedtime.  Don’t let them see you take the toys – I learned this the hard way once.
  2. Don’t have a lot of storage? That’s okay! Pack up and swap the toys you can — even just a few rotation toys will help.  Or? Swap with a friend! Just make sure you write down or label which toys are yours to help cut down on any confusion for swapping back.
  3. Toys don’t have to be the only thing you rotate – try it with books too! We all know there are weeks when you feel like you’ve read the same book 100 times (because you probably did).  Help prevent ruts by rotating books from the bookshelf.  The great news is books are easy to store – you can tuck them under a bed if you have to!
  4. Mix everyone’s toys. If you have children of different ages, mix the toys in together in the bins.  That way everyone gets new toys with every rotation.

Tell me! Are you going to try toy rotation? Do you already regularly rotate your kiddos’ toys? Do you think it makes a difference? Comment below and share!


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