On Wednesday, I attended an event where I heard Kevin O’Leary speak (one of the sharks on Shark Tank). Of the 50 companies in his portfolio, he found that entrepreneur women are more successful than entrepreneur men. Why? According to his data, women have better time management skills, set achievable goals, maintain lower employee turnover, and assimilate feedback. How awesome is that? We women naturally have better skill-sets to a run a business (men, you still are earning Mr. O’Leary millions of dollars so are doing great as well!).
Why do I mention this? Because what is a home if not a business? You have an accounting department (mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, etc.), product and inventory (groceries, clothing, toilet paper, etc), employees or admin (children, spouse, parents, siblings, etc.), and the responsibility of planning everyone’s schedules, taking care of yard work, replacing filters and batteries, etc. It all boils down to the same skills.
Now that you’re standing a little taller with the realization that you possess AMAZING skills, let’s review the organizing toys process. By this point, you’ve decluttered and moved all the toys into the Toy Room. Wahoo. But you take a look around and still feel anxious. What now, Steph?
Now, we plan!
Step 1: Categorize your items into piles (Barbie’s, trucks, books, stuffed animals, LEGO’s, figurines, etc.).
Step 2: Once you know how many piles you’ll need, time to design. Do you want an entire wall of storage and baskets? Do you only need one designated area because you’re cycling through bins? Do you want to label everything or hide it in the closet? The options are limitless. Here are a few visuals to start your ideas flowing (links at the bottom of the page will take you to more options!):
Step 3: Assign every item a home. This is the key element to organizing any part of your home. Every toy, crayon, bear, etc. has a specific spot that it will live. You can buy cubbies, bins, baskets, etc. to keep along the perimeter of a room or underneath coffee tables, TV stands, or on shelves in closets. The second part of this step is to teach your children. If you held up a toy and asked them where it went, could they tell you? More importantly, could they take the toy and return it to its home? You can either label the containers or buy clear ones so everyone can see what’s inside.
Step 4: Maintain the plan by assigning a day and time for picking up. When you tell your children to please return the toy to its home, they will do their best. But most likely, the help of an adult will be needed. So, at the end of the day, weekend, etc., designate a time that you will reset the Toy Room. How do you reset? Place all the toys back in the proper home, put the bins back against the wall, sanitize surfaces and toys, and reset so everything is ready for the next use (resetting at the end of the day or week can be used in every room in your house). This gives you a sense of peace when you look into the room, and in the morning, you’re able to reap the benefits (quickly finding everything you need before rushing out the door) of a straightened up home.
- 3 Minute Rule: You could implement a timed rule. I implement a 3-minute rule in my home and sometimes I groan out loud when my mind tells me to do something. Here’s what it is: if a task will take 3 minutes or less, I do it immediately. When I arrive home and kick off my shoes, sometimes I stare at them for a good 20 seconds, mentally self-debating if I leave them where they sit. Ultimately, I sigh, bend down to pick them up and return the shoes (and my purse) to their home in my closet. So, set your phone timer for 10 minutes every day that ends in “y”, and do a quick reset of the Toy Room!
Last little bit: you most likely are reading this article because you feel overwhelmed or anxious and want to eliminate the negative effects of keeping toys in your home. So, do your best to follow the 3 steps: declutter regularly, enact prevention methods, and habitually reset. But then, relax. Don’t focus on perfection or stress if a few items are left out at the end of the day, or if on some days your child (or you) refuses to pick up. Enjoy the day off but the next day, set your phone timer and have the kiddos help you reset.
Next article: Some Fun Tips and Tricks to Store Toys and Keepsakes!