The Toy Trap.
So you can only just begin to imagine the mountains upon mountains of toys and assosicated bits and pieces that 5 spoilt children can clock up…
Infact, I can honestly say that there has been many a moment in the past where one could quite easily assume that the local ‘Toys-R-Us’ had exploded right through the entire length of our house.
Is this something that you can relate to?
Are you totally sick and tired of skidding up the hallway on a Tonka Truck like a rollerskate?
Are you fed up with tripping over Barbie’s Car, Jet, Wardrobe and everything else she owns?
Could you collect up all the Tea Sets scattered amongst the rubble and invite the entire neighborhood ’round for a cuppa?
Have you had just about enough of painfully prying the sharp edge of a Lego Block out of the heel of your foot?
Hmmm.. well if you are sitting there nodding along with me, fear not, as I am about to share my plan of action with you. It has been a good 12 months of trial and error but I have finally come up with a system that seems to be working for us.
My hope in writing this post is that someone, somewhere out there can take away some strategies and put them to use in their own home. Even if it is just one little thing that helps you, it will have been worth my time in writing this. So here goes…..
Firstly I would like to make a note that these random acts of organisation have been inspired by many things that I have seen done in the past, by countless different people and celebrity organisers.
This is my version of the TIDY TOY BOX!!
At my wits end I decided to start this process room by room. So the night before I asked the children to take all the scattered toys to their correct rooms. It didnt matter if they wern’t put away just aslong as i knew which room they belonged in. The next morning I made sure that the kids all had somewhere to be. You will not achieve success with helpers…. I can guarantee it.
In each room I took 2 garbage bags.
Bag One: for the rubbish, so any toys that were broken beyond immediate repair….. IN THE BIN BAG.
Bag Two: for anything that was still ok but the child had grown out of, didnt play with anymore or simply has 12 of…. This bag is for your local OP-SHOP / CHARITY Shop.
Right get rid of these two bags before the cherubs return or they will be fishing through it and undoing your hard work.
Now you’ve cleaned out and decluttered, you need to take a look at whats left. Place the sentimental teddy /doll on the bed or a shelf if your child is too ‘grown up’ for that. Theres only so many of the similar soft toys they can use to be a bit ruthless and cull a few more.
Purchase yourself 2 decent sized plastic storage tubs. Now comes the fun…. Divide whats left into 2 fairly equal piles. For example… A doll in each tub, A tea set in each tub, A toy pram in each tub, A truck in each tub. As long as its fairly well divided with a range of toys and some variety you’ll hit the nail on the head.
Now the idea behind this is that:
Tub1 = Toys out to be played with this week / fortnight (What suits you best)
Tub 2 = Toys out to be played with the following week / fortnight.
So if you rotate the tubs regularly, the children will maintain interest in the boxes and you will only have half the amount of stuff lying around. I should point out that the spare toy box should be well hidden otherwise at the first hint of bordom they will be on the search for it.
I do think its fair that if your child is focused on one particular toy from the first box at swap over time, allow them to keep it out but in return for a trade from the other box.
Now that’s the toy box / bedroom sorted. If your place is anything like ours you have probably collected some larger toys and sports equipment along the way aswell. I have stored things like large plastic kitchens, doll change stations and cots outide in the cubby house. Toy mowers, Tonka trucks and the like also live outside. If you have an excess of a particular kind of toy, eg: tea set or a doll, set it up outside so they dont have to drag the inside toys out!
So in ‘THEORY’ all this sounds great but it takes some time going from utter chaos to a civil state of organised. Dont give up the moment something doesnt go to plan. Persevere with it, tweak it to suit your needs and do what works best for you.
It used to take us close to an hour to tidy up the rooms at the end of the day before bedtime. We’ve now got it down to between 5 and 10 minutes. Totally worth it in my world.
xoxox Jac xoxox