If there is one area in your home that seems to need organization again and again, it’s probably any place where your kids keep all their stuff! I don’t know about your kids, but mine are constantly moving from one activity to the next, leaving a trail of toys throughout the house. Having simple systems in place for getting things quickly put back together at the end of the day is essential for all of us!
Step 1: Clear out everything
My favorite tip for organizing ANY space is to make it harder to keep things than to get rid of them. If I’m organizing a closet, I take every single thing out so that it’s actually more work for me to put it back. I have found that if I open a closet and just take out what I think needs to be removed, there are all kinds of unused items stashed in the corners that I never get out.
However, when I take out every single thing, it’s actually more annoying, tiring, and overall more work to put the items back in. The same goes with any space that you are organizing: always remove everything, wipe down your shelves, sweep, and then start to slowly add back your absolute favorite things. Once you get tired or you like the way the space looks, stop and let the rest of the things go!
Step 2: Let Your Kids Help
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “If I let my kids help, absolutely nothing will get done.” But think about it this way: if your child knows you are sifting through their stuff, using YOUR judgment to decide what should go, it may create a scarcity mindset for them where they all of a sudden panic and want to keep everything. It’s much better to just let them be involved from the beginning. The good news is that, if everything is cleared out of the closet, your kid will eventually get tired of putting things back, too. THEY will be the ones who feel the work and eventually stop adding their “favorite” things. Children should be able to understand the end goal and help with this by age 4-5.
Step 3: Let Your Kids Feel the Benefit of Giving
Giving increases happiness in humans, big and small. It makes us feel helpful, socially connected, and is even good for our health. Sure, you can encourage your child to sell their toys at a yard sale and learn about entrepreneurship, and those kinds of activities have their time and place. However, donating allows children to develop empathy and gratitude by introducing them to the concept that not all children have toys, not all parents have extra money with which to buy their children toys, not all children have consistent homes in which to live.
Kids don’t have much, so there aren’t many times where our young children have opportunities to donate. This is a great opportunity for them! Help them cultivate kindness, empathy, and gratitude through this generous act! Some ideas of places where they can donate old toys are: churches, daycares, preschools, Goodwill, or Salvation Army. This year, one of my kindergarteners donated some of his old Lego people (a very hot ticket item in Kindergarten!) to our class. At Morning Meeting, he said, “these used to belong to me, but now they belong to all of us.” *queue my heart melting*
Step 4: Limit the Number of Toys Kids Can Access
Take it from a Kindergarten teacher, you do not want kids to have access to more than they can put away! I am a big fan of only giving children access to the items that they play with the most. In Premium Joy’s graph below, it’s pretty clear that the majority of children (59%) play with a maximum of 10 toys from their entire collection. I can name the top 5 for my boys right off the bat, I bet you can name your kids’ top 5, too! So, don’t feel guilty if you want to pare down your child’s toy collection or implement a toy rotation with the rest of their toys! And there’s more, a 2018 study found that children actually have a happier, healthier playtime when they have access to fewer toys.
Step 5: Store Your Children’s Toys Beautifully
Once you have your child’s favorite toys selected (remember, 10 or less!), find a way to display them beautifully. I am a big fan of Montessori shelves (here’s an affordable set on Amazon). IKEA also has two great shelving options for young children: the Kallax shelves (great for bins or large toys like trucks) and the Trofast collection (perfect for toys such as blocks or Hot Wheels). All of these shelving systems are sturdy and offer clean lines and simple designs, which will help your child focus on the task at hand: playtime!
I love storage baskets that are made from natural materials because they have a calming effect, and can offset the bright plastic material that most toys have. For smaller toys, such as Legos or Magna-Tiles, I also like storing them in containers that aren’t necessarily “kid” containers. For example, my boys have their Magna-Tiles in an old metal laundry canister, and their Legos in a different canister, both with lids so that those tiny pieces are easily contained!
Hopefully you’ve been able to get excited about getting your child’s toys organized! Playtime is such a magical and important part of childhood. Having play areas in our homes that are inviting, easily accessible, and filled with a few toys our children love will ensure that they (and you) get the most out of playtime! You can shop my recommended toy storage solutions here!
Let me know below if there are any specific things you’re looking for or things you’d like to try out for your child’s playroom! Chances are, I’ve tried something similar and can let you know how well it worked!
Follow @organizedcharm on Instagram for more organization tips!
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