Kids always seem to have an endless number of toys. You could probably go without buying your child a single toy and they would still end up with a roomful. Gifts, hand-me-downs and those odds and ends you collect over the years can become a big mess quickly if you do not have a plan to organize and contain the toys. The following are some tips for organizing your kid’s toys:
Create a dedicated space for toys. If you want to organize your kid’s toys, you have to start by dedicating a space to the toys. The fact is, most people have toys scattered throughout the house. Some in each child’s room, some in a toy closet or cupboard and some in other corners of the house. So, start by dedicating a space to toys and gathering the toys from throughout the house so they are in that space. If you have more than one kid it is best to have this space be a common space in the house. Extra closets, a toy room or even a bookcase in a family room are all good places to dedicate to toys.
Now that all the toys are in the dedicated space, sort them into sub-categories. In order to organize your toys, sort them out. De-junk while you do this; anything broken or missing pieces should be tossed. Make a pile for cars, one for Barbies, one for Happy Meal Toys, one for action figures and so on, until each toy is in a pile. Usually kids will enjoy their toys more if they have a purpose. When all the toys are thrown together in a box, most children won’t typically play with them. However, when all the animals are kept in one place and the cars in another, finding them and playing with them is easier and thus more frequent.
Once the toys are all sorted out you need to find a way to contain them. Get closeable containers, such as totes with lids, to hold the sorted toys. While baskets look pretty, it is best to have something with a lid, or the ability to close off so that mixing toys is not as easy. Many stores offer a variety of great storage and bin options. You can buy canvas bins that have zip tops or plastic containers with lids.
Label each container clearly so you and your child know what is in each one. Unless you want your child dumping out every toy bin as they search for their dinosaurs, it is a good idea to label the storage containers. If your child is too young to read, label with a picture. Labeling also makes re-sorting easier should they have a day where all the toys get dumped together.
Dedicate a place for toy containers. Once everything is sorted and labeled, you will need a room or space for the containers. For example, select a shelf where the containers go, a closet that has specified places for the containers or a bookcase with a cubby for each container. The more distinct and separate the containers are, the better chance of toys staying separate.
Create rules for toy use. This is the most important part of organizing your kid’s toys and keeping them organized. Making rules for play is critical lest your organization be for naught. The best, and most common, rule is one container at a time. They can play with whatever they want, whenever they want but they have to put away one set of toys before they get another set out.