Are the toys taking over the house? Specifically after the holidays the sheer volume can become stressful without strategies to help manage what comes in and stays in your home.
There is freedom when you have a flow and there are fun and practical ways to achieve it with your princes and princesses.
Be realistic, is there enough space for your stuff? Are you tripping over toys? Is it essential to have all this stuff? What kinds of toys do you want your kids playing with? How much time do they in fact have to play?
With a collection of books, puzzles, games boards, trucks, Barbies, Lego and beyond. With outdoor play, computers, tv and movies. Add activities such as swimming, soccer, hockey, dance and piano they have a pretty full schedule. They also require down time, quiet time and family time. Kids have a lot to do. Do you have too many toys?
As with the clothing, the 80/20 rule applies. Too many toys and kids can become over stimulated and less appreciative. Get the kids involved, it essentially was stuff given to them. With clients, I keep the focus on what we are keeping, which is “all the best stuff”. Choose a number such as 3 puzzles, 4 board games and allow them to pick from the pile. Or make it fun and interactive, play Roll the Dice. They roll the dice and whatever it lands on is as many as they can keep. You can negotiate with them and even negotiating can be fun. If they roll a 6 for puzzles and then only a 1 on Barbie’s, offer to do a trade. The puzzles they have for the Barbie’s they want. Turn it into a game. Have an idea in your mind what will work space and time wise in your house to play with so you know how many dice to use.
Once you have reduced the rubble, it is time to design systems to maintain a clutter-free zone.
“A place for everything and everything in its place” as the old saying goes. Think like a kid. Organize for their eye level. Keep items low.
This Ikea shelf can be used vertically or on its side and turned into a bench. Multi-purpose furniture is a wonderful way to keep the space open. The cubbies are ideal for books, puzzles, big trucks and bins.
See through bags make identifying items E.A.S.Y. as well as corralling all pieces to a play item. Handles also make carrying a cinch.
If your stuffed animals aren’t hiding behind the door, you might use this to house your Barbie or action figure collections. Barbie and all of her accessories can also be placed inside the pockets.
Think “out of the box”. Use products you may already have in your home or could accumulate for very little cost. Small stackable containers, soap box or a Ziploc bag to store cards, puzzles or games with no boards.
Handyman solution. Turn you game boards into your play area artwork. The pieces are hidden behind in a baggie.
Searching for more inventive artwork? A magnetic strip will hold toy cars. Incredible! I couldn’t tell you how many curse words have been said in my head stepping on these mini transporation trucks. A wall of toys cars!?! Even I think that is a priceless piece, keeping the space clean and clutter-free. Equally incredible, toilet paper tunnels! Who knew they were the prefect garage? What a clever craft that your kids could do.
Next item that send lightening through my mind. Lego. I love playing with it, but the clean up always has me on my hands and keens crawling under furniture recouping it. Lego spreads like wildfire. A bag such as LAY/N/GO is the ultimate way to keep Lego and play spaces under control.
Unclear on what to do with instructions or game rules. Create a binder and place contents in clear plastic pages. A perfect way to please eveyone.
If square footage is in scarce supply, go vertical. Vertical storage space is vastly underutilized and can be prime real estate in any room.
Label, label, label. This is another fun way to create an activity for the kids. Find a container that will fit the amount of products you still have. turn it into a scavenger hunt, give new life to old containers. household containers. Then choose what labels they want. Pick pictures found of the internet together, paint or colour your own, have a photo session and set up displays and use the pictures to professionally label your toys. This way you never have to hear, “I didn’t know where it went, there was no space for it or I did put it back”.
When kids are involved they start to learn the process and become more of the solution and less of the problem. A minimal clean-up each day or at the end of a play session encourages kids to treat toys with respect and be responsible for their belongings. Arnold Schwarzenegger throws EVERYTHING left off the floor in the garbage. If kids don’t say it, they show it. No matter what our age, we value, take care of and protect what is important to us. Let your kids show you what they value.
Creating routines to purge together, seasonally or before the holidays is a system that will carry them throughout their lives so that they may also Live Life E.A.S.Y.
Making clean-up a daily routine breaks down the big drama when it is time to tidy up.
Is tidy up time or chores a chore in your home? Tomorrow we make chores fun with a new perspective on how to be grateful by doing it.