Well, we blinked and the holidays have come and gone. All that remains are a few extra pounds and likely a heap of new toys, some of which have already been abandoned. If you’re anything like us, you’ve also been bingeing on Marie Kondo and are straight up not finding the spark of joy in all of this “stuff”.
Take a deep breath in. We’re right there with you.
I am a self-proclaimed control freak. I need to know where are all the toys are at all times. If a toy has a bunch of pieces, I have a need to get all the pieces back together. I am the mom emailing companies in the middle of the night asking if they sell replacement pieces because I cannot rest until I find the missing yellow ball. Tip: A lot of times the DO sell replacement parts and will occasionally send it for free. Serenity now!
My compulsion, however, does not equate to a clean, orderly house. I know where the parts lay within the chaos. Right now, I know the missing shape to my kids Magnadoodle-like toy is under his bed. When I go to retrieve it and it’s not there, I will tear his room apart until I find it. In which case, I will rediscover where many other toys have been hiding.
So, what’s a better way to control these neuroses? Organization!
I really like bins. However, if we can’t SEE the toys, there’s a good chance they won’t get played with. If they’re not being played with, no joy. Bye-bye toys! This is especially true for boxes with lids. I like open top boxes that hide the clutter but are easy to see into quickly.
I’m also a fan of clear storage boxes with lids. Currently, I am using some to store a tea set, play food and toy trains. They are great because they stack nicely! Plus, you can easily wash them which makes them great for storing toys that may get wet (tea set, this means you!).
I organize books by size/shape. All the board books are on one shelf while all the bigger books are on another. We keep books in the living room and in each kid’s room. They look so much nicer when they are thoughtfully organized.
I also have some bins in my living room that are separated by toy type. My categories include musical instruments, games, blocks (wooden, Tegu, MegaBlocks, etc.), art supplies, Play Doh, trains, Little People, shape sorting/stacking toys. Because my kids are at different developmental stages, it does seem like the toys start to consume us. Organization is key!
If your kids have outgrown a toy or it is broken, it’s time for it to move on. If it’s safe, give it away, donate it, or sell it. You will feel better letting it go! If you plan on saving it for future children, pack it up and move it out of your everyday living space.
If you feel like you have TOO many toys but are not ready to permanently part with them, put them in a box. Every week or so, switch them out. Your kids will feel like they are getting new toys. Plus, sometimes kids get overwhelmed when there are too many choices. Keep their imaginations healthy and stimulated by changing things up.
Don’t let the stuff get you down. Do your best to reinforce that when we are done playing with toys, it’s important to put that toy away before getting something else out. It’s hard to make good habits, but you’ve got this. Good luck!
Do you have some amazing tips to share with other parents? Leave them in the comments.