Managing your kids’ toys always feels like a daunting task – especially around birthdays or the holidays. When new toys come in, old toys need to go out. Unless you want to build an addition onto your home just to store all of those toys, you’re going to need to develop a simple system you can use. When you see more toys than floor, it’s time to get to work. It doesn’t need to be hard to deal with the colossal toy problem, and your kids can even help you do it.
1. Throw Away the Broken Stuff
Many toys just aren’t durable. Kids play with them a few times, and they break. They stop lighting up or making noise. The action figure’s arm will break off, or the doll’s hair gets tangled. Make sure all of the broken stuff finds its way into the garbage, rather than back into the toy pile. If you haven’t done a purge in a while, it’s time to start throwing things away. You can’t donate broken toys – no one will want to play with them.
2. Pick Out What to Donate
If there’s nothing wrong with a toy, you can always give it away. This includes toys your children got but never played with, things in good condition that they’re no longer interested in, or toys that are no longer age appropriate. Rather than throwing them out, donate them to children who need them. If you know someone with younger children, ask the parents if they’d be interested. If not, you can always donate them to charity or to a thrift shop. They’re always happy to receive toys in good condition.
3. Separate the Sentimental Stuff
If you still have your child’s first toys or there are sentimental things, like dollhouses, that they no longer use, you might want to keep them. You’ll have to find a place to put the things you want to keep that are no longer used. If you don’t have space in your home, you can inexpensively rent storage space on a site like Spacer. Setting them aside someplace safe will help you make room for the things your children are actively using.
4. Create Special Toy Areas
If you don’t already have one, create a “no toys all over the house” rule. This keeps things from getting lost and broken, and it will also help you keep your house cleaner. It’s easier to stay on top of the mess when it’s all confined to specific areas. Bedrooms and play areas are easier to clear for toys than the entire house. When your child is looking for something, he or she will always know where to find it.
5. Use a Kid Friendly Organizational System
You’re probably very busy. You don’t have time to pick everything up. Use a toy storage system that’s easy for your children to understand, and encourage them to pick up and put away their own toys. Things like color coded bins are helpful. You can also use several toy chests designated for specific kinds of toys. One box for puzzles and blocks, one box for stuffed animals, and one box for dolls. As long as it’s simple enough for your child to follow, he or she will be able to clean them up, while learning how to properly care for their belongings.
If you develop a great system and stick to it, it won’t take you much work to keep up with it. Your kids might even be able to take over and manage the whole thing themselves. Just make sure you check once a month to see that you aren’t holding onto things you don’t need anymore.
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