Monday, March 23, 2009

Anti Clutter Toy Organizing

Those that know me know that I'm anti clutter. One thing that kids are good at is accumulating stuff. After every Christmas and birthday I go through our toys and get rid of the things that we don't use or have grown out of to make room for the new things. I have found that when there are too many toys out or if the toys are disorganized then the kids wont play with them. I think that we currently have too many toys but we have a big space so they are all spread out. Here is the system that works for us.

In the family room we have these three boxes (that can be used as seats when we have a large gathering). On top is the US puzzle, this color/shape/size puzzle and one other favorite toy that gets rotated from a small group of things that I have stored away. One box contains the Lego's, and the other two have various animals, electronic games, lacing and threading toys. On the other side of the room is their table and chair set that always has crayons and coloring papers. The desk area actually is the messiest area in the house (but you have all seen my desk before) with papers and crayons all over the place.

In the kitchen we have one cabinet full of toys that the girls can get into: playdoh, stamps, coloring books, Hullabaloo, foam ABC and animal stickers, puzzles. These things they are able to get to and use whenever they want but they are in the cabinet because I want to know when they are using them.
In the drawer above this are the things that they can use but that I have to get out: large stamp pads, markers, painting. This is also where I keep their 'boxed' puzzles. Kendall and Kate love puzzles but the boxed ones just take up too much room. Now as soon as we get a new one we place the pieces in a zip up bag and cut out the picture from the box to store inside as well.

Just to the right of that is the drawer that has supplies for them but it is my drawer that holds 'school' supplies. Supplies that I have gathered for that week's art projects, activity books....Just knowing that this drawer is only for me to open makes it that much more interesting to them. They are always ready to do whatever I pull out of here. On our cookbook shelf I keep all of our library books from that week; anytime I'm working in the kitchen the girls end up sitting here and reading together.

The girls are starting to play in their rooms a little more. They each have age appropriate toys that get rotated into their rooms. Kate's are stored on the bottom shelf of her changing table and there are a few books and big items in her closet (I'm going to buy a canvas box to put those items in.) She also has two small crates under her crib that she can pull out to play with (blocks and other small items). The dollhouse is currently here in Kate's room as well as her small reading chair.
Kendall usually reads when she is in her room but there are baskets with her toys in the closet (two larger ones on the floor not shown--Blocks & small beanie animals). I just noticed that there is a sippy cup in that basket, better go get that, ha.

Finally is their corner of the basement. This is where the majority of the toys (and all of the loud or noisy toys) are kept. This room is often a mess because I usually wont step foot down here. Eventually I'll wander down and get the girls to help get it all put back in place. A lot of the time the toys stretch clear across to the other side of the basement near Brian's work out equipment and his office. It is in this toy explosion that you will find the basket of dress up clothes, the puzzle table, the pretend play area, art easel, train and truck table, music corner and other large plastic colorful toys. We also have a small trampoline for those pent up energy days.
It helps to maintain my sanity and the girls actually play with all of it much more with everything organized and put away. I like that you aren't overwhelmed by kid stuff when you walk in the door. We generally clean up one thing before we move on to the next and my one rule is that the toys remain on the right level of the house (upstairs toys don't come down and basement toys don't come up).

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