Time to Tame the Toys

Have you ever got so mad at the toys that have taken over that you start tossing them where they don’t belong, like through the window? Tossing toys just once won’t fix the problem. In order to organize and stay organized, you’ll want to go through all five steps of the SORT and Succeed system. In addition, put into place strategies to stay on track as those kiddos grow. Here’s how we helped on particular family when they’d gotten to overwhelm.

Time to Tame the Toys

1. Start with the basics. We sorted and purged through two rooms. A few basic supplies were all that was needed. We ended up with two large bags of trash, a whole trunk load of items to donate, and one very large pile of baby things to pass on to a mom friend with a new baby.

2. Discuss the situation with your spouse. He loves to spoil her but you don’t want to see one more little plastic person in the house? Time to talk about it.

3. Talk to the grands. Tell the grandparents and other family that you really are trying to pare down and simplify. Yes, you are allowed to tell them this, even for gifts. If there are special gifts that you would like to receive instead of random excess, pass the word. Relatives often enjoy having some guidance on gift giving. Maybe books are a treasured gift but another tea set will just drive you over the edge? It’s OK to admit. Even better, set up an online gift list on Amazon or wherever you shop, so they’ll never have to guess.

4. Share your rules with the kids. If toys are broken or in bad condition, we toss them. In our house, we try to fix things once, but a second offense means the toy goes in the trash. To help kids learn this important lesson, have them put broken items in the trash so they know it is gone for good.

5. Pick containers carefully. Make sure storage bins are kid-friendly, light enough to carry and sturdy. Choose matching or coordinating storage that works with your decor. This seems basic, but so many times I see toys shoved in a huge toy box or plastic bin. This doesn’t teach organization but it does strengthen the shoving reflex. Two year-olds absolutely love to sort items, so teach them early.

6. Don’t buy plastic? Hmmm. This one might be a bit harder, but it really can help, especially if you are a thrift store or tag sale shopper. Tell the ‘rents that you really want only the best for your child, perhaps even play the “buy American” card. High quality toys are often made of something other than plastic and not from China. Read the book, A Year Without Made in China by Sara Bongiorni for inspiration. And because high quality and handcrafted toys are a bit more pricey, you are likely to get and buy less of them, which works in your favor.

7. Allow limited chaos. Don’t expect perfection. At our house, books belong on the bookshelf, but they aren’t perfectly arranged. Toys go in the toy bins, but they aren’t organized inside the bins. Sets like blocks and puzzles and Calico Critter families have their own little suitcases or bags, and we take the time to place items together. If the kids don’t do it, neither do I.

8. Age out. If you aren’t sure yet if your kid has grown out of some toys but you are ready to purge, remove some items from the space and store them in a bag or bin, marked with the date, out of site for six months. You’ll be able to donate or toss them if your kid hasn’t asked for them in several months.

Do you want a home where you always feel like you are GETTING READY, or a home where you can BE READY for the day, for company and for relaxing?

It’s better to be ready than to get ready

(Image from The Upbeat, Organized Home Office)

Are there any gems in here for you to try when you organize your toys at home?