Kid’s toys. They seem to multiply daily, and i’m not entirely sure where they keep coming from. Between birthday parties, holidays, freebies and hand me downs, keeping kid’s toys minimal, organized and always entertaining can be a real challenge. How many times has your kid come running out of their fully stocked playroom proclaiming that they are bored and have NO toys and EVERYONE else has more toys than they do? The truth of the matter is that they have plenty of toys, they just can’t find them, or, they’ve played with them too long and are bored. Understandable. Usually, the problem is that they have too many options at their disposal. So what can you do about it? Rotate them out. Creating a rotating toy supply is an easy way to keep your playroom or toy area minimal and fresh and it’s quite easy to do.
Step 1: Prepare your space. Dedicate an empty area of a closet, basement or even garage space where you can store toys that aren’t in use. Use bins or drawers to sort these toys by type and label them with the contents. I have a large empty area in my daughter’s closet that I use for this purpose.
Step 1: Declutter, Donate or Dispose. If your kiddos are on the younger end, this is best done when they are not at home…if they see you take something away, all of a sudden it’s their new favorite toy! (shocking…) Remove toys that are no longer age appropriate and either donate them or create a small box of 3-4 things to keep around for when little ones are visiting the house. Get rid of anything with broken or missing pieces (including puzzles, old games, etc) and now is the time for some of those obnoxiously loud battery operated toys to all of a sudden disappear… :)
Tip: Make your kids responsible. If your kids are old enough, allow them to be a part of the process. When they have a birthday or gift giving holiday approaching, have them go into their space and choose 5-10 things they no longer play with to donate.
Step 2: Sort and minimize. Now that you have the items you want to keep, it’s time to sort and minimize. It’s overwhelming for a child to have out 10 puzzles, 5 different sets that include cars, trains and tracks, 7 baby dolls, 12 coloring books, etc. at one time. You get the point. It’s 100% okay to keep all of these, but this is where the rotation comes in. Only keep out 2-3 puzzles at a time, 1 or 2 dolls, etc. Put the rest in the labeled bins and put them away.
TIP: I love storing our puzzles and board games in these plastic organizers when the original boxes become crushed and broken. Cut out the picture from the original box and attach it to the new organizer.
Step 3: Get organized. Create an organizational system that works for you and your space. I love bins. I find that my kids are more likely to put away their toys when each type of toy or activity has a dedicated bin either labeled with the toy name, or a photo of the item if they are too young to read. Kids are more likely to put away their things if they have a dedicated and easy place to do it. I absolutely LOVE the Ikea TROFAST storage system. It holds items large and small and at easy reach for little arms and hands. Try not to organize items TOO specifically. I used to have my kid’s Duplos separated into sets and found that clean up was a nightmare. Under age 5 it’s much easier to just have a single bin that holds all of them. The simpler the system, the easier it is for everyone to maintain.
Step 4: Rotate. I rotate my kid’s toys out every 1-2 months, more if it’s summer vacation and they are home more often. I always do a big toy purge right before a birthday or gift giving holiday to make room for the new. Of course there are certain things that have a permanent place in the playroom…Magna Tiles, Legos (unless you have multiple sets) the dollhouse, and the Paw Patrol life size lookout tower…do you have any idea how much trouble I would be in if that thing disappeared? :)
Ashley + Lindsay