With Christmas coming I need to make room for the onslaught of sparkly new toys. It also gives me the opportunity to have a good old clear out. Kind of like a Spring Clean but in mid-Winter.
Whilst both the kids are now over the age of three years old, for some reason, I still seem to have a lot of baby toys floating around which I really need to donate to a more appreciative home. I have tried, on several occasions, to give the toys away but it always seems to backfire. I gather all the toys up, pop them in a plastic bag which inevitably gets left in the hallway for weeks on end, whilst I decide what to do with them. Then the kids, with their ‘toy-radar’ turned on, gravitate towards the toys I am trying to get rid of and end up playing with them. And back into their toy box they go.
There is a part of me that feels a bit sad when I purge the house of toys. It makes me think of Woody and Mr Potato Head in Toy Story, and how anxious they were when new toys arrived.
However, I realise that I need to just man up and DO IT. And at the same time, organise all the toys so I (and the kids) know where everything is. So here are my Top 10 Ways to Organise Kids Toys.
1. Throw away any rubbish.
For us, this includes backs of stickers, wrappers from snack bars, broken toys, etc.
2. Put all toys into piles.
Once they are in piles (dolls, Lego, train tracks, etc.) it’s much easier to work out what you have accumulated over time. For example, you might find that you have three Barbie dolls. Do you REALLy need three? Then it’s simply a case of choosing whether to keep it, give it to charity or if it’s beyond salvaging, then bin it.
3. Get the kids involved.
They can the answer the question of whether they play with the toy in question, without being sidetracked by sentimental value or being concerned about how much something cost.
4. Sort all the toys into boxes and label them.
Nurseries and schools do this beautifully so take inspiration from them. If you have young children, use visual aids such as photographs or simple drawings rather than written labels.
5. Repurpose current storage.
Don’t be tempted to run to Ikea and buy new storage until you have worked out what is left after your clear out. You might find that you have plenty of storage once you have sent a load to charity. It also might give you the opportunity to repurpose that wicker hamper that’s been sitting in the loft for years.
6. Clear Plastic boxes.
Clear Plastic boxes are particularly useful as not only can you see what is in the box, but they are also stackable so they are a really efficient use of space. I am a big fan of Wham Boxes, which are good quality, stackable plastic boxes with different coloured lids.
7. Toy Storage Baskets.
If however, you only have a few toys, which are kept in a shared space, then check out some more aesthetically pleasing ways of storing toys in my Top 10 Toy Storage baskets.
8. Do a declutter every six months.
This works well in our house as it coincides with Christmas and summer birthdays, so it means we can have a clear out before the next influx of toys. If you can, try and do it during school holidays as it means the kids can get involved.
9. Change kids mindset.
In order to keep the mess at bay then you’ll need to spend some time changing the kids’ mindset. Encourage them to tidy up after themselves or set the rule that they can only get a new toy out once they have put the last one away. It can’t be a bad thing to encourage the kids to take responsibility for their things.
10. Catch-All Basket.
For my own sanity, I have a catch-all basket. A beautiful pink bolga basket that I picked up on holiday in France that lives in my front room. This is useful when you are madly rushing around and don’t have time (or the inclination) to put the toys back in the right place. This is perfect for those days when the in-laws turn up unannounced and the house is an absolute tip. I just pick up all the toys and chuck them in my catch-all basket, which I then sort through later on. Sometimes.
So there we have it. And, on that note, I am off to do everything I listed above. I can’t say I am particularly looking forward to it but I am going to put on some Christmas tunes, courtesy of Michal Bublé, turn up the volume and just blitz it! Such a rock n’roll lifetsyle that I lead!