And if you need to hang outside with your kids in the sunshine, that is FAR more important than blogging! ;)
Photo by Mike Baird
Toys, toys, and more toys.
Can you imagine there was ever a time you weren't surrounded by them?
Now we discover toys in every nook and cranny, and must find a strategy to deal with them so they don't overwhelm us.
Here are the four principles we use in our home to manage toy clutter.
1. Group like with like.
Each of these ideas are really common sense, but sometimes it helps to see tips written out in black and white.
We keep trucks in one spot, art supplies in another, Legos in the basement, favorite books on the downstairs shelves, and not-so-favorites on the upstairs shelves.
Be sure that the spots you choose make sense to your kids--otherwise toys will not find their way back to the right location.
2. Consider what life season you're in.
You might wish you could have bare surfaces and a minimalist's style, but if you have a newborn that just ain't gonna happen.
If there are baby toys or practical items that you use on a regular basis it just makes sense to store them where they're easily accessible.
Once upon a time my two baby boys had "playpen time" each day for 20-30 minutes. This meant that I always had two playpens out in our living room. It wasn't my preference aesthetically, but it was practical.
Don't wish those times away just so you can have a more streamlined look at home. I'd give anything to see those babies busy in their playpens one last time.
3. Rotate and store toys away.
If you have a basement, closet, or other accessible storage area, put some toys away.
This, of all my suggestions, has been "the secret to my toy organization success." We have very few toys out at all times, especially in our living areas.
But if you open my basement door, it's like a toy lover's paradise!
Storing toys away makes your house look tidier. It also means that your kids get a rush when you bring up a treasured plaything they haven't seen for a while.
And it means that you won't leave the room for one minute only to come back and discover your preschooler covered in playdough from head to foot!
4. Consider the one in/one out rule.
We're not legalists about this one but occasionally when one of my children get a new toy, I'll ask them to choose an old one to pass on to someone else.
The first time I tried this I expected to hear pleas of "not fair" and "no way." Imagine my surprise, then, when I was having to try to convince Elijah to keep a favorite toy instead of donating it!
Now I usually choose two of their least favorite or older toys and have them pick one to donate. This is a good rule for mamas and everyone in the family, not just your little people.
Our homes will be full of toys for many, many years to come. If we get our kids on board with these strategies while they are young, we have a better chance of taming the clutter monster as they get older.
So take a little time now to come up with some organizational ideas that work for you and your children.
**How do you organize toys in your home?**
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Jamie is founder of this little spot called Steady Mom, editor of the blog Simple Homeschool, mama to three cute kids born on three different continents, and author of Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood.
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