The holiday season is almost upon us. Having a home that is welcoming, clutter free, and comfortable can be quite a challenge when you have young children because of all the toys, dolls and playthings scattered around the house. So today I wanted to focus on how to get a handle on all your toys before guests start to arrive and with them, even more toys.
There is so much to choose from organizationally, but the most common mistake parents make buying storage solutions, is purchasing before they know what exactly they will be storing, how much of it there is, and the actual size of the space you are working with.
- Group all “types” of toys together and collections of each type of toy (i.e. toy cars, hot wheels, trucks).
- Purge (pass on, donate, recycle) anything that they have outgrown or is broken. Focus on keeping their favorites. Knowing their favorites is very helpful as you can let friends and family know which toys would be the biggest hit, and reduce the chances of getting miscellaneous playthings that you don’t really have the space or storage capacity for.
- Set a limit on quantities in collections and the number of collections they have (having a Barbie collection, but not an American Girl and Monster High collections too). Your child might like Hot Wheels but that does not mean they have to collect every one of them. “More” is not better – it’s just more. Setting a rule around this will mean that the storage solution you choose will not overflow and “spread”.
- Take an inventory of what is left. By having everything separated and categorized you will know the type of organizing solutions to install, size of containers you need, and where to best put things.
- Freestanding cubby systems are great because they are so flexible in how they can be used, where they can be put, come in many sizes and colours, and are reasonably priced. But don’t forget over-the-door storage pockets and racks, window seat storage, under the bed storage bins, toy chests, and storage ottomans for “invisibly” storing things.
- If you don’t have the space for a playroom then create a toy storage zone in one part of a room that is exclusively for storing their toys. Children need to know where and how their toys are kept and that each type of toy is put back in the same place each time.
- Rotate their toys. Store half of them away (in clear storage bins and labeled!) and every six months change the selection. They will thrilled and excited to play with them again. This helps keeps the population of toys under control. It’s a win win.
- Have at least one storage solution that is accessible and maintainable by your child with their favorite plaything in it. If you daughter loves playing with and dressing her dolls then have a storage solution that can store the dolls, the clothes, and accessories separately, but in one place. She needs to be able to access it herself, organize it herself, and be able to put it away safely too.
- Big toys, trucks etc. Make a rule that during the summer they can be out (because they can also play outdoors with them) but in the wintertime large toys are put away as part of the toy rotation system.
- Store books higher up. Toddlers love books but they don’t always understand that they are for looking at and reading ☺ and left to their own devices will quite happily tear, draw over, or stick things on the pages.