Isn’t home organizing so much fun? Setting up systems, decreasing stress levels, increasing productivity and efficiency. Yay, I love organizing.
Hopefully, you read the first article in this series, “How to Organize Your Child’s Toys: Decluttering.” If so, congrats on reducing the number of the toys in your home and decluttering so that all of the toys are located in one room. Great progress! But how do you prevent the numbers from skyrocketing at the next birthday or holiday?
Let’s jump right in…
Methods for Preventing Clutter:
- Start young! Start today. Make cleaning up and organizing a habit for everyone in your household, and you’ll thank yourself daily in the many years to come.
- Set up an annual (or bi-annual) decluttering session. I suggest following the steps in “How to Organize Your Child’s Toys: Decluttering” before every birthday and the holidays where the child will receive new gifts. This clears out the old and allows room for the new, without overwhelming child or parent. Plus, your child will be so focused on the new toys, s/he won’t notice the toys that have left! (well, possibly won’t notice!).
- Periodically, place various toys in a bin and store out of sight. If after 30 days, the child(ren) doesn’t ask for any of it, donate or sell the toys.
- Cycle through the toys. For example, all the toys are placed into large bins but you only allow your child to play with the toys in one bin. Everything else is stored out of sight. When your child starts tiring of the current toys, switch out with another bin. This helps limit your child’s choices, which has been shown to increase enjoyment and imagination. It also helps keep the room organized and not overrun with toys. And your child’s interest is peaked every so often with “new” toys.
- The hardest option but most important, limit gift giving by family/friends by suggesting:
- only giving one gift per child for birthdays and holidays
- a contribution to their college fund/savings CD/etc.
- an activity with the giver rather than a gift (my favorite idea!…trips to the zoo, aquarium, sports match, or just a picnic in the park. One-on-one time is great bonding for both the giver and the child)
- a class or camp at the local recreation center (music lessons, robotics camp, swim lessons, the options are limitless).
- Follow the rule that for every new toy that enters the house, the child must choose an “old” toy (or bag of toys!) to leave. And hey, you’re providing lessons in charity and sharing.
- Teach your child to clean up. When they are done playing with the toys, ask them to put away the toys before moving on to the next activity.
- Implement the one bin rule. Example, if you have 6 bins of toys (LEGOS, dolls, LEGOS, trucks, puzzles, animals), they are only allowed to dump one bin on the floor (because we know how kids love to take out ALL the toys). Then teach them to put away the toys on the ground before emptying another bin. If they want to remove a few items from each and play, that’s fine, we’re just trying to avoid the dumping of all six bins.
What do you think? Do you feel you’ve created a great foundation to reduce the number of toys that are brought into your home? Excellent! So, now you’ve reduced clutter, have a solid plan in place to prevent more clutter, but how do you actually organize all the toys that are left? Check back next week for “How to Organize Your Child’s Toys: Organizing Strategies”.