Keeping Toys to a Dull Roar

It’s Toy Rotation Tuesday here, so I thought I’d write a little bit about how we deal with toys and gifts.2017-11-07_10-58-28_666 - Copy.png

First, you have to set up your toy rotation:

  1. Put every toy in the house on the floor together
  2. Remove all broken, outgrown, and undesirable toys
  3. Sort into categories
    • If you want to create an inventory, do so now. I like having an inventory because it makes deciding what gifts stay and which go easier.
  4. Determine how many “toy slots” you need to fill
    • A “toy slot” is just the room you have on toy shelves to fill. We have a shelf in Kai’s room, in the game room, and in the open living area. This works out to 15 indoor “toy slots” in a rotation for us.
  5. Decide to store toys by month or by category
    • We sort by category because I like to theme some months (November is forest creatures!) but not all, and we don’t have an even number of toys in each category.
  6. Fill your shelves and decide how often you will rotate
    • We rotate ever six weeks or so, giving us eight rotations a year

The thing I had the hardest time figuring out was what categories to use. I read a lot of blogs about toy rotation and either their categories didn’t apply to us (Barbies, Shopkins, etc.) or they didn’t include their categories at all. So I’m going to post our toy inventory for you by category.

Things marked with a * don’t rotate. I tried to link to the exact toy we own, even when there was something cooler/more in line with our toy philosophy/cheaper so you can see exactly what we’re working with. Some of this was thrifted/made by me/made by swap pals/appeared from some unknown abyss.

Indoor Gross Motor Toys

Outdoor Gross Motor Toys

Outdoor Toys

Fine Motor Toys

Blocks and Building Toys


Sensory Toys

Imaginative Toys

Open Ended Toys

And then we have four non-rotating categories. I suspect the dress-up category will eventually become a rotation category, but it’s still a very small selection right now.

Loose Parts

  • These are stored¬† by theme in a cart with pull out drawers, and any drawer can be chosen, one at a time. Occasionally I add loose parts to some other toys for a small world set up, or something else like that.


  • Sword and Cloak
  • Hobbit Cloak
  • Quidditch Cloak
  • Piggie
  • Owl

Stuffed Animals

  • the bane of my existence

Art Supplies


So, now that you see how I’ve broken up the categories, you can see why knowing what toys you have makes it easier to deal with gifts. We don’t need anymore blocks. Possibly ever. We could use more indoor gross motor toys or general outside toys. I try to keep each rotation category to eight, because we do eight rotations. Blocks and building toys usually has two items out at a time, so it’s limited to sixteen.

If a gift can’t immediately go into rotation, I sometimes store things that will be better when Kai is older, or that are too young for her if the item is something I really love. I pass on toys that either we don’t have room for or don’t fit our toy values to those I know who will appreciate them. Super junky toys get recycled. I also occasionally declare that a toy from grandma is going to stay at grandma’s.

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