1) When my oldest son was smaller and had way too many toys I would have him go through his toys and pick out so many (depending on how many toys he had) to donate to a local shelter. I plan on doing the same thing with our little guy when he’s older but for now I will take care of this part. I think this teaches children a great value in appreciating that they have toys and also gives them an understanding that not everyone does and they are able to help.
2) We also use plastic containers that will fit under the crib for storage. We use those long thin ones to keep things like the larger Legos and playsets/playmats in. This is great for organizing a smaller space!
3) We use the stackable plastic storage containers as well for toys like army figurines or smaller legos. These fit so well into a closet space for easy storage!
4) When it comes to puzzles and books, we go through them and if the puzzles are missing pieces that we cannot find we toss them out. If the books are ripped and missing pages we recycle them.
5) We also use crates in organizing the toys. We fill each crate with similar toys: stuffed animals, learning toys and toys that involve games such as Leap Frog products. These can be nicely displayed in the play area without looking messy.
6) Some things can be hung on the wall. They have nets available for stuffed animals, they have hanging bags that can hold lighter things like foam or magnetic letters/numbers.
7) Utilize all of your book shelf space! Encourage your kids to put books back on the shelf when they are done. If you don’t have enough books to fill the book shelf, decorate it nicely with a few other toys that can fit nicely on the shelf as a display.
8) If you have any type of pretend play clothing, get a nice shelf with hooks or just plain hooks to hang on the wall and nicely display the clothing. It’s a great way to encourage kids to pick up their stuff and have a great place to display their items!
9) If you have children that are at the coloring and drawing age have a small table/desk to keep these supplies. You’ll want a shoe box or large crayon/pencil box to keep all crayons, colored pencils and markers in. This will keep them from getting all over the floor and being stepped on and broken.
10) Check to be sure that the toys in the toy are are toys still being played with and they are age appropriate. With our son being 14 months old he seems to go through the different age categories quickly so we are always putting something in storage that he has outgrown, toys included. We’ve recently put the push walker toy in storage and some crib toys that he is no longer interested in. It has gotten them out of the way and decluttered the area.
Keeping the play room or house clean can be challenging when you have smaller children at home. It’s important to stay organized and make sure the kids know the importance of putting things back where they got them. I recommend scheduling one weekend day per month to go through and re-organize everything just to keep order! You’ll be amazed at how helpful this one action can be!
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program.