If you’re like many of my clients, your toy area is a disaster area. Not only are there too many of them, but they are everywhere. All the time. You put them away and, within an hour, they are all out (again!), haphazardly strewn about your living room floor. You assume your children are conspiring against you; they couldn’t possibly be this messy unintentionally, right? And, either way, you’re desperate for some tips for organizing toys.
You think to yourself, “Do I have the time or energy to clean all this up yet again?” No - you do not. There are many, many other things you need and want to do. So, you ignore them. All day, and the next day, and the next, and, soon, every floor in your house is covered in Legos, dolls, puzzles, crayons, and robots. You thought surely as the kids got older this toy burden would lessen. Yet, somehow, it hasn’t.
Something’s gotta give. You’ve got to get rid of some of these toys. There’s a cute children’s book about this called Spencer has Too Many Toys. In the end, Spencer donates a box full of toys. While that’s a great start, one box of toys banished from the house is not going to solve this mess. You have to be ruthless about purging them. So, how do you choose what should stay and what should go? I’ve got you, friend. Here are my...
I go into tons and tons of details about how to organize toys in my G+G Membership site. But, these six tips should get you started!
It can be hard to do this. You probably have many wonderful memories playing with a stuffed animal or encouraging your baby to crawl with a colorful toy keychain. I completely get it! I am sentimental about a lot of stuff too. But, if everything is precious, nothing is precious.
So much research has shown us that kids’ creativity, ability to focus and concentrate are improved significantly when there are fewer toys around. Spend some time seeing which toys they play within a creative way, for longer durations of time, and keep those. Toss the rest. Trust me - it’ll feel amazing.
But that still leaves….a lot. One of my friends came up with the brilliant idea of giving her kids’ toys expiration dates. This does not mean writing an actual expiration date on each toy. (I mean you COULD but…) But, if you’re like me, you have a sense of when each toy blazed its trail into your once carpeted toy coliseum. So, pick a day before each major toy-expectant holiday (like, TODAY) and donate all the toys that have been there for, say, over a year. After that year, that toy’s expiration date has been reached, the toy has served its purpose for your children, and now needs to live out its toyhood destiny by bringing joy to others.
Of course, there will be exceptions to the expiration date idea. There are a handful of special toys that remain a constant throughout the years, and those could certainly stay. But the rest should move on, even if they are in perfect working condition. The reality is that kids appreciate the new toys they receive more when they have fewer choices.
Should you involve your kids in this process? I think you should, but it’s ultimately up to you. I involved my son in the reorg of his closet and it went incredibly well. Read more about it here in my entry called How to organize a kid’s closet with a few simple tricks.
My kids know that this is the natural rhythm of toys in our house, so I do usually seek their input (thereby avoiding some future meltdowns). There might be tears, but remind them that all these toys are going to live in a new home to make other children happy. That usually sweetens it for them. And, if not, just remind them of the next toy-receiving occasion. That always does the trick!
Phew, that’s a lot! But I know you can do it, friend!
I’m curious, what’s harder for you - the purging OR organizing of the toys? Let me know in the comments below!
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