Here we are just before the Christmas holiday rush. For those of you who have finished your shopping…bravo!…you are part of an elite minority.
If you have little ones, or little ones to buy for, we like to offer some organization tips that have to do with quantity and quality. Now more than ever, we see bedrooms that spill into play rooms, that cross over into living rooms and kitchens, and basements. It is important for us to remember that as easily overwhelmed as we adults become with piles of stuff, so too, do our children.
Mounds and mounds of toys in every space make it difficult for children to discern what to play with, but also hinders their ability to understand how to properly put toys away. If items are on shelves and on floors and under beds and in toy chests, our kids won’t have a simple concept of where things belong when it comes time for pick up. To keep it simple for kids and adults, we like assigning one home for each type of item. For example, a bin for Barbies, a tub for trains, a toy chest for sport gear, etc.
This requires attention to quantities. It also requires knowing which items are important enough to keep and to store properly. Before the next round of toys arrive, we would like to suggest four ways to get your inventory under control:
1. Remove all toys that no longer match your child’s age
2. Remove all toys that no longer have ALL the pieces included
3. Donate any gently used toys that are not loved as much as the ones about to be unwrapped and enjoyed. This can be a fun ritual for your child who can help prepare the toys for another child to love at Christmas.
4. Reducee items where there are already large volumes. For example, reduce the number of books or games, stuffed animals, or costumes, etc in which quantities are high. Your child can have as much fun with 6 dress up costumes as they can with 30. Again, quantities easily overwhelm our children. Placing the right amount of items in front of our kids helps them stay interested and engaged.
Here are a few toy tips we think help with toy storage and accessibility:
1. When buying extra-large items like motorized toys or doll houses, etc, make sure you have the space to comfortably store the item long-term, or be prepared to remove some items to make room.
2. When buying toys with teeny tiny parts such as Legos or toys with small figurines, make sure that you have storage specific containers or even ziplock bags that will hold these small pieces. Also, be sure that your kids are at the right age to handle and put away the tiny parts. These items are difficult to organize for adults and really difficult to manage for little ones.
3. Plush animals are often displayed more than they are “played with.” Before buying stuffed animals, consider where they will be sitting and if space is available for them to be displayed. If your children suffer from allergies, we suggest skipping the plush toys.
4. If you own remote control items, we suggest using colored stickers to help match the remotes to the correct toy.
We hope your home and holidays are filled with joy and delight–rather than hard-to-manage clutter!
Happy holiday shopping!