Monday, August 20, 2012

Keeping Toys (semi) Organized!

I love the abundance of toys my daughter has, and I personally feel lucky that she can enjoy so many play things.  Knowing that not every child is as fortunate assists in my appreciation for her games, dolls, puzzles, books, blocks, and all the other toys she collects.  Rather than wish my house was bigger, or her playthings would evaporate, I do my best to keep them organized.  I do believe that some amount of toy clutter stimulates and develops a child's imagination, so I do not go overboard.  I like to think of my home as "pleasantly plump!"  I am not embarrassed to have unexpected guests, however, there is a cozy and lived in feeling when you come in to my house.

First, I completely accept  that having little ones means that there will be toys in just about every room.  I keep 1-2 pretty baskets or bins in the master bedroom, a toy chest and a bin in my daughters room, some shelves in the living room, and an empty drawer in the kitchen.  My daughter also has a playroom where most of her toys are kept.

Next, my husband and I decided on a few house rules concerning which toys are kept in which places.  For example, in my daughters's room we keep stuffed animals and some of her books, since her room should be associated with sleeping.  In addition, we decided to only have the amount of toys that fit on the shelves in the living room.  We do not want two playrooms in our house!

The playroom is probably the most challenging to keep organized, but my system seems to be working well for clean up time.  Besides the large floor toys which are always out, I have a toy organizer and four bins.  Each bin has a "general" theme.  Next to my daughter's play kitchen, I have one bin to store all of her kitchen/home accessories.  One bin contains arts and crafts, like crayons, construction paper, sticker, and stamps.The other two bins are larger toys like trucks, shape sorters,and instruments.  My little one's toy organizer is on the small side, so I use those small bins for the little knickknacks she collects that would otherwise have no home :)

I should also mention that all of my bins, except for arts and crafts, do not have lids.  This makes it easier for everyone to take out toys, or put them away.  Furthermore, at the end of every day, my husband and I spend about ten minutes clearing the floors of each room, and putting my daughter's playthings in a bin.

With general rules for where toys are kept, and having containers in many locations,  cleaning up is a breeze.  In fact, my toddler understands where some things go, and can help put things away as well.  Rather than keeping everything in one area, spread it out, and keep storage simple!

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