Toys. I’m convinced they reproduce at night when we’re not looking. How else could we end up with so many toys in
our houses? Even the most clutter-averse moms struggle with toy overpopulation. Here are six strategies to prevent toys from overtaking your home:
1. Ditch the toy box and store toys on shelves. Toy boxes are black holes. Kids forget what is buried at the bottom and never play with the stuff. Instead, toys should be easily visible. The most affordable option is to buy some durable plastic utility shelves. These work fine for playrooms. If you want to buy nicer shelves for a child’s bedroom, make sure they are deep enough to hold all the large toys. If your shelves are especially tall, consider bolting themto wall studs to avoid tipping accidents. If you still must have a toy box,
make it a small one.
2. Keep toys in clear plastic boxes or tubs. Take inventory of playsets with multiple pieces like dollhouse furniture, blocks, or your daughter’s My Little Pony collection and buy clear plastic boxes with lids to fit each unique playset. Store the boxes on your shelves.
3. Think out of the (toy) box. You don’t always have to invest in pricey toy storage systems. Those canvas over-the-door shoe holders aren’t just for holding shoes. How about Barbie dolls or dinosaurs? Consider stashing toys in laundry hampers or plastic laundry baskets. Plastic Chinese takeout containers with lids are
good for holding little toys, crayons, or play dough. Have an old unused recycling bin? Use it to hold outdoor toys like balls, bats, and Frisbees. If you’re really crafty, you can covercardboard boxes with fabric and turn them into toy bins.
4. Rotate toys. It’s amazing how quickly my daughter loses interest in her toys. Store some of them out of sight for a few months. When you bring them back out, they’ll have new appeal. You’ll also have less toy clutter around the house.
5. Teach your child to clean up, and provide consequences if she leaves things out. We’ve decided to focus on our 4-year-old daughter’s room. Just before bedtime, we set the timer for ten minutes and let her know it’s time to pick up her room. If she dawdles, anything left out when the timer goes off gets stored in a
basement closet until the cleanup routine improves.
6. If all else fails, purge the toy collection. Be ruthless. Your child will not die of boredom. In fact, kids thrive on having fewer toys. Here’s a fantastic article about the benefits of weeding out the toy collection. Sell old toys at a garage sale, on Craigslist or eBay, or donate them. If your child protests, get rid of toys when she isn’t looking and she’ll probably never miss them.
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