Where do you fall on the scale of organisation? Do you love your house to be neat all the time, or could you not care less about the clutter? I expect most people are somewhere in the middle, but anyone with children will know what a futile task it is trying to keep a house tidy with them around. No sooner have you cleaned one room, they are spreading their toys around another part of the house!
The prospect of managing children’s toys can be overwhelming. It can sometimes seem like a never ending and impossible task keeping on top of the mess which encroach into every area of the house.
Over the years I have grown to hate clutter and my mind is so much calmer when my house is clean and clear, which in turn makes me a happier wife and mother at home. Of course toys and crafts are an important part of growing and learning so I do not begrudge my children that opportunity and I have to let certain ideals slip. However, I don’t believe that that means you have to let your children’s stuff take over your whole house so I have put strategies in place so that (in theory) at any time the house is only twenty minutes away from being ‘guest ready’. Now of course, it doesn’t always work and my house doesn’t look super tidy very much of the time, BUT it is generally pretty easy to keep clean and clear thanks to these organisational methods:
About a year ago I got rid of over half of all my children’s toys and books. I was absolutely sick and tired of feeling like everything was a mess and they weren’t even playing with a lot of it, and you know what? they barely even noticed that the stuff was gone but they miraculously started playing so much better with everything that was left.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ in your home then decluttering is the first place to start. It is amazing to realise how many things we hoard in our homes that we neither need or want, and it is SO freeing to let those things go. Just like adults, children are overwhelmed by clutter and disorganisation too. If their toys are all jumbled together or piled high then it’s likely that they won’t play with them because they don’t know where to start.
Before you start trying to organise using storage solutions for the toys:
- Work to your space. Decide how much room you have to store your children’s toys and try to de-clutter accordingly. If you only have one cupboard for games, one shelf for books or one basket for soft toys then only keep what will fit.
- Room by room, dump out all your children’s toys, games and books and look at every item with a ruthless mind. Is it broken? Does your child play with it? Have you already got lots of duplicate/similar items? Does it bring you joy?
It’s easy to feel guilty about getting rid of things that are in perfect working order or that were gifts, but unless your children are benefitting from it what purpose is it serving you? If you are worried about getting rid of stuff you could always store it somewhere out the way for a while to make sure your children don’t miss it, or even work on a toy rotation system.
Decluttering can seem scary, but once you see the benefits it is very addictive. Honestly, the more space I clear in my kid’s rooms the nicer they play. I think we sometimes forget that boredom, which leads to imaginary play is a very powerful and important tool.
Once you have decluttered your toys it’s time to think about…
Storage Solutions – have a place for everything
- Every item should have a regular spot on a shelf, inside a cupboard or in a toy box so that your child knows where to find it, and where it should be put away. Having a home for every object makes tidying up so much quicker and easier
- Using bins, baskets and bags to keep loose toys together can make even a complete jumble look tidy. It also means you can pull out one thing at a time, and tidying up is super easy because you just have to throw it in the right box. Try to separate things into themes, and not throw it all in together…for example we have different boxes for play food, drs set, hair dressing items etc.
- Use smart storage hacks to utilize your space. For example, I use A4 zipped plastic wallets to store our wooden puzzles; it keeps all the pieces together and they can be stacked upright.
- Keep toys out of sight in public areas. Of course this is down to personal preference, but as our home is used as our place of work as well as for our family I prefer to be able to hide all the toys away and have a ‘child free zone’ when I want. Nearly all the storage we have in our lounge is for children’s toys, books and crafts but as you can see from the photos we purposely bought furniture with doors and cupboards so that you can close the doors and give the illusion of tidiness even if everything is a mess inside!
Keep on top of the organisation
Once you have got yourself organised try to keep it that way by having regular clean ups. It is SO temping just to throw all the little bits in together when you’re tidying up but take that extra few minutes to make sure items go back to their designated place and you’ll save yourself time in the long run.
If you are feeling like your children’s toys are taking over the house and things are never clean why not try out these tips and see if you have any success? I would love to hear how you get on.