Guest post by Tasha Saavedra, Aspire Organizing
If you’re a parent, then you know that organizing your kids’ toys is not a “do it once and it’s done” kind of task. Between the constant influx of toys, their changing interests and growing developmental needs - it can almost feel like a never ending task. On top of that, you may find toys strewn all about your home without a good system in place to manage it all.
As the owner and lead professional organizer at Aspire Organizing as well as a mother of two young girls, I can totally empathize with you! The good news is that there are ways you can set up your playroom or toy area that will make this whole process just a little bit easier. So if you’re ready to start organizing your kids toys, here are some of the most important things to consider:
What toys do you want within their reach vs out of reach?
Carefully consider your child’s maturity, how messy the toy is and if you have any other younger children who it may not be appropriate for. This may be especially true for certain art supplies or ones that have small pieces. Utilize spaces that are higher up or stored things away in a closet if you don’t want them reaching for them without your approval. Put things at eye level and in easy to access bins that you want to encourage your kids to play with.
Does your kid need to be able to see it in order to play with it?
For some kids, if they can’t see the toy they simply won’t play with it. A true “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. If this is your kid, then use acrylic, clear plastic, or frosted bins to store their toys. This is often true for smaller children who are less likely to read the labels on bins. But if your child doesn’t need to see it to play with it, then consider if hiding the visual clutter will bring you more peace of mind. If that is the case, then go for a cute solid or woven bin.
How will you contain small pieces and sets?
It’s pretty hard to have a streamlined and organized playroom without the right toy storage and there are plenty of great furniture options out there - cube systems being one of our favorites! But many children's toys, games and puzzles have pieces that need to be stored together or as we like to call it “micro-organized.”
Think barbie clothes, lego sets, craft kits, game pieces etc. Two easy solutions include mesh vinyl zippered bags or small hinged clear boxes. These boxes work well from amazon, as do these. As for the zippered vinyl mesh bags, these are some of our favorites and this variety pack is very helpful, too! We ALWAYS keep zippered bags on hand at all times both on the job and in our own homes. There are an endless number of possibilities to use them! But before you buy anything always measure what you need to store!
Will you rotate toys or organize them all?
Some families find that setting up a toy rotation system in their home works well for their children. With toy rotations, you group your children’s toys into a couple sets and only make available one set of toys at a time. Then when you find your kids getting bored by their toys or after a pre-determined amount of time, you swap them out for the ones stored away. If you’d like to give this a try, be sure that you have the additional space to store toys, document what you’ve stored away (snap a pic or 2!) and have a calendar reminder set up to make the swap. Toy rotation isn’t for every parent or kid so give it a try if it sounds intriguing, but it’s okay if it is not your cup of tea.
How will you categorize and label?
Can your kids read? Will they read a bin label? Both are important questions to ask! No matter what you do - don’t skip out on labeling the zones you’ve created or all of your work will eventually be for nothing.
Use the broadest categories possible that are still specific enough to your kids needs. Then either include a picture on the bin, a label from a label maker or if you’re feeling fancy order some cute custom vinyl labels from etsy and put them on a bin clip. This will save you, your kids and other caretakers so much trouble when it comes time to clean up. And it will make the system maintainable in the long term. Remember, you will need to update your labels when your kids’ needs change!
What does your kid actually play with and what can you get rid of now?
There is no way I could wrap this up without making a shameless plug to declutter and simplify your toy collection! There are countless articles out there summarizing the findings of studies which have shown that the fewer toys your child has, the more likely they will play with them AND the play will be higher quality. So go ahead, grab a box or two, label it “donations” and walk through your home right now to find some of those items. I promise you that they’re hiding (or in plain sight) somewhere! Be ruthless - it’s okay, you’ll thank yourself later. And remember, you’re the gatekeeper of your home and what enters it so be thoughtful about what you choose to add to your kid’s toy collection in the future!If you’re looking for more organizing tips, be sure to follow us on Instagram and our other social platforms. Our DMs are always open and we’re here to help parents make life just a little bit easier!