Spring is finally upon us and now is a great time to tackle cleaning and organizing your home – before the kids are home for summer! As any parent knows all too well, the toy situation can quickly get out of hand in the house. Toys from birthdays and holidays have made their way into the house and are added to what your child already has and more often than not, we don’t remove the old toys. Today we’ll talk about how to sort through your toys, keep what you want and a few ways to store them so you can regain control of your home!
Step 1: Deciding what to keep and what to remove from the house
What you’ll need:
- a trash bag for broken toys or toys that cannot be cleaned (stuffed animals)
- a donation bag for toys that are in good enough condition to be played with again
- a garage sale bag for any toys you wish to sell – the profits could go back to your kids for new toys or experiences
- an open spot near you to place the items you want to keep
My first piece of advice is to sort through the toys when your children are sleeping/not at home. It will be much easier to weed out the broken toys and toys your children haven’t touched in years when they’re not around. When you have a Keep pile, you can involve your children helping sort the toys that you have decided to keep and let you know if there are any they’re willing to part with.
Now, go through all the toys and place them in one of the 4 options above. The big question you may be asking yourself is what do you keep? When making this choice, some questions you can ask yourself are:
- When was the last time my child played with this toy?
- If given the option, would my child play with this toy?
- Is this developmentally and/or age appropriate for my child? (Too young or too old?)
- Am I saving this for a “future” kid or my current kid?
- Would my child miss this toy if it weren’t around?
- Does this toy help my child learn, imagine, problem solver or make believe?
The answers to those questions should be able to help you make your decisions.
Step 2: Remove the toys from the home that you aren’t keeping
Once you’ve sorted the toys into their appropriate piles it’s time to do something with them all!
I recommend taking your donation bag out to your car immediately and drop it off the next time you’re out of the house. If you simply move the bag to another room in your home, there’s an excellent chance your child will find it and bring the toys back out, reversing all the work you’ve done.
Hide the bag of what you want to sell in a super-secret hiding spot!! For the same reasons above, we don’t want little ones finding the toys and bringing them back out. Post the items on Facebook, take them to a consignment store, or start organizing your garage sale to get them out of the house and put some money back in your pocket!
Step 3: Storing the toys you want to keep
Now that we have everything sorted, it’s time for the toys that are staying to get organized and put away. The goal is to have a storage solution that your children can participate in – make it easily accessible for them so they can grab their own toys but also be able to put things away. For this project, you may already have storage options but if you don’t, here are a few recommendations:
IKEA Trofast Storage Combination is perfect for younger children, when the goal is just to have them put toys away, out of sight. IKEA has combination options with large and small bins for smaller toys up top and larger toys down below.
Hanging Shelf Closet Organizer for your board games. Face the name of the game out and your child will be able to easily identify all the games they have at once. This can hang in a hall closet or even your child’s bedroom closet.
Over the Door Organizer for your Barbie storage or even your child’s Hot Wheels cars. Choose a clear option so your child can look for a specific item without having to pull everything out. This can hang on the back of their bedroom or closet door so they have easy access to the dolls.
Stackable Storage Box with Dividers is an easy way to organize your child’s Legos (this could also work for jewelry making supplies). We all know those small pieces get everywhere and this simple solution will help keep them in one place with endless ways to organize them – by color, piece type, or even by a specific set. Then create a binder with slipcovers to save all your instruction manuals in one place! This storage box could easily be stored in a playroom or your child’s closet. There are also single level boxes that could be stored under your child’s bed.
Keepy is a digital app to save your child’s artwork. It is a great solution to the piles of artwork your child will bring home from school! While there are many different options, Keepy is an app that allows you to take a photo or video and crop, adjust colors, add a title, data and even a voice recording of your child describing their work. The app is free to download and you can upload 15 pieces of art a month or can purchase a larger storage option to never lose any of your children’s masterpieces.
Creating a place for everything to go will not only help keep your home organized so you can spend more time your kids and less time cleaning, but you can also involve them in the on-going cleaning process and help teach them to put things back where they belong. I hope you found these recommendations helpful and can implement a few of them in your clean-up project.