Having an almost 2 year old and another on the way your home can quickly become overrun by toys and clutter. Our house is on the smaller side meaning our playroom is also our living room and the playroom upstairs is my sons bedroom. If you come into my house you may think it has been over taken by toys but I assure you in 5 minutes I can clean it up and everything has its place. Here are my 10 tips for organizing and de-cluttering your child's toys.
First - My first tip is making sure you have storage. A toy box is a must and I love having a book shelf which is open and easy for my son to have access too. We not only use the book shelf for books but toys and puzzles as well. Another good storage option is the bin or cube storage systems which run about $50.
Second - Get the children involved! Kids love helping especially at a young age so show them how to pick up their toys and put them away. Turn it into a fun activity or game by asking "Where does this go?" and give praise to your child when they do it properly. You will be surprised at how many toys end up where they belong. My little guy loves to show me when he puts something away.
Third - Make sure to keep out toys that are age appropriate. Is your child a 18 months and you still have rattles sitting out? Then it may be time to go through and de-clutter. Put the baby toys away and keep toys that are geared towards your child's age group to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Fourth - A good time to do de-cluttering and organizing is right before a birthday or Christmas. You will most likely be getting lots of new toys as gifts so in order to not feel overwhelmed I strongly advise getting rid of some toys just before. This way you will have room for all the new toys and be able to transition easily. Your child is not going to want to wait to open the new toys and those are the ones they are going to want to play with anyway.
Fifth - Less is more! I think that children can play better when they have less toys. If a child doesn't have room to play then it is frustrating and will become messy before it becomes productive. It also makes the child feel more at ease and less overwhelmed if they don't feel overtaken by a mountain of toys.
Sixth - Shelving. Shelving is a great way to add more room and de-clutter any space. I like to put "special" toys on higher shelving so that way when I bring them down they receive more attention and are played with longer and more attentively.
Seventh - Make it a fun learning experience. So your child doesn't have a tantrum when he sees that his toys are disappearing make sure he is involved. Have him help put them in the bag and find a local charity, shelter, church, or daycare that needs donations. Tell them that they are helping other children that don't have toys and that it is good to share. Keeping them involved in the entire process makes them feel better.
Eighth - Labeling. If you child is learning to read or can read, labels are a good way to help with that well keeping toys tidy at the same time. You can label shelves, bins, or even make a list for the toy box of what toys belong in there. Or use pictures of what belongs where to help your child know where to put toys back. You can even turn this into a fun art project coloring and designing the labels with your child.
Ninth - Have too many toys and want to keep them all? Rotate! I like to rotate the toys in our house. It not only keeps my son from getting bored with toys but helps with the clutter. We rotate between toys that are upstairs and downstairs and if he brings a toy either down or up we then pick another toy to rotate back the other way.
Tenth - Relax! You have kids, there is going to be clutter, I can guarantee it. Your house is going to be messy from the toys at some point in time so just remember that everything does not have to be perfect and kids make messes. I would much rather have a mess from them playing with their toys then sitting with their hands folded all day (which we know would never happen)
Hopefully this helps and maybe you don't need all ten tips but if you can take at least one idea and apply it then yay! It can be hard going from a perfectly organized home to one that is full of toys. Especially if you have grandparents and friends that love to spoil.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and HotWheels blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.