Have you ever said to your self my kid(s) have too many toys?
What is the biggest struggle most parents have with toys?
Keeping them organize!
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I know it was a struggle for me as a mom. With my oldest daughter, I needed a way to keep her toys confined to her bedroom of our condo. Now having 3 kids and a single-family home, I need to keep toys organized and to a minimum.
In our home, we built a play area for our kids in our basement. Living in the Midwest winters can be brutal so we spend more time indoors.
I learned though how to manage to keep the toy area neat and organized. Utilizing a defined space, I discovered that less is more with toys.
Especially since children lose interest in toys so frequently. It is better to create a playroom that is utilized with toys that are being used.
I also want my kids to appreciate what they have and not to grow up thinking more is better.
Are you looking for ways to gain control of the clutter of toys? Keep reading.
Tips to create a multifunctional play area
Creating a play area in your home is going to be your first step. Depending on the size of your home/apartment etc. You will want to create a designated play area or a shared multifunctional play area.
Since the remodel of our basement I now have a toy closet. This is wonderful! But if your home doesn’t have this what do you do? With multiple kids and toys the stuff needs to go somewhere, right?
- Turn unused space into play areas. You are going to want an area in your home that allow kids to explore freely on their own. It’s a given in anyone’s home that we have unused areas. For example, the main walls can turn into cork boards, chalkboards, bookshelves and cubicle organizers. Remember that unused vertical space is your best friend.
- Find smart ways to increase living space. Think of creative ways to get extra square footage without drastically changing the footprint of your home. Closets, dens, basements, behind the couch, under the stairs, corners, bonus rooms, enclosed porch areas are all great examples. The goal is to redefine and carve out space.
- Buy multi-purpose furniture. When decorating your home or buying furniture using things like ottomans, storage cube organizers, coffee tables with under storage, under the bed storage or drawers are great options. They allow you to store things out of sight in a neat way. While not compromising your decor. Avoid large toy bins and opt for smaller ones to help maintain being organized and to help with toy rotation. (I will explain toy rotation more below)
Get inspiration for creating your play area by visiting stores like the Container Store and Ikea. Pinterest is always great for ideas and creating a visual idea board.
Another approach to keeping toys organized is by creating an inspired playroom using a Montessori style.
Morgan from Momuprising.com explains how to create your own DIY Montessori playroom. I love the idea of preset trays. Fancy toys that light up don’t foster true creative play. She uses creative learning while having fun at the same time with toys that light up a child’s imagination. You have to check this post out on how to create your own.
Use easy toy storage solutions
One of my favorite organizing solutions to organize kids’ toys is these canvas media pouches. I came across them at our local library. They are great for well-loved toys, games, and books. They come in different colors and sizes. They are durable and last for years!
Annette from Coffeechaosdryshampoo.com understands that toy organization is one of the most daunting tasks for parents. She shares 7 easy ways to keep toys sorted. Her puzzle organization idea to use clear plastic envelope poly’s is genius! This keeps puzzles sorted, helps your child learn to play with one at a time and an easy visual system to stay organized.
Brooke over at Sassysmartandsimple.com understands the power of cubical storage and square storage solutions. If you are a mom trying to keep toys out of the way and keep your house looking put together. Don’t underestimate the power of cubes.
Ashley from Forgetfulmomma.com knows all too well the little voice inside our head that says “toys will not take over my home.” She shares ideas on how to use storage ottomans that blend with your decor.
I am a mom who loves cubical storage as well. I have them in my living room, mudroom, playroom, and closets.
Some additional toy storage solutions are bins with lids, storage bench, and clear containers.
Clear containers are a staple in my house when it comes to storage solutions for small kid toys. I use them for crayons, magnets, craft supplies, flashcards, finger paints. The list goes on and on.
My favorite are the plastic stackable bins that can be reused and labeled.
The art of toy rotation & keeping holiday toys separate
Tell me if this has ever happened to you? You walk through the house in your bare feet step on the smallest toy in the world and hold your mouth closed because you want to yell.
If you want to avoid the living room floor chaos of toys spread out like a tornado hit your house then you must learn the art of toy rotation.
What is the art of toy rotation?
Haven spoke to many moms in my life during play dates. Many share the common frustration of toys and throwing their hands in the air.
The magic trick to keeping toys from overtaking your house daily is not to allow kids to have too many at one time.
Remember above when I said I wanted my kids to appreciate what they have and not to grow up thinking more is better.
Here are the benefits of using toy rotation:
- Increased play time & creativity – when children have fewer toys you will find that their creative play will increase. Children can get overwhelmed with too many toys. Decreasing the amount of toys helps foster more playtime.
- Less mess & less stress – When you use the toy rotation system you are in control of how many toys and what toys. Which means clean up time will decrease. The frustration you consistently feel will decline tremendously.
