Where can I put all of those toys????
It’s amazing that, for such small people, kids need so much stuff.
Actually, *need* may not be the right word. When they were babies, sure, they needed all kinds of gear and specialty items like soothers and sippy cups and head thermometers and mesh teether bags. But now that they’re out of diapers and are full fledged walking-talking-playing miniature human beings, the toys just seem to get out of control!
I remember clearing out the baby gear and thinking I had it all under control. I was selling and donating and passing on the best of my stuff. I’d researched the ba-jeezers out of everything I bought for my babes, and it was all such good quality that it all had tons of life after my two little boys were done.
I wanted to reclaim my home and storage spaces. I wanted order. I wanted a place for everything and everything in its place. I wanted to use all that I’d learned from every organizing reality show I’d ever watched.
I had bins and I was never going to let the toys get out of control.
And then, boys.
This is my shame:
I don’t know how it happened. One minute I was all over those bins and racks and bookshelves. The next thing I know, they’ve figured out how to empty each and every one of those bins and racks and bookshelves, dragging in the crib mattress so that they can launch themselves off of the bed in what I can only imagine is an attempt and finding and destroying my very last shred of sanity!
I’m happy to say that my house is back under control. Temporarily. It goes off and on the rails quite fluidly, but I’m happy to say I’ve discovered three things that make getting back onto the rails much easier and more efficient:
I don’t know what I was saving things for, but there is no point in hanging onto toys they’ve outgrown. There’s also no point in saving broken pieces, toys with missing parts or things they never play with. Add to that, the crap that slipped through – think Happy Meal toys and loot bag trinkets – and you’ve got at least half a toy chest gone!
My kids love everything at the toys tore. Any toy. They’ve got stuffies, LEGOS, trains, action figures, board games, educational toys, dress-up costumes and sports equipment. They’re always begging for another new toy and they’re always bringing home something.
I remove the unwanted and unusable from circulation. Not quite the “One in, One out” mantra that my organizing shows emphasize, but it’s not a bad system.
The boys had everything mashed together. They had pieces of LEGO mixed with pieces of puzzles and pieces of week-old lunch.
That isn’t helpful for anyone.
The other organizing show mantra is to play with only one thing at a time. Put back your toy before you take down another.
Bwahahahaha. Yah, right.
That doesn’t work unless you have time to police your kids constantly. I don’t have that kind of time. But I did start telling my kids that their toys would need to go back at the end of the day, and that they needed to go back in the right spots. There is an area for board games, an area for stuffies and an area for toys with a million pieces that hurt like the devil himself is setting fire to your foot when you step on them (I’m looking right at you, LEGO).
Purge and tame all you want, but if you don’t have the right storage, you got nuthin’.
Storage doesn’t have to mean expensive closet organizers or wall-to-wall built-ins – unless you want it to. There are a lot of flexible storage solutions for every budget, and lots that can be added into a room with flexibility. Whether you want to focus on style, function – or, gasp! both – you have lots of options.
I use a wire shelf for board games. It’s easy to see the games and easy to take them out. It tucks neatly between the armoire and the wall. I love how board games are in boxes and are easily stored! If only everything in life came in an easy-to-manage rectangular container.
I love the open storage bins. They have such amazing compartments. Each can be for a specific genre of toy. You can colour code them to each child’s ownership or just stick to toy types. You can label them. My hubs loves his Brother P Touch labeler.
I’m honestly shocked there’s no label on the cat.
If you just need utility, go to the hardware store and get a few storage totes. The see-through ones are the best, you can quickly see the contents and find that special something you’re looking for. They’re not super stylish, but they’re functional, stackable, have lids and do the job. Get a tablecloth to cover them or stack them in the closet if you don’t want to leave them out. I organized our garage with these, too.
Baskets, hampers and caddies are also cute ways to hide and store stuff in plain sight. You can find really adorable baskets in any theme. These are perfect for stuffies and also for large and awkward shaped toys. You can use one for costumes too. They’re also great for things like sticks and rackets and wands.
If you need help, give in and call a professional organizer to come in and sort it all out. Honestly, most people say it’s the best money they ever spent. We just went for it. We were so afraid of taking away things the kids love – but honestly? They don’t have an emotional attachment to most of their toys.
You get rid of something they don’t play with and they *may* notice it at some point, but not likely. And even if they do, they don’t dwell on it. Just don’t get rid of any current favourites – and we all know the stuff they’re truly attached to and know better than to toss those special things. If in doubt, keep a box and set a date for permanently tossing stuff. That’s another of my organizing show tips. Put it in the box and put a date and time to donate. Give it a month or two. If they haven’t noticed it missing within that time then you’re in the clear and they really didn’t need that item cluttering your home.
Need more suggestions? I have quite a few of these pieces – and a few other pieces I’m currently drooling over, but I’m good for now.