*Thank you to Jen Van Buskirk for this guest post about organizing your children’s toys to keep a clutter-free home!
I remember as a child I had a room FULL of toys, stuffed animals and ohhh the barbies…barbie clothes, barbie van, barbie fold-out bedroom, you name it. And let’s not even talk about the lego creations all over the house. Seems not much has changed for kids today. I’m seeing the same thing in almost all of my clients’ homes, they’re bursting at the seams! PLUS, the oh-so-popular and ohso-tiny pieces that threaten our feet and our sanity.
You see, I have every organizing tool in the book that will make your playroom look magazine-worthy and leave you breathing that sigh of relief and pure joy…until a couple hours later when the kids make their entrance and remind you that there’s a new sheriff in town.
Cue the TOY LIBRARY!
It’s time to take back control of your household and teach your little angels how to have fun with their toys, put them away, and maximize their toy loving enjoyment!
Here’s how it works:
- Create the toy library. Find a space in your home that you can store all your toys on shelves or in bins. Ideas include one part of the playroom, guest closet, or an extra storage space around the house. Don’t have that space? Let’s talk and find a way to create that space! Once you find it, I want you to categorize the toys by type, ie. stuffed animals, legos, toys that make noise, dress-up clothes, etc. and put them into a bin and label them.
- Explain the rules. It’s just like checking a book out at the library. Each of your kids are allowed to check out a certain amount of toys at one time…let’s say 3 – 6. They pick out their favorites and let the fun begin. When they get tired of one or all of their toys, they may return the toy and check out another one. It’s super easy! The key is they don’t have access to the toy library without your permission so you can make sure the rules are being followed. You’ll be amazed at how much fun they’ll get out of much fewer toys at any given time, and how much less chaotic your home becomes. It also encourages creativity and doing more outdoor activities, which is a huge plus!
- Toy “Time-Out”. Another part of this is teaching your kids to put their toys away. They only have a few toys at one time so this should be super easy. If you find toys laying out when they should have been put away, the toy then goes into “time-out”. Meaning, they lose access to that toy until it gets reincorporated back into the library (think restocking fee!). This can take a day up to a week, depending on how you want to approach it, and then they may check-out another toy at that time. This is a chance to teach them about taking care of their things and rewarding positive behavior.
- Makes decluttering easy. Another great result of using this system is you can more easily see what toys they don’t really care about. When they have to prioritize their favorite toys, you’ll start to see the ones that don’t make the cut and are great candidates for donation.
- “Bonus Toys”. Have a few toys that you want your kids to play with, maybe they’re educational or they encourage your kids to play together? Feel free to add one or two “Bonus Toys” that they can have in addition to their picks! Sneaky sneaky 🙂
That’s it! I guarantee that if you implement this in your household, you will transform
your previously toy-dominated home into one of fun, peace, intention, and ease!
About the Author
Jen is a native Ohioan who, after living in London, Chicago, and Australia, finally settled in Charleston in 2012 with her now husband Doug and their Lhasa Apso Amber. Since then, Jen found her passion for home organizing. She started The Neat Boutique to help Lowcountry Mom’s feel organized and love their homes again. Jen’s newest adventures include planning her upcoming Spain trip, arranging sunset beach get-togethers, and learning to macrame.