With Christmas just over 6 weeks away, are you stressing about having even more toys to store and organize? I am! Thankfully we had a big clear out this year when we turned the toy room into a martial arts room.

Toy Room Before

Toy Room After

I had hoped to gather all the toys into their respective sets from the toy graveyard that I was presented with, but after 5 minutes of trying where I managed to sort 1 square inch, I gave up and shovelled the thousands of pieces into the trash bag.

I picked out the toys that were still in one piece and sorted them into ‘still played with’ and ‘to donate’ piles. The trouble is the ‘keep’ boxes have just been moved to my son’s bedroom rather than actually organized in there. They have been playing on my mind every since and with Christmas fast approaching I know I need to get round to that task.

 

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Reading about toy clutter at Get Organized Already, gave me another nudge in the right direction and reminded me to come up with a system that:

“encourages your kids to succeed at keeping their room organized so they can find what they want to play with.”

Here’s the toy organization ideas Get Organized Already suggest along with my thoughts:

Step 1: Reduce your toy stock

If your kids have too many toys, you need to thin them out. Declutter by putting some toys into a rotation system, give them away to charity or throw them away if they’re sub-par. Involving your kids in this process is a double-edged sword. It can be a good lesson in charitable giving to those less fortunate but more often than not “they are going to get re-attached to everything they see.” As such you should declutter when the kids are at school or after a birthday or holiday when they are into their new stuff.

My 2 cents: I did a mammoth declutter when we cleared out the toy room but that was a few months ago and as my son has hardly moved the stacked boxes on his bedroom floor, he’s obviously not missing anything too much so there should be more to get rid of. I don’t think I’ll be waiting until after Christmas though as I want some storage space ready and waiting for the new influx.

Another way to help avoid toy clutter comes from Carfree With Kids. Angela suggests limiting the number of toys that get bought. Consider activity gifts, like bowling, or outdoor toys instead of more indoor toys if you’re already sinking under them. Also avoid junk toys that you know will be a 5 minute wonder. A “who cares, they’re cheap” attitude is just exacerbating our disposable goods culture and does not teach kids to take care of things. Buy them good quality toys and ensure they look after them.

Step 2: Corral similar toys into various containers

Whereas in our own organizing we like to split down our groups of items into quite small categories (say, hair care, nail care, makeup etc in the bathroom), for kids rooms it is best to keep to fewer categories (say, Duplos, tea sets, dress up outfits rather than sorting everything by color or type within your broad categories).

Store toys in labelled containers that do not have lids. This makes the whole process as easy as possible for your little ones and their friends who come over for play-dates. They have: “short attention spans and reckless disregard for how much those toys cost in the first place!” So make it easy.

My 2 cents: I hate open toy boxes – the dust, the dust – aaagh. I appreciate that the toys are more accessible when stored in boxes without lids and it also makes for an easier clean up but I can’t stand the grub that collects at the bottom after a few months and the dust that covers the less frequently played with toys. My toy boxes will definitely have lids. I loved the idea of labelling the boxes in 2 languages though. This would have been great 5 years ago when we moved to Spain. Luckily now Ben is completely bi-lingual. Maybe I should label stuff in French and German though …

Step 3: Schedule toy tidying into your daily routine

Pick a time of day when toys will be cleared away – before dinner, after dinner, something like that. Make sure this happens every day just like eating or bathing. Praise them for a tidy bedroom but make sure that tidying is seen as a ‘regular’ event rather than a big deal that deserves a reward.

You should also try to make a routine out of decluttering. Whilst this won’t be a daily event, it should happen more than once a year!

My 2 cents: Fitting organizing into the hectic rollercoaster of daily life is my number 1 goal so I love this part. We actually tidy away before dinner as we have one family room where we do everything – cook, work, eat and relax – but we need to work on taking toys and books back upstairs at that time too. If you are new to this type of routine, be vigilant for the first few weeks, so your kids get into the habit of it. No excuses now!

Do you have any great toy clutter tips to share?

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