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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Dixon

What Toy Clutter Does to a Mom's Brain

The desire for a space that is easy-to-maintain while also being aesthetically pleasing is very common when it comes to toys and kids stuff. There's actually quite a bit of research that tells us why. Believe it or not, taking the time to get your child's playroom or play area under wraps can be a huge game changer for your routine, your focus and your mood. Not only that, you will see a shift in the way your child plays...but more on that in a different post. Sounds like a win-win to me. Let's dig in!

This is Your Brain around Clutter

Research shows that clutter and mess can have a negative affect on our brains. This applies to us as moms, but also our children. As mothers, we are already overwhelmed, overloaded and over-stimulated. So piles of toys can really push us over the edge.

According to,

"Clutter can make us feel stressed, anxious and depressed. Research from the United States in 2009, for instance, found the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mothers whose home environment was cluttered."

I know so many of you are nodding your heads right now. I know I was when I read this for the first time. Have you ever had one of those moments when you stop to take a drink of your water and look around at all of the toy mess and clutter? And then physical sensations actually start happening in your body! Maybe your heart starts racing, you feel dizzy, your breathing becomes more rapid. I've been there and I'm here to tell you there are some smalls changes you can make to reduce these episodes of toy clutter panic.

caveat: Being overstimulated by the amount of toys in our home increases our stress hormones. But as adults, we have coping skills to manage this. Think about our children though. Imagine how toy clutter is making them feel. I'll tell you how: overwhelmed, overstimulated and overloaded. Just like us. No one benefits from toy clutter. So if you are keeping extra toys around because you think you are doing your child a favor, or are making playtime easier for them with lots of toys to choose from, that's actually not the case at all.

Toy Clutter contributes to "Mom-Brain".

Yep. As if living in a state of exhaustion wasn't enough. Our environment and the things in it can actually be making it worse.

"Research shows disorganization and clutter have a cumulative effect on our brains. Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus.The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory."

So much is out of our control as mothers, and that's a hard thing for many of us. When our mental resources are consumed by a disorganized and cluttered environment full of kids stuff, it takes away from other important things that we want and need to do. Our brains are wired to be able to keep track of only a few details at once for short periods of time, so it can get easily overloaded when there are messes and toys everywhere.

One More Thing to Clean

Circling back to being overwhelmed, overloaded and over-stimulated, having to clean up mountains of toys is the LAST thing we need as moms. We've already got the laundry, the dishes and the dog poop. Easy clean-up has got to be the way. When you start to shift to space that allows for your children to live and play comfortably, while also being able to easily maintain, you will see positive shifts in the vibes of both you and your home.

Help for Mothers and Toy Clutter

Just start. While it may seem overwhelming to start decluttering the toys in your home, a little bit can go a long way. Just start. Small doses. If you need some help, grab our Declutter your Playroom guide. It literally walks you through step-by-step, little-by-little with lots of encouragement from a fellow mama (me!) along the way. It's free, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Click on the image to get your free instant download.

Be kind to yourself. This is hard work. Hard work leads to great things. Your brain will be so grateful. And you will feel some much more joy in your home.

If you are feeling like you need more help and want someone to just get you to a place of easy maintenance, I would be honored to help you create a functional and joy-filled play space in your home. One where your whole family can thrive. Click below to learn more and get started!

Reach out to me anytime for support at I'm here and rooting for you!

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