Toys are everywhere. On the floor, in the cup holders, jammed between the cushions, and rattling around in the car seat. They have the ability to take over your car. So how do you stop toy clutter from taking over every surface of your car? In this post, I’ll discuss my tips for controlling the flow of toys, both into and out of the car.
After all, mama. You’re the boss. Let’s make sure those toys know it.
The pros of having toys in the car
I’m a fan of toys in the car. In fact, I encourage it. Here are some reasons you should consider keeping toys in the car:
- It keeps kiddos happy. Even short car trips to the grocery store can feel like eons to little ones. As I’ve been told by my three year old, the playground is a “really long ways away” (it’s a 10 minute drive). Having a couple of toys in the car can help keep kids busy and happy.
- It keeps mama happy. Ever had to drive with a screaming child in the backseat? Yeah, I’ve been there. Having toys on hand allows me to have a tiny bit of peace and quiet.
- It’s great for impromptu outings. If you decide on a whim to go out to eat or do something else that requires waiting, it’s great to have a few toys you can grab from the car to keep little ones busy as you wait. (And it makes you look like Super Mom for being so prepared. Heck yeah!)
The cons of having toys in the car
But, alas, there are downsides. Here are just a few:
- Toy clutter: They take over your car. They’re in the carseat, the cup holder, the center console and probably the worst place: rattling around under your feet while you drive.
- Pieces get lost. Let’s be honest, once that tiny piece finds its way in between two cushions, it’s gone. Nice knowing ya.
How to reduce toy clutter in the car
Create a routine for taking toys to the car.
There’s two ways to control the flow of toys coming into your car:
- Designate special toys to be car toys only. Or,
- Allow your child to pick 1-2 toys from a special toy bin. Create a bin of toys suitable for car or travel. This includes toys that don’t have little pieces or loud noises or sticky parts. They’re small enough to fit in your purse and small enough to fit several of them in the car toy bin. When it’s time to leave, give instructions to your child to go to this special bin and pick out either 1 or 2 toys.
Keep toys organized in a simple bin.
I found a plastic bin at a yardsale, but I’ve also seen similar bins at the dollar store. You could also use a cardboard box, a shoe box or a small trash can that’s not currently being used.
Put the toy bin on the floor by your child’s car seat.
When I’m waiting for my son to climb into his seat or I’m waiting to pick my husband up from work, I’ll do some pick up and chuck.
Pick up and chuck is exactly what it sounds like. I reach to pick up a toy that is not in the bin and I chuck it (sometimes across the car) to return it to the bin.
Once the bin starts to overflow, it’s time to take the toys back into house. Honestly, the easiest solution is to not let extra toys come into the car (house toys live in the house; car toys live in the car).
If this is not doable, have a bin in the house that is specifically for car and travel toys. When the toys start to overflow in the car toy bin, just bring the bin inside and dump the toys back in with other toys that are specifically for travel.
Don’t worry about perfection.
Oh man, don’t get me started on perfection. It doesn’t exist. Like right now, I have little reusable cling stickers shoved the cup holder from months ago. I’ve been meaning to clean them up but never got around to it. And you know what? That’s alright.
The goal is not to be perfect. If you strive for that you’ll come up short. Rather, the goal is to make a little bit of progress and gain a little bit of order and sanity in this season of life.
Having a cheap little bin to corral toys into every once in a while cuts down on the waterfall of toy clutter that fall out every time you open the door. This is a simple tip that can keep you from berating yourself because you have a messy car or feeling like you’re not good enough. In fact, you are good enough and raising little humans is tough work.
Putting these tiny systems in place can lessen the time you spend cleaning (or let’s be honest: the time you spend feeling guilty for not cleaning) and free up time to go spend with those beautiful, wonderful little humans you’re raising.
If you liked this post, you’ll also like this post about the easiest way to keep your car clean.