‘Tis the season to tame the toys! If your toy organization is on the naughty
list, there are some top tips for making nice just in time for Santa.
Studio 5 Contributor Kelly Pratt shares her tips for keeping toys in their
Tip: Purge. Often.
The likelihood of having toys that are no longer played with or broken
increases over time. If you have many toys, this likelihood increases
exponentially. Consider how many toys your children can play with and pick
up realistically and send overage on its way. Remember to involve children in
this process, and give them the opportunity to practice prioritization and
donation. If you can’t bear to part with certain toys that are infrequently
played with, put them in long-term storage for a few months. When you
bring them out again, your kids will have fresh toys to play with.
Tip: Minimize the number of areas where you store toys.
If you have toys in your kids’ bedrooms as well as in the family room, the toy
room, and the basement, consolidate into one or two areas where the most
play happens. If at all possible, remove toys from bedrooms.
Tip: Contain effectively.
Many toy containing systems are built for parents, not children—which
means that parents, not children, put the toys away. Keep in mind the
. Containers should be the smallest size possible to effectively hold what
you’re storing. For example, shoebox-size containers are great for Barbies,
cars, Legos, etc. Larger containers should only be used for super-sized toys.
. Use separate containers for each toy category. If you want to maintain
your own sanity and make toys more accessible, this is the single-most
important thing you can do in your organizing. This tip means bye, bye toy
. Make sure containers are not too heavy for children to handle.
. Use clear containers where possible so children can see what the
container holds before removing its contents.
Some favorite toy storage containers are wire cubes from Target; cloth cubes
from Target, Walmart and Smith’s Marketplace; and 12- or 16-quart clear
Sterilite containers from Walmart.
Tip: Hang up the dress-ups.
Use either a low curtain rod in the closet or create a small wardrobe for
dress-ups and costumes. Hanging up dress-ups will eliminate the piles of
fluffy pink dresses and Superman costumes that surface when kids have to
dig them out of a bin.
To make it easier for your children to get out their toys AND put them away,
labeling is a MUST. Labeling will help maintain toy containers as well as the
space where you store your toys. Remember, small children will likely need
picture rather than word labels