The Minimalist Toy Shelf and Toy Rotation


minimalist toy shelf

Are you a minimalist mom or desire to be one? Maybe you’re tired of all the toys and clutter. Or maybe you’re over the constant buying and throwing away of toys. Or, most likely, you’re sick of hearing “I’m bored,” only to look around at the piles of toys and activities thrown around the house.

Enter the toy shelf and toy rotation.

I’ve heard from countless moms that switching to this Montessori concept of toy display has made a huge difference in their children, budget, and sanity. I’m here to answer a few common questions.

Why a Toy Shelf?

Many minimalists and Montessori moms swear by a toy shelf over a toy box because it allows their children to see a selection of their activities at one glance. A shelf makes the child’s belongings more appealing, and they are more likely to play with them. Also, it helps with the mess. Rather than digging through a box and throwing the toys all over the floor, a child can easily find a specific toy and play with it right away. A shelf also makes it easier to put the toy back in the correct spot.

What Kind of Shelf?

A toy shelf doesn’t need to be a specific type of shelf. It can be a window ledge, a shoe rack, or the bottom of a coffee table. Many parents like to use a cubby shelf without the baskets. It’s important to set the toys directly on the shelf or on trays or low baskets so that your child can see them. At the very least, if you can’t see what’s inside a basket, add a picture of its contents.

montessori toy shelf

How Many Toys?

The typical recommendation is to keep no more than eight toys out at once, but ultimately it’s what best suits you and your children.

The key is to not have all of your children’s toys on display at once. Instead, put most of them away and out of sight, such as in a closet, chest, basement, or attic—somewhere that your children can’t access.

How Do I Rotate Toys?

Observe your children and see which toys they are playing with often and which they haven’t touched in a while. When you notice they’ve stopped playing with a particular toy, switch it with one that was in storage. Bringing back an old favorite that they haven’t seen in a while will make it seem “new,” and they are more likely to play with it again.

How Often Should I Rotate Toys?

Some parents like to do a weekly rotation, but you really only need to switch out toys when you notice they haven’t been played with in a while. You might find that some will stay on the shelf for months while others may last a week or two.

Can I Start Today?

Yes! Implement the concept today with these simple steps.

  1. Pick out eight toys your children play with regularly.
  2. Put away the rest into storage. You may even want to sell or donate some you know they will never play with again.
  3. Find a ledge or shelf to display the selected activities. You can even set them on the floor against a wall until you find a shelf that works for your space.
  4. Switch out toys with ones in storage when necessary.
  5. Watch your children find a new enthusiasm for their toys and play with them more often!