TOY ORGANIZING: LIVING IN THE PRESENT

October 07, 2013

One of the biggest issues I find when working with moms is "how can I get the toys under control?"  It always starts out slow then slowly creeps into every corner, nook and cranny of your home.  And then when you add to the kids, you add to the toy clutter.  So in the second installment of my toy organization series, I am going to address tips on living with toys.

You have to first decide where you are going to keep toys in your home.  Are you going to confine them to one "toy room" or have a few scattered around the home in bedrooms, the family room, etc.  There is no right or wrong answer with where to store toys in your home, the important thing is to decide where the specific space or "home" for the toys will be.


KUSINER Mesh basket with lid IKEA
Kusiner Mesh Basket, $4.99  from IKEA
Once you decide where to keep your toys, you have to evaluate how much your storage area can adequately hold.  If the space is a blank canvas (such as an empty wall or corner of a room), consider adding shelving or bookshelves to take advantage of the vertical space.  Group like toys together (Legos with Legos, stuffed animals with stuffed animals, etc) to determine what size storage container you might need and how many containers or toys can fit in the allotted space.  Be sure to leave a little space to grow since you know there will be toys added eventually.

Which brings us to the age old problem (or just the 21st century American problem) of having more things than space to store them.  Your next step may be to pare down toys that are no longer played with or age appropriate (see Toy Organizing:  Assessing the Past for tips).  You may also want to consider rotating your children's toys to keep things fresh and within the confines of the desired toy storage area.  Simply divide out some of the toys into a large plastic storage bin or garage bag and store them in either the garage, basement or attic.  When kids begin to complain that they are bored with their toys or want something new to play with, exchange out the current stock with the toys from storage.

The final step to dealing with toy storage is controlling what comes in.  If you spend time and money organizing what you have now but double the amount you have when the holidays or a birthday rolls around, you're back to square one.  Consider asking for or giving non-material gifts such as lessons, memberships to museums or zoos, season passes to amusement parks and tickets to concerts or shows.  For more on this idea, here is a great article from Psychology Today discussing "Why Experiences are Often Better Purchases Than Things."

If you have any thoughts, ideas or tips on organizing toys and controlling toy clutter, feel free to share them below!

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