Whether you have 1 child or 8, you probably have issues with stuff! It seems like their toys, clothes and crafts multiply overnight, no matter how hard you try to keep up with it. Fortunately, there are some quick and easy tips for getting a handle on the kids’ stuff:
- Take inventory of your child’s things – are there toys that are broken (discard), or that he/she doesn’t use any more (donate)? Have your child help you sort through the toys and learn about giving to others at the same time.
- Sort remaining items into like piles – puzzles/games, stuffed animals, trains/cars, etc.
- Remember that your child may not NEED every toy that he has! Rather than keeping 20 trains, have him pick his favorite 3 or 4, and donate the others. Chances are he’s not playing with all 20 anyway!
- Find a storage solution that works for you. Most home décor stores have lots of things to choose from. One idea is to use a cubby-type system with bins or baskets to hold items.
- You can also use hanging systems to keep things off the floor, such as shoe bags or hammocks. Make sure you hang them low enough for the child to be able to reach what she needs.
- Once you have organized the toys, establish a routine to KEEP it organized! Have the child learn some basic “ground rules” – set a limit for how many toys can be brought out at a time, and have your child put them back when done. You can make it a ritual that happens right before bedtime or immediately after playing is over, but the key is to make it a habit that your child learns to keep.
There are as many options for storage as there are people who want to store things, so browse through catalogs and store websites to get an idea of what works in your space and your budget. If the task seems daunting to you, seek the help of a Professional Organizer. Many of us offer Virtual Organizing (all done through pictures and emails) as a time and budget-friendly alternative to coming to your home.
Involve your child in all aspects of this process, and it will be more likely to “stick”! By having them help you, they will take ownership in the process and learn valuable lessons at the same time!