It’s a constant battle to strike a balance between play and organization. Kids love to pull out everything in sight, and will sit in the middle of it all, playing happily. But at some point, a parent needs some sanity. Though we have 4+ kids underfoot at all times, we’ve found some great solutions on how to keep the clutter in check, and the toys from taking over. (Some affiliate links included.)
8 Ways to keep toys from taking over your house
A place for everything, and everything in it’s place
Find each toy a home it can go back to when not in use. Whether this requires getting [another] toy storage unit, clearing out some space in the garage, or simply getting rid of it, you’ll feel a lot better if your living room is free of vagabonds.
Knowledge is power
From the moment they can start to understand basics like on and off, hot and cold, we begin to teach our children where things go. Even the one-year-old LOVES to put things away, and if you show him what box to start filling, he is ecstatic to “help.” This makes it way easier when cleanup time comes, since no one’s left wondering where to put this toy, or where that toy went.
One box at a time
For a while, we used an IKEA storage unit that was composed of several bins, so we had a one-bin-at-a-time rule. The kiddos got to play with one bin of toys till they were tired of them, then we picked them all up before we got another bin out. This doesn’t always work the same way these days, but the principle is still in place–pick up the toy(s) you were playing with before you get out more.
Make a plan and keep it
Schedule group cleanup at certain points in the day. For us, it’s usually before or after mealtimes (depending on how the day’s events have played out, or when natural spaces of time occur that EVERYONE needs something to do). If there are things left out, this is when they get picked up.
Thanks for the great advice! The only one I have to say bugs me a little is #6. We are actually doing that right now too, but I just feel so wrong about having so many toys that we can even “store” the extras, while there are kids just a few miles away who literally don’t have more than 1 toy. I’m at the point where material things are becoming more and more unimportant to our family. Experiences over things, and less is more is becoming more of a reality in our life. Like I said, I currently have a few boxes of “extra” toys in our garage right now, but they will soon be a thing of the past! :)
You missed the one about joining a toy library!