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Whether you’re short on space or simply looking to declutter your home, organizing and downsizing toys and games is a great place to start. That’s what we did when we moved from one small space to another. Here’s how we did it (and how you can do it too!)
How to Downsize Games, Toys, and Movies
We lived in a small farmhouse. And before we lived in a small farmhouse, we lived in an even smaller camper. Over the years of “small house living,” we’ve learned so much about what we really need and what we don’t. And with 4 people living in about 800 sq feet (which we still felt was huge compared to the camper!), we had to make the most of the space we had.
I’ve done a few things to downsize that might seem a little crazy at first glance, but I’ve never looked back or regretted any of it. Even now, many years after I originally published this post, I’m still happy with the changes we made. Today, I’m going to share a few of the things that we’ve done to organize and downsize our possessions so that they fit comfortably into a relatively small space.
One of the big reasons we had to downsize our stuff was the lack of space overall and storage space in particular. Moving into a house with no closets takes a lot of forethought. Where do you store things?
Well, for the most part, you don’t. You keep what you use, and if it’s something you really need, you find the space for it. Here are 3 areas of the house that we’ve worked on and downsized considerably.
How to Downsize Toys
If you’re limited on space (or even if you’re not and just trying to declutter), it’s so important to regularly go through your kids’ toys and get rid of any that they’ve outgrown or don’t play with.
If you’re not careful, those toys always seem to creep from one room into another until soon they’ve taken over your entire house! Downsizing and decluttering toys once every few months can help ensure they never get completely out of control.
We still seemed to have quite a few toys in the camper, and every so often, I would put a few away in a box for a while. But I quickly realized that our little guy didn’t even miss them. So slowly but surely, we started to get rid of the toys.
We now have one toy box for all of our kids. All of their toys, except the train set and the building blocks, fit in here.
We also made a promise that any more toys brought into our house would only be allowed to come in if they were something worthy. For us, that means something that will last a long time and something they can play with for a long time.
Very few plastic toys fit this description for us, and we prefer wooden toys. We’ve talked to our friends and family about gift giving and prefer that the kids get an “experience” gift or something for crafts instead.
By doing these things, we’ve noticed the kids have less anxiety over toys and actually play better than when they had more toys to choose from. Of course, we also like to play outside often, and for them, that’s better than toys any day!
How to Downsize Movies
We do love to watch a good family movie, especially in the winter, to pass some of the long, cold days. I actually moved all of our movies into the camper and realized how much space the boxes were taking up. So I bought a few of these dvd cases, took all of the DVDs out of the plastic cases, and put them in those.
I cleaned out at least two large black garbage bags full of DVD cases just because they take up so much space! Now all of our movies can be easily found, and we don’t miss the cases at all.
Aside from simply reorganizing DVDs into one large DVD case, take the time to go through and get rid of any movies you know you’ll probably never watch again. Sometimes, we buy movies when we should really just rent them, maybe because they’re on sale for a good price or because we think we’ll like them more than we do. There’s no point hanging onto these movies and having them take up valuable space, especially in a small home.
Nowadays, with on-demand movie services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, you hardly need to have any physical copies of movies lying around anymore. But it’s always nice to have your favorites on hand., just so long as they’re well organized and not taking up valuable square footage!
I made the switch to albums for my dvds over 5yrs ago and have never regretted it! They take up so little room! I actually found ones that sit like a book on our shelf with a place for a lable so the boys have one and we have one. Works great!Danielle, Little House Living reader
This was the single biggest “space-taker-upper” that we still had! We love board games and have a pretty good collection (we got many as wedding gifts!). But those boxes are huge and take up so much space! Now bear with me here…this is the one that my hubby thought I was crazy for wanting to downsize. (Although now he’s glad I did it.)
I took each game out of its box, placed the playing pieces in a large gallon-size freezer bag, and labeled it with the game name. Then, I took all the game boards and made a stack. We cleaned out all of the boxes and unneeded plastic parts and put all of the game boards and pieces in a large trunk that we had in the living room.
I kid you not; I took away at least 10 large black garbage bags of game boxes and plastic fillers. So much unnecessary space is being taken up! And just like with the DVD cases, we don’t miss the boxes for the games at all.
I no longer hate our dvd collection and games now that we’ve done this. A few of our games we still keep in the boxes (usually those that travel to friends houses for game nights. But other than that, out with the boxes. I am steadily downsizing in every area I can think of, or stand. It get easier the older I get, and the more we’ve moved. When we are transferred, OUT goes everything we don’t NEED or LOVE. It just isn’t worth the hassel. We also continue to try to purchase smaller homes, I hope to go smaller with our next home.Patricia, Little House Living reader
Update…..after many years of keeping our game pieces in zippered bags, we’ve finally upgraded! I’m now using these simple storage boxes to put the larger game pieces in. The boards are stacked inside our chest, and then pieces and cards are placed into the boxes shown above. I LOVE these so much more than the bags or the original boxes because:
- They are all the same size.
- They are heavy-duty (don’t break or bend like the boxes).
- They fit nicely inside our storage chest and keep all the pieces together.
- They don’t pop open like the bags.
- You can organize the pieces and cards inside the boxes, unlike the bags.
Downsizing just these three things cleared out a huge amount of extra space for us, and I bet just starting with these three areas can do the same for you. Then you can move on to other areas like kitchen gadgets, toiletries, books, and knick-knacks.
In our bigger house I would have never considered doing these things, but out of necessity we’ve done them now and I’m so happy that we did.
More On Decluttering
- How to Get Organized On A Budget
- How to Organize Small Spaces
- Pantry Organization Ideas
- Simple Ways to Declutter and Organize the Bathroom
- How to Declutter Sentimental Items
- How to Downsize Books and Simplify Your Collection
Which areas of your house could you work on to create more space? What are some other “extreme downsizing” ideas that you have for making more space? Let me know in the comments!
This blog post on How to Organize Downsize Toys and Games was originally published on Little House Living in January 2015. It has been updated as of January 2024.