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Simple Toy Storage Strategies and Solutions

Posted By Crystal Paine On April 27, 2010 @ 6:54 am In LITE Feed (non-deal) Posts,Living Simply | Comments Disabled

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Last week, we talked about how to cut down on toy overload [2]. Once you feel like you’ve pared your toys down to an amount which works for your family, here are some ideas for storing them so you’re not constantly tripping over them:

1. Have a Designated Place for Toys

If you wonder why there are constantly toys all over your home, it just might be because you’ve never created a home for the toys. If you and your children don’t know where the toys are supposed to be put away in the first place, it’s hard to put them away. So not only does it help to pare down the number of toys you have, but it also is very helpful to designate places for the toys you own.

At our house, toys stay in the girls’ room and the basement. If toys are brought into the living room or kitchen, we encourage the girls to promptly return them to their places once they are finished being played with. We have a few shelves in the basement for books and toy tubs and then a section of their closet to put dolls and doll things. We store arts and crafts along with the rotating toy bins (see more on this below) in the school room closet.

Need help getting started designating a place for your toys? Check out Five Steps for a Pared Down Playroom [3].

If You Have More Than One Child

If you have more than one child, it might be helpful to have assigned areas for each individual child’s toys and then a place for toys that everyone shares. You might consider having a tub or shelf labeled with each child’s name. Perhaps this could also be a way to deal with toy overload as well: when the shelf or tub is full, you can’t get any new toys until you get rid of some that you already have.

See how Kate implemented this in her home [4].

2. Pick Up What You Get Out

Train your children from an early age to pick up their own toys and messes. It takes work, effort and consistency to teach children to be assets to the home rather than liabilities, but it does pay off.

Training is practicing doing something again and again and again in order to get it right. Don’t expect your children to be able to pick up all the toys and put them away perfectly the first time you ask them to. It’s going to take showing them what’s expected, helping them do it correctly, gentle encouragement and lots of practice. But, with time and practice (and patience!), your children can learn to pick up after themselves.

Set a Good Example!

Observe your own actions over the course of a week: are you often leaving things out instead of putting them away in their designated places? Do you pick up what you got out? If not, I encourage you to start working on the person you see in the mirror first. You can’t expect your children to pick up after themselves if you’re not setting an example of doing the same.

{Ouch! I’m preaching to myself here!}

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Once you’ve pared down your toys, have a designated place for toys and are training your children to pick up what they get out, likely the majority of your toy organization problems may be solved. But here are a few ideas if you’re still looking for some practical suggestions:

::The Rotational System

If you feel like you have too many toys, but you don’t want to part with what you have, consider a rotational toy system. Put away half the toys for a month. After a month, put away the toys you currently have and get out the toys which were put away. You could even do this on a quarterly basis [6].

This method can help you to see what toys your children really like and use. It also might help encourage more contentment with you already have since your children will probably feel like they are getting “new” toys quite often–when really it’s just the same old toys they’ve always had being presented in a new way!

::Days-of-the-Week Tubs

This idea has so many variations, but the basic gist is to divide most of the toys in your home into seven groups and put them in seven different tubs labeled with the days of the week. Your children can then play with the appropriate tub each day. It keeps things rotated and fresh, while creating less mess. We’ve done variations of this in our home with great success.

See how Stephanie implemented this in her home [7].

::Friend Toy Swap

This idea came from The Bargain Shopper Lady [8]:

My boys started a “friend toy swap” which is their idea of giving to their friends. Anytime they have a friend over to play, they let their friend choose one toy to take home. I approve all toys before the friend leaves just in case they are trying to give something away, such as “their brothers favorite toy” or something that they just got and is still pretty new. This method is great for us! We have friends over often and it really helps with the clutter!  My children are also learning that they really enjoy giving toys they don’t play with as often to their friends!

Always Remember: “The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things”

Amy from Amy’s Finer Things [9] often says this, and it’s so true. I loved the example Kendra gave of making a cardboard laptop [10] for her daughter. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to keep a child contented, happy and busy!

What strategies and solutions do you use in your home to keep the toys from taking over your life? Tell us in the comments.

photo credit: hownowdesign [11]


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URL to article: http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/04/simple-toy-storage-strategies-and-solutions.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://moneysavingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/playroom1.jpg

[2] how to cut down on toy overload: http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/04/dealing-with-toy-overload-part-2.html

[3] Five Steps for a Pared Down Playroom: http://parentingthetiniestofmiracles.blogspot.com/2010/02/five-steps-to-pared-down-playroom.html

[4] Kate implemented this in her home: http://asimplewalk.blogspot.com/2009/02/toys-toys-toys.html

[5] Image: http://moneysavingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/playroom.jpg

[6] quarterly basis: http://planningwithkids.com/2008/06/19/rotating-the-childrens-toys/

[7] Stephanie implemented this in her home: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2009/03/quiet-time-bins.html

[8] The Bargain Shopper Lady: http://www.TheBargainShopperLady.com

[9] Amy’s Finer Things: http://www.amysfinerthings.com

[10] making a cardboard laptop: http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2010/04/her-new-laptop/

[11] hownowdesign: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hownowdesign/

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