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This week’s organizing focus is TOYS. If you haven’t grabbed April’s FREE cleaning and organizing calendar yet, head on over to this post for a little more explanation. If the toys focus doesn’t apply to you, take the week off of find another area to organize. If your kids happen to be on spring break this week, have them help you. That’s what we’re doing!
Let me preface this by saying that I love the messes that my kids make – it means that they are having fun, using their imaginations, and being KIDS! I have three little ones – there are toys for boys, toys for girls, toys for school-aged kids and toys for toddlers. This post isn’t about how many toys you have or don’t have, this post is about how to keep from having toys strewn from one corner of the house to the other. Figuring out a system that encourages play and discourages the frustration of so many toys being out that it’s hard to know where to start cleaning up (for kids and adults). That said, there are 3 simple steps that you (and your kids) can take to organize all the toys in your house. The key is finding systems that encourage your kids to put away their own toys and knowing where to find their toys.
Step One: DE-CLUTTER. Get rid of toys that are broken, not used and loved, or outgrown. Donate the toys and/or give them to neighbors and friends. If toys are broken or missing pieces, toss them. Move quickly and don’t think twice about the toys. If you have toys that can be saved for younger siblings, pack them up and put them away in storage.
Step Two: GROUP LIKE ITEMS. If you’re going to keep it, group it with like items. Toys can be put in a basket or bin or a lidded container. Store toys in playrooms, bedrooms, and/or closets. If you don’t have room for said toys, get rid of them or figure out a new system. The best thing about grouping items together? Start enforcing a ‘one or two things out at a time rule’. When your little ones are done with that one thing, all the legos or blocks, or ponies go back in the bin and put away and then a new plaything can come out to play.
Step Three: START DOING A 5-10 MINUTE CLEAN UP (everyday). In my opinion, this step is the key to keeping things orderly – set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and do a quick clean up of the house. We do this before dinner and it really helps to keep the clutter down to a minimum.
Organizing toys is tricky – there’s a fine line between enough toys to play with and be interested in and too many toys that multiply and take over the house. This week make it your goal to weed out anything that isn’t played with and loved. Have any tricks that work at your house? Share them in the comments!
I did a mini-series that I’m including this post in – Let’s Clean House – Cleaning With Kids. Go here to see the other posts in this series.