Toy Storage Solutions That Make Clean Up Easier
Today’s post is courtesy of Stacy Erickson of Home Key Organization.
As a professional organizer, I have many clients who tell me that they were organized before they had kids – and I believe it! These days, children have more toys than ever and many families struggle with managing the mess that they make. Here are a couple suggestions that I give my clients. Keep in mind, every family is different, so creating a setup that works for you may take a little time.
Ditch the toy box: Toy boxes promote disorder. A huge toy box can hold a LOT of toys, many of which usually end up on the floor. If your toddler takes fifty little toys out of the toy box, then they must put fifty little toys away when they’re done! Expecting a toddler or preschooler to put away fifty things at one time can get very overwhelming.
Opt for open shelving: Try displaying 5-10 toys on a shelf and watch what happens. Generally, when faced with fewer decisions, children actually have better focus. Plus, if everything is removed, cleaning up does not seem like an insurmountable task.
Don’t over-sort: Many parents who have older children tend to over-sort all the little toys that fill their lives. Things like Legos, action figures, Littlest Pet Shop figurines, Squinkies and Polly Pockets all have their own clearly-marked container. Sometimes the tiny parts that go with them even get sorted within that container! Parents so often drive themselves mad getting everything sorted perfectly, only to have it destroyed in a matter of minutes. So why do it? Keeping these tiny toys in one bin can help speed up clean-up time, making it easier for kids to be creative in their play. And you’ve probably noticed that kids generally combine toys to create different play scenarios, so why sort everything if it will all end up together anyway?
Abide by the “rule of half”: Try putting away half of your children’s toys and then rotate them out. This usually creates a calming effect on the environment for both parents and kids. Do you store toys in bins or baskets? Make sure that these containers are only half full–it is a lot less overwhelming to clean up later. Or if this is too difficult, at the very least make sure the bins aren’t overflowing.
Clutter is a huge stressor, but it doesn’t have to be – finding a way to manage what you have in a way that works for everyone can help your family achieve a sense of calm. We know that young children are ambitious and creative explorers, always finding new ways to play and learn. Providing them with the right environment to do this can help improve focus not only for them, but for you as the parent.
Stacy Erickson is a Professional Organizer and owner of Home Key Organization, a Seattle based home organization company specializing in child development and family environments.
- E-family news: Organizing Tips for Busy Parents – How to Organize Your Home
- Parent Webinars: Organization Tips for Busy Families – The Great Balancing Act