You are probably living with toys all over your house: in the family room, on the kitchen floor, in every bedroom. When you’re on top of it and you get the entire house picked up, BOOM! Everything manages to come back out before you can make yourself a cup of tea (or pour a glass of wine) to celebrate. Every birthday and holiday brings more and more gifts and toys into your house with no hope of ever keeping up.
Imagine this instead: the kids are in their playroom, taking out blocks from their designated container, building towers together for 20 minutes by themselves before cleaning them up and putting everything back on the shelf.
Short of getting rid of most of the toys when the kids aren’t looking (which certainly has some advantages!), you’ve got to come up with a plan to deal with the incredible amount of stuff that kids have.
My two part technique is to do toy rotations for babies and toddlers and organizing toys by type for older kids. Toys are easier to locate when kids want to play and easier to pick up when they’re done. When they have less choice and less stress, everyone is happier.
For younger kids, especially the immobile ones, I recommend a toy rotation. You put one type of toy in each box (one touch and feel book, one board book, one car, one rattle, one teether, one stuffed animal). You rotate through 4-5 boxes, swapping the bin out for a new one every day, week, or whenever you remember.
As your kid gets older, you can switch what’s in the bins so they can make new combinations of toys: balls in the stacking cups, then next week, stuffed animals on top of the stacking cups.
While you can try the toy rotation if you have older kids, but they tend to notice (and comment!) if something specific is gone. I recommend keeping their absolute favorites always out and then separating other toys by category.
To do this, take out all the toys and separate them into groups that your kids understand. Maybe you’ll do balls in one, cars in another, art supplies in a third, and dress up in a fourth. The kids can pick and choose which specific bin they want to play with at the moment.
The key to both toy rotation and toy compartmentalization is that they must pick up each bin before getting out a new one! If your kids are struggling with the idea, read about toy time-outs and how you can make kids more accountable.
If you need help personalizing your toy clutter solutions, contact me today!