Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stump the Organizer! Dealing With Toy Clutter

It's Thursday and time for "Stump the Organizer!" This week's question comes from Bonnie who has five year-old twins.

Bonnie emailed this question: "My children’s toys are everywhere! We thought making a playroom was the right thing to do but they hardly use it. Our house is small and there isn't a lot of room in the twin's bedroom. What can we do to keep the toy clutter from taking over our house?"

Young children want your company. I suspect the reason the toys are everywhere is your children follow you throughout the house with their companions, the toys. On the positive side, it's a whole lot easier making sure your children are happy and safe if they are following you. To keep the toy clutter from endangering your sanity follow these guidelines.
  • *Set up some areas as toy-free zones. There is no reason for toys to be in the adults' bedroom, the formal living room (assuming there is an informal family room) and the foyer. There may be other areas in your home that are not conducive to play. Setting limits allows you to keep control on the amount of toy clutter.
  • *Set up a small amount of toy storage in each kid-friendly room. Shelves, bins, storage ottomans, ans baskets are useful to hold toys and keep the surroundings clutter-free. Keep the storage simple so it's easy for your children to access and use. Keep the number of toys relatively small to avoid overwhelming your children with options - and to limit the amount to pick up. Turn-about is fair play: you can set up a special adult area in the playroom. A comfortable chair, good lighting and a table provide you a place to work on a small project or read a book while your children play happily supervised.
  • *Establish a routine for clean-up. Some children can, and will, put one toy away before they get out another one with gentle reminding. Some children need to get a lot of toys out at the same time, and will need a specific clean-up time - such as before lunch. Make clean-up as fun as possible by singing a song (that clean-up song sung by the purple dinosaur served our family well) or making it a game.
Usually the best organizing solution goes with the flow rather than fight a natural tendency.

Thank you Bonnie for the question. I hope this provides you with the information you needed.

Do you have an organizing question or issue? Either email your inquiry to Denise@clearspaces.org or post it right here on the blog. Check here every Thursday for answers to your questions. You'll get information that you can use right now.
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