- Better sharing & caring – If there is one thing I noticed having used this toy rotation system. Kids will share more and take care of their toys.
I learned about toy rotation back when my ADHD daughter was young around 2012. You see ADHD children are naturally very disorganized. Not to mention the short attention spans and forgetfulness.
Our psychologist explained how clearing out toys and keeping them under wraps would be more beneficial to our daughter. He explained how it caused her to stress out when we asked her to clean up. It was a tension point for us and stressful to her. But her struggle mentally was that she was unable to figure out how to begin to organize.
The growing frustration of toys all around the house is common for many parents though.
Kelly from happyyouhappyfamily.com has this phenomenal post and ultimate guide on creating your own toy rotation. Her guide is thorough and so easy to follow.
Keep Holiday toys separate
Amy over at Thepostpartumparty.com understands what it means to come up with a system for toy organization. My favorite idea that she uses is to keep holiday-themed toys separate. What a great idea to enforce the learning aspect of a holiday through the use of your child’s toys.
A Simple way to declutter kids toys
About 80 % of the toys my kids have usually have been gifts from others. Typically those gifts are from Christmas or their birthday. So about twice a year we get an influx of new toys.
Kids can get so excited about new toys
I have found the 6-month decluttering schedule helpful. Every 6 months we go through their items to evaluate what gets kept and what goes.
I find it to be the easiest to implement during Christmas and Birthday’s. It creates a natural timeline that can be stuck too. It’s also a perfect time to approach the kids about old toys since they are excited about the new ones.
You can find what timeline works best for you.
Going through toys every 6 months helps reduce the amount of toy clutter and time I spend cleaning the toy room.
I typically pick June and December as my decluttering months. In June I can go through many of the outdoor toys and December allows me to purge before Christmas hits.
Kale over at Steakandkale.com experienced this as a mom herself. The constant reminder of telling her child to pick up her toys and the mess. She realized though that in reality, the toy clutter needed her attention as a parent.
Sometimes as parents we can forget that children are still developing and need our guidance. As a mom, she realized her daughter was needing her help to get rid of stuff. After declutter together they created a delightful play area. Lastly, her daughter learned the gift of giving and she embraced the minimalist approach to her toys.
How I organize the cluttered toys
With 3 kids toys can add up quickly. Each child has their own toys on top of the combine toys.
I also find it super easy to look at the Ziploc bags the kids have and can just quickly remove the bag when I know it’s an item the kids no longer play with. None of this empty the entire toy box and spend hours on the floor trying to figure what goes to what in order to donate and maybe try to sell at a resale.
The trick is though to teach the kids where things go. They learn the practice of putting things away in their place. In this case the bag/bin it goes in. Think Marie Kondo style, everything must have a home.
Why you should keep toys to a minimum.
It’s important to remember that not all toys are created equal. The purpose of toys is not just pure entertainment. Children can get overwhelmed by too many toys. Especially toys that don’t foster creativity and force them to use their imagination.
Having TONS OF TOYS DOES NOT MAKE HAPPY HEALTHY KIDS
Intentional parenting can help you understand more that practicing a minimalist approach will actually benefit your child in the long run.
Since toys are meant to stimulate their imagination and help them develop healthy connections to real-world learning.
This is something my husband and I talk about often. We actively look for signs that our kids’ imagination is being stimulated by what they are playing with. It is a clear sign of healthy development.
To dig a little deeper into this concept of fewer toys is more, read this post written by Joshua Becker. He gives a bit more insight into the benefits of living this daily with your children.
Toy sharing/Renting toys
Yes, you read that right! Renting toys is a concept I recently came across in 2018.
So what do I mean by renting toys?
It’s more common now and days to have a subscription to some type of service clothing, music, movies, etc. So naturally toy rental would be an option.
Basically you pay a monthly/annual subscription to swap toys for a duration. It has many benefits if you can afford the monthly cost.
Here are a few of the benefits:
- Kids love the opportunity to play with new toys.
- You get to borrow toys you would have not normally purchased.
- Some subscriptions offer you the opportunity to purchase the toy.
- It’s more Eco-friendly reducing the amount of stuff that gets thrown out.
- You no longer need toy storage.
- Less clutter in your home.
- Last but not least children will enjoy getting regular boxes in the mail.
Below are a few Toy-sharing subscriptions that you may want to consider.
Let’s get your house organized too!!
Implementing these rules in my home have worked wonders for me. The kids have a clean dedicated play area. They, nor I have the craziness of clutter and mess. Clean up is a breeze when it is time to pick up.
The simplified 6-month rule and toy swap help reduce the amount of time I am spending maintaining the home which is awesome. As the kids continue to grow we can teach more value in less is more.
I also want the kids to develop a love for giving to others. We can do this when they get a new toy, they learn to donate the old toy to others.
How do you manage your toy clutter? Do you have a favorite bin or storage item? I love new ideas.