Kids today have so many toys, hobby bits and pieces, and general stuff! When we provide systems to help keep this organised we are giving our children the opportunity to develop a life skill that will help them for the rest of their life.
Here are some tips:
- Boxes. I store all my kids toys in boxes – so they pull out one box to play with. Each box has a playset in it – so all the blocks are in a box, but the cars maybe in the same box because the boys play blocks/cars/animals at the same time. The dolls were all in one box; teasets in one box; recycled boxes, glue etc all in one box; train tracks one box; playdough stuff one box. And so forth. If I don’t have enough cupboard space then the theory is a box has gotta go. Good theory! One I’m working on.
- Boxes are labelled. A home for each box – so the box gets put back in the same place on the shelf. At one time I labelled the shelves.
- One box down at a time – unless you ask. Some times their imagination games do take them into more than one box. They need to ask so that we know we have enough time to pack up such an amazing complex game!
- Have a declutter / purge before birthdays and Christmas. It needn’t be announced to the kids what you are doing (or why) as that may make them think more on all the ‘stuff’ they are about to receive. But I find making a home for things that you know are coming into the home makes sense.
- The kids have a box for their paper stuff. If they have more than that box they need to declutter it. This is for their cards, and bits that they want to keep. My daughter went through a stage of keeping pink labels from clothes that we bought – now she won’t have a thing to do with Pink.
- As the kids get older toys turn into hobby stuff. Same principles apply. Boxes. One box at a time. Pack away before a new box comes out.
- Rotating boxes often works – but you have to have two storage places. I have often rotated front to back of a shelf and that helps. I rotate board games – pulling a few out to the lounge room every so often.
- Have your organisation of your kids stuff – toys, books, art supplies,in such a way that they can understand the system – so they can use it themselves.
- Help them sometimes. I know there are days that I’d like my mum to take over – it is all just too big for me. Well, our kids feel like that too. Sometimes I would just pick up for them, or help them pack away or organise their cupboard.
When we teach our children to look after their toys we are beginning training in the area of Responsibilities and the character trait of Orderliness.
Tips from other Readers
Jillian, Australia Have one central toy box, and tell the children that they need to place all toys back into it when they have finished playing with them.
We told our children that, “If you can’t clean it up, don’t make a mess.”
Our children have always cleaned up after themselves, even at an early age. My son takes pride in keeping the school room clean, now – sometimes it is a pain, especially when you are looking for something, but he’s extremely neat and tidy – a place for everything and everything in its place. I’m just thankful that God has given me one perfectionist! 🙂 Belinda Letchford When my children were young we did have a central toy box and that stored everyday toys and toys that visiting children played with. I found though that if the box was too big, good stuff got lost down the bottom and was never played with. Amy, Peru Little girls toys can be a boon to any girl (big or small) to clean up. SO many little pieces! Same thing with Legos! We have a rule that each kids’ room can have one many part toy down at a time. The other boxes are stored up on the top shelves of their closets. The rule is there because it is nicest to play in a neat and organized room, and even the tidiest girl/boy will have difficulty if there are just too many things to deal with at a time.
So, my daughter will rotate between, Polly Pockets, Loving Family dollhouse, and her pretend kitchen stuff. Each box will stay down for a couple of weeks, and when she’s grown tired of it, then she’ll organize it and we’ll store it away for a while once again. Each time the toys seem new and fresh again when they come out of the closet.
In the boys room, they have come to the point that they mostly just play with Legos. But we practice the same theories as you’ve already outlined above as for other toys. If we don’t have the time to clean them up, they don’t come out. Also, though I ask them to put all the toys away each evening, the projects/buildings that they’ve made can stay out as long as they have a place on the shelf.
They now have a display shelf that as soon as that’s full, they have to throw something away, or dismantle it to make room for something new. It also serves as a place out of reach of small fingers of younger brothers and sisters.
It is always a challenge with multiple aged children. Sometimes I feel that my whole house is full of toys! So, we’ve downsized and limited what toys our kids can keep (even gifts!). They all play with each other’s toys too.
Whoa. I could go on, but I won’t 🙂 Jess Guest We have the boxes and a one at a time rule. We also have a rule that anything left out at bedtime gets put in MY black box. This box is kept up out of the way. When there is nothing out at bedtime, they get to choose something out of the black box. When it is empty, they have the pleasure of a clean house and use of their toys! If my black box is full and there are STILL things left out – I get to choose things to go to charity. It took a couple of garbage bags going to charity, but the black box has been empty for a few months now.