Breaking the Toy Room Mayhem : Taking You Toward the Tidy, in these 5 doable steps.
Bonus Extra: Discipline Idea for the Tidy Toy Room Pickup Terror.
- 1) Prepare for Periodic Check-Up: From time to time we think we have a handle on the toy situation. Isn’t it just the thing, you’ve cleaned up the toy room, then you turn around and the toys have multiplied. I find this is especially true about a week after birthday’s. The toys have been played with and discovered and then left lying around. Your either stepping on toys, or can’t find pieces anywhere that your kids are asking for, or have no more room to store more toys, or you are trying to cram another book into the book self. Toys everywhere = It’s time to subtract some. Before we jump into subtracting, can you answer this question… What toys are your kids currently playing with now? Keep that answer in mind.
- 2) Propriety for a Day: Now that you have determined that the toys (and books) need to be dealt with. .. make it your priority. Enter it into your Google calendar as your ONE to-do-list of the day. Depending on how much sorting you have to do, maybe spread it out over two days, or even a week. Just don’t give up this priority of organizing the toys until it gets done. You can do this! … your feet will thank you (i.e. LEGO blocks when stepped on!!!)
- 3) Professional Look: Close your eyes for a minute and picture your ideal play room, or what your house would look like with a tidy toy room. Think professional look, think hotel lobby meets kids play room. It’s tidy, neat, everything has a spot, and anyone walking in will feel welcomed. Got that idea in your head. Now go for it. NOT PERFECTIONIST. You don’t literally need a play room that looks like a hotel lobby, (that’s not the point) It’s the image or end product look that your going for that you need in your mind. It’s easier to get rid of toys this way because you already know what look your going for. Anything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t have a home in your new and improved toy room look = has to go.
- 4) Put it Away: This is my favorite step, ORGANIZING!!!!!! I’ve recently organized my kids toys (…again…). Best part; they didn’t even notice!!! I grabbed two empty (diaper) boxes and set them onto a buffet that we have in our dining room. (there was some extra space there) Then making it a priority to go through my kids toys, I filled up the boxes. These are boxes that your are either going to donate somewhere, or if your not ready to part with them you are going to store these in your basement or closet (i.e. Some place FAR WAY where kids can’t reach or see)
- 5) Please Help : Lets get down to the practical: I’ve got my boxes out, I thought of the look I wanted or end result I wanted. I decided that I wanted all toys (except the big push toys) to have a HOME. I have 2 bookshelves that I use as our big toy shelf, and this IKEA toy organizer for the little toys (not the coking hazard tiny toys: i.e. Barbie shoes) These little toys in the IKEA storage are safe for my 2yr old to play with, and any other small child that comes over to play. And NO! All the little toys are NOT ORAGIZNED into each little box!!!! It’s just little toys, all tossed in. ( lets keep it simple!!!) The look I was going for was neat and tidy with everything off the floor and in it’s spot. I wanted empty spaces on our toy shelves, and books shelves. Easy place to start is anything broken. Be honest. Your NOT going to fix it; EVER! Throw it away. Broken books in recycling, broken toys in the garbage.Next I gathered up all the baby toys. My youngest is approaching 2yr old, so I know those baby stuffys are not doing it for him anymore. Baby toys go in the box, packed away. I could quickly go through the toy room and pick out some toys that I knew I hadn’t seen my kids playing with for a while. They went in the box too. Remember your answer to step #1…. What toys are your kids currently playing with now?Some toy stuff that needed to go into these boxes was from me. Chore charts that I thought were the best idea ever; but never got used by me or my kids. I’m not ready to part with them yet (thinking I still will use them one day and I remember how much I paid for them) so I put them in my storage box. These boxes sat on my buffet for about a week. Not because they weren’t a priority but because I knew I was missing little pieces, to that games they never play or the chore chart magnates that seemed to be everywhere under things. So I left the boxes out so while I regularly cleaned my house and found the rest of the pieces.There in my basement now. The kids CANNOT reach them. Some of the things inside are; wooden blocks, racing tracks, stuffys, baby toys, chore charts, extra stroller, etc.Bonus Extra: Discipline Idea for the Tidy Toy Room Pickup Terror.
You’ll notice I packed away our LEGO and building block. Those I wont get rid of. These toys are just in a “time out”. My kids are expected to clean up their toys but realistically it only happens half the time. So the other half of the time it either doesn’t get done or mommy does it. (You KNOW what I’m talking about!)
On these toy block occasion, I had asked the kids to clean up there toys. I had bribed them one day. Threatened them the next day. And still the building blocks and LEGOS where not getting picked up.
Looking back, when your ENTIRE living room floor is covered in building blocks this may seem like an impossible task for a child to clean up. So the next day or when I was finally tired of kicking building blocks out of my way. I picked them up myself.
Because the cleanup is too much for the kids and I’m NOT picking up an entire room of building blocks every night, down these bad boy go to the basement. Storage time!
Again I left them out in my kitchen stacked against the wall for a day or more so that I had a chance to collect all the pieces. They are now FAR WAY in storage. This is good. And the kids don’t miss them.
I’ll take them out again when they are a little older or if they ask for them soon maybe they can play with some. BUT…I’ll be telling them that these are their toys and their responsibility to take care of and clean up. If they don’t clean up the toys again, I’ll be putting the toys back in storage for longer. This eliminates the bribing and threats and frustration on my part. It’s their choice to listen or not, but the NOT = natural consequences i.e. bye-bye- toys!
There are now empty places on our toy self and empty places in our book shelf. And I still think our kids have too many toys. But then I see those empty places and smile. I may organize the toys again in the fall. But for now they are safe. Except maybe that dress-up container. It looks like it could use some help.
Happy Toy Hunting Busy Mom.
By: Sharon Schuler
- P.S. Don’t be afraid of the organizing and storing. A bored kid is a perfect opportunity for them to dive into the world of imagination. If you really go hard core cutting back your children toys but are afraid of the “I’m bored” attitude coming your way… click here to check out the Sanity Saver #9 “I’m Bored Jar” idea. You can be actively prepared for the boredom but not at the expense of your poor feet.