Day 5 – Decluttering Small Toys and Email Inbox

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Originally published January 5, 2016 and updated January 2018 and January 2024.

I’m so happy to welcome you back to Day 5 of the 31 Days of 10-minute Decluttering Tips Challenge.  I believe that life is better when simple and organized, so we’re working to eliminate things we don’t need from our lives so that we can better enjoy life. Today you can choose between two organizing task. Do you want to work with your child on decluttering small toys or do you want to work on decluttering your email inbox? It’s your choice to clear clutter.

top image small neatly organized toys, bottom image man on cell phone by laptop with title text reading 10-Minute Decluttering Tasks Small Toys or Emails

Clear Clutter – Decluttering Tips for Small Toys or the Email Inbox

Since we all have at least one email inbox, let’s start with basic tips to purge your inbox. 

Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe. We all receive many emails every day that are just plain junk. This is where spending a minute now to unsubscribe to each of these junk emails will save you hours later of deleting emails you don’t want or need.

Start with the oldest emails in your inbox. It’s easier to judge which emails still need to be kept when you have a week (or three years) perspective on them. Start purging from the oldest emails to the most current in your inbox. 

Purge what you can each time you open your email. We all receive emails we don’t need, so eliminate those immediately before you open emails you do want to keep. This will help reduce the junk emails just cluttering your inbox.

Create folders for email categories. Take a few minutes and think about what folder categories will work best for you. File emails you want to retain in the appropriate folder. You’ll be able to find them much more easily in the future than digging through hundreds of emails sitting in your inbox.

Purging email is the perfect task for those times when you have a few minutes while you wait. When you’re sitting waiting in the dentist office or waiting for soccer practice to end or the many other times in our lives when we have just a few free minutes but have our cell phone with us. Check out my 5-minute Organizing Tasks While You Wait ideas. 

Now let’s talk about purging your children’s small toys.

Grab the 6 purging bags you created earlier, print out your free copy of the Purging Clutter Checklist and gather your child. Head to the toy room or your child’s room to start purging small toys.

Take Everything Out- Keep in mind we’re doing this in 10 minutes. Only take out as much as you can go through in that time. This helps keep the task from being too overwhelming for your child. Don’t worry, you can come back to the other items another time. Lay the items you take out on a table, bed or the floor.

Group Like Items Together – Sort through the items together with your child, placing like items with like items.

child's toys neatly organized

Evaluate – I think it’s very important that your child make the decision about which toys to keep and which ones to purge. Your role is to ask questions, but not to manipulate. Ask your child if the toy is broken or still works. Ask if your child still likes the toy. Talk them through the purging decision process you’ve been practicing the past four days.

It often helps children let go of formerly favorite toys by taking a picture or your child holding the toys. Your child will then always have the photo as a memory of the toys and may be more willing to let go of them. As a military family, we move every one to three years. The only consistency in my children’s lives have been our family and my children’s toys. For that reason, I’ve always allowed my children to keep favorite toys that they’ve outgrown in a plastic tub stored in the basement, garage or attic. This frees up space in their room and gives them the security of knowing the toy is safely packed away in their storage tub. Talking with your child and using the storage tub together with the photograph choice will help your child make those difficult purging decisions.

Purge – Remove items you don’t need to keep and place them in one of your 6 purging bags. Encourage your child to participate. This purging process is a wonderful talking and teaching opportunity.

Put Everything Away – Put the items your child has decided to keep back away. Praise your child for the hard work that was done in purging. Reinforce and explain to your child why you want to purge and organize your home. 

Toy Organizing Ideas

135 of the Best Lego Storage Ideas – Encourage creativity and save your feet with these 135+ best LEGO storage ideas, tips, products and DIY ideas for every space and need.

clear bins of LEGOs sorted by color and stacked on white shelves

The Best Barbie Storage Ideas – 80+ tips for the best Barbie organizer and storage tips and products, including DIY, budget and multiple product options.

fashion doll holding shoe with clothes scattered and text overlay.

One way to encourage your child to put toys away is to use fun organizing containers like this DIY repurposed Can Lego Head.

square yellow container with blue lid and smiling face on one side and frowning face on other side

Your child is also more likely to put their toys away if you use open containers or bins that make it easy to just throw the toys into the container. This upcycled comic book can makes it easy and fun to put your superhero figures away.

Books or other toys are easy to put away in this upcycled comic book clementine crate.

Products for Organizing Small Items

Extra Large Zipper Pouches

12pcs Waterproof Zipper Pouches

A3 Size Bags,

for Puzzles, Games, Small Toys, Office Supplies, Art and Craft Supplies and more

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03/12/2024 03:28 pm GMT
IRIS Small Plastic Storage Containers with Latching Lid
$15.99 ($1.60 / Count)


for Small Toys, Art and Craft Supplies, Office Supplies and more

Made in the USA

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03/12/2024 03:23 pm GMT
Over Door Organizer with 5 Large Pockets

10 Mesh Side Pockets

44 lbs Weight Capacity Hanging Storage Organizer with Clear Window

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03/12/2024 03:28 pm GMT
Set of 2 Small Clear Storage Bins with Lid

Available in a variety of Sizes

Made in the USA

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03/12/2024 03:28 pm GMT

Whew! We’ve just completed Day Five by purging small toys or your email inbox. Congrats! Tomorrow we’ll be working on Day Six of the 31 Days of 10-Minute Decluttering Tips challenge. We’re working towards simplifying and enjoying life more.

Find all my decluttering tips, printables and challenges in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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  1. Oh I couldn’t agree more with your unsubscribe philosophy! I’m in the process of reducing my inbox down from 22000+ emails – Feel so much better now I’m less than 13K but still a way to go. Loving the tips! Happy New Year to you x

    1. Wow! Great work, Helen. I need to sit down this week (for 10 minutes ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and do some email purging. You’ve inspired me. Happy New Year to you, too.

  2. Sometimes I think there are gremlins who come out when we aren’t looking and deposit small toys all over the house. They just seem to come out of the woodwork. Let ’em go!

  3. I definitely need to work on purging my email! Last week I had over 700 email I hadn’t gone through. Right now I have about 300. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. This is something I really need to work on. I always think I will “get to it later” and then never do. I need to buckle down and unsubscribe to so many lists. Thanks for reminding me to do it.

  5. Ooh, how badly I need to purge my children’s toys. I watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism, and it made me realize how much money I’ve wasted on things that my children don’t need. Thanks for the extra encouragement to get the purge started!

  6. I spent a long time purging my email. I had stuff sitting there since 2015! Now itโ€™s under control and I will never let it happen again. I have folders for the ones I need to keep and the rest are gone! Thank you !

    1. Lori, that’s great!!! And what an inspiration (I’ve let mine go a little too long lately, shhh, don’t tell).

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