I was sitting down with a couple of young, got-it-together moms, brainstorming areas of the house that they needed help with getting organized. When one of them said “Toys” they looked at each other and said “YES!”
Oh I remember the days of stepping on Barbie’s shoes and seeing my living room covered in car tracks. The toys seemed to take a life of their own and movie around at night after I’d cleaned them up. The movie “Toy Story” seemed more like a documentary to me than a cartoon.
If you don’t have kids, or your kids toys are things like iPads, then choose an area of your own “toys” to start working on. Maybe it’s a hobby, a craft area, the “sports area” of your garage, or a collection of some sort – the principles are the same.
When it comes to toys (or almost any other area of your home,) the most important thing to do is figure out what you are keeping, what you are giving away, and what you are recycling/throwing away.
- The first thing to do is to get all the toys into one area. (If you have more than one major area for toys, say your daughter’s room and your son’s room, or a play room and a child’s room, work on one area at a time.) Get stray toys and toy parts into the toy area.
- I highly suggest my Three Boxes, Two Bag Method in quick cleaning any area.
- As you are sorting through toys, realize that the reason they are often so hard to organize if there are probably plenty of things that your kids no longer use floating around in there. The less you have to manage, the easier keeping organized will be.
- When you are done with this process, you will have a bag of things to recycle, a bag of trash (how did garbage get into the kids toy box? It’s always a mystery…) a box of things to donate, and a box of things to put back into other rooms of the house. (Like stray shoes, socks, the dog’s collar, etc.)
- Now that you’re starting with a clean (or cleaner) area, it’s time to take a good hard look at what kind of toys your kids have, and how to organize them. Your daughter who keeps a vet office worth of stuffed animals has different needs than your so who collects Matchbox Cars. Here are some ideas from some smart and toy-savvy moms.
Creating a Toy Library
“Turn a closet into a “toy closet” All toys are stored in organized, labeled containers and kids can only play with one bin of toys at a time. They have to turn in one bin before they can play with another!” Alexia Staelens
“A toy hammock is a great idea, the kids can just toss stuffed animals up there and off the floor.” Robin Neil
A Million Little Pieces
“I think I should write a book called 101 uses for an over the door shoe organizer. They work here too, especially for a girls room! Think Barbies, Barbie clothes, Polly Pockets, etc. Avoid toy boxes or anything deep that is the chasm of hopelessness! Toys go in but they don’t come out! (well at least until you have thrown away every other part to the toy, THEN it shows up!)” Robin Neil
“I’m a Lego organizer freak these days. Directions, pieces all in a see through container with a photo label on the box. Yes, they are kept up so a parent has access to hand out. Bins for easy clean up and a designate area for play. I have let go of “perfect” separation of toys, as long as the boys are happy and can find their stuff, I’m happy.” Stephanie Helder
Less is More
“Rotate toys—less toys equals more attention focused on what they do have. Have the children pick 3 or 4 “favorites” at a birthday or Christmas and put the rest out of sight. When their interest starts to fade with, say, the tea set Aunt June got them, you put it in the closet and pull out the box of dress up that Grandma sent. We go through every 3 months or so and switch out toys (right now its dress up, art tower, 4 board games & Lego’s). Christy Taylor
“Spring Cleaning” happens every season at our house. After birthdays and Christmas, we also have a “Donation Station” where my kids can search through their piles of toys and other things that have accumulated and give them to the Salvation Army or other charity. We throw them in a huge bag and donate away.” Jenny Sulpizio
“Each birthday and Christmas the boys have to ‘give to others who have less than they do.’ For every new toy that comes in, one goes out. It’s a lesson on giving and curbs the over-abundance of ‘stuff.’” Stephanie Helder
Oh – and to keep track of all those Birthdays and other special celebrations, for members of my Facebook Page you can download a year of beautiful calendars to track. I use these in conjunction with my stockpile of birthday and anniversary cards to stay on top of sending a little love. (Plus I keep a stack of Starbucks cards – just in case.) Go over and download it now!
Tell me your best toy organization trick in the comments below.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.