Here we are, two days into the New Year and I thought it the perfect time to share with you a few of my tried-and-true toy organizing tips.
Why? Oh no reason … only that it looks as though a gigantic toy box has thrown up all over my entire house.
Having been a mom for 20 years now (gosh, that is a rather alarming thing to write), we have seen our fair share of toys come and go over the years. I have tried every system you could imagine to organize them as well! Since we are celebrating the launch of The Quiet Time Club here on How Wee Learn, I thought it a great time to get those toys organized.
Because cluttered toys simply don’t get played with. If we want our children to engage in deep, meaningful play – be it independent play or together play – we need to provide them with the proper environment.
A space free of most toys, with just a few available really is the best. At least that is what I have found throughout my years of ‘research’. Interestingly, my years of research have also found that stepping on a piece of LEGO on a carpeted surface is far less painful than stepping on that same piece of LEGO on a hard floor surface. Plan your LEGO play spaces accordingly, my friend.
So, the best way to ensure that toys get actually used and don’t just sit around cluttering up a home and getting tripped on, is to do some simple toy organization.
Once we have our home nice and organized, Quiet Time will be able to flow in a very peaceful and blissful way.
I’m excited to introduce you to my 3 favourite toy organization tips today! (Isn’t that a hilarious sentence to read. But the most hilarious part of it all is that I TRULY am excited to share this with you. I tell you, my friend, I just keep getting cooler and cooler as I age. Life of the party.)
The Tried-and-True Toy Organization Tips:
Now you have probably heard of this one before, but it is a genius one. I was sharing (kinda bragging) about this idea with my own Mom and she casually said, “yeah, I used to do that with you guys, too.” So … it might not be that unique, but I am going to share anyway because it is a game changer.
The idea is nice and simple: choose a few toys that your child really loves currently and keep those toys in your play space. Remove all of the other toys to a basement, closet, or other location.
With a larger, clearer space, and room to really engage with that toy without distraction, you might just be amazed at the quality of play you watch your child embark upon.
Every week, or when your child seems ready, swap out those toys, putting the current toys away and pulling out some fresh ones to reflect your child’s current interests.
Less is more, when it comes to toys. Not chickens though (you can never have enough chickens)
Clear Bins or Open Baskets
Organizing and sorting toys by type is a favourite way to organize toys for me. This is not necessarily true for some of my children, interestingly, but we will get to that below in tip 3.
I like to sort all of our toys into big bins. LEGO, Playmobile, wooden blocks, train tracks, Magnatiles, Play food/dishes, Playdough, action figures, and so on. This makes it nice and easy to store away and pull out.
A great idea is to use big open baskets (for especially young children) and big clear bins (for older children). This allows toys to be easily put away and sorted properly. It also allows children to easily see and access their toys.
While I have tried a million ways to organize toys, I keep coming back to this one, simple, method. I really do find that keeping it this simple is the best.
Now this third tip is for those of us who have slightly older children. And not all children will appreciate this tip. So far only 1/3 of my ‘older’ children have appreciated organizing their toys in this manner. And, one might argue that that 1/3 does not REALLY appreciate organizing his toys in that way, though one would not actually wish to choose an argument with this particular 1/3 unless you have a very large window of time.
But, I digress.
This third tip for organizing toys is for those of us who have children who truly do not seem to mind a messy bedroom. In fact, it seems to become messy simply when the child spends a moment breathing in the room. It can go from spotless to hurricane at a remarkable speed. Do you have one of these children?
If so, let me share with you a tip that has helped me remarkably. After spending countless days assisting this particular child with pairing down, and sorting his toys, only to have his room look as though the cleaning never took place the following day (it’s a weird sort of vortex you want nothing to do with, I promise you). We changed our organization tactics.
This child of mine had bins, organizers, and baskets out the wazoo. The organization plan became very simple. All toys needed to be off the ground.
It did not matter to me if he chose to cram his LEGO with his art supplies and stuffed animals. Well, I suppose that is not entirely true, I do shutter occasionally thinking about it, but that is a ‘me’ issue. My secret hope is he will see for himself how having things disorganized makes it much harder to find things, but this hope has not yet come to fruition.
At least everything appears tidy in his room, and he has his floor clear to engage in purposeful play during Quiet Time. Not to mention I can vacuum it. And … you know … walk.
And there you have them! My 3 best toy organization tips for you.
But I would be amiss to end this blog post without one more tip. (Look at me, using words like amiss) I encourage you to remember that this is a messy season of life. Yes, we want our homes to be beautiful and comforting and nurturing. But kids are messy. Kid stuff is messy. Life is simply messy when you have little ones underfoot.
One day, far too soon, our homes will be clean, without the clutter of little doll clothes, play food, and action figures. We will walk through a hall without stepping on LEGO. And we will long for this season all over again (well, except, of course the LEGO part, no one is going to miss that).
So go out there and do your best. Organize a little, declutter away, but remember, embrace this season for the beautiful period of time that it is.
Sending love, from this Mama’s messy living room to yours,
P.S. Another way to ensure we really embrace our little one’s childhood, is ensuring we have our daily Quiet Time in place. Be sure to join The Quiet Time Club!