September 28, 2011

Ten Tips for De-cluttering and Organizing Toys

Toys are a little bit like rabbits. They seem to multiply in dark corners and they make a tremendous mess. Ok, but seriously, keeping the rooms in our hose clutter free can be a bit of a challenge. My son's toys seem to creep up in every room of the house. I've even found them in my shower and under my bed. So how do we keep this toy tide under control? Here are my top ten recommendations for de-cluttering and organizing toys in your own home.

  1. Buy some baskets or buckets to help keep your kids stuff contained. 
  2. Clean out the toybox. If you child hasn't played with the item in the last two weeks consider rotating it out. Chances are they won't even notice that it's gone (that is, if they don't see you removing it, if you are caught in the act, they will claim that that toy is their most prized possession).
  3. Make your organization age appropriate. For younger kids consider placing a picture of what needs to go in the bin on the outside of the container. Even toddlers can understand this basic concept. Cars go in the container with the car picture on them, blocks, books, etc.
  4. Think outside the box. I turned an old entertainment stand into a toy center in my sons room. All of his toys are now contained in an organized space. It helps his room seem cleaner and it eliminates the cluttered feeling.
  5. Re-purpose items. I saw a mom who used those magnetic kitchen strips used for knifes to store her sons hot wheels. The magnetic strip held the cars in place and kept the organized and off the floor.
  6. Encourage your child to go through their toys themselves. Make a family trip to a shelter or donation center and explain how the toys that we're tired of can really be special to someone who doesn't have any toys. It can be a good learning experience for all involved, and can help keep the greedies under control.
  7. For every new toy that comes in, one needs to be rotated out. This helps keep the room being overwhelmed with toys. Before you bring the new item in, encourage your child to select one toy to remove. It may be an item that they've outgrown, or one that is broken. Placing a toy limit helps keep things from getting out of control.
  8. Consider selling some gently used items on e-bay or in a garage sale. Sometimes if kids can "earn" the money from the sale it can encourage them to part with the item.
  9. Don't contribute to the problem. If you child doesn't need any more toys, don't buy them. Kids don't want us to buy their affection, they want us to spend time with them. In the long run, they won't remember every toy they owned, but they will remember quality time spent with a parent.
  10. Create boundaries. It's ok to have a "no toy" space. For example, we keep toys out of the guest bedroom, so that it's clean and tidy for company when they come over. 
There are several practical steps that you can take to help keep clutter under control. No one likes stepping on toys in the middle of the night. With a little bit of practice, you too can help you child keep the toys from overwhelming the space.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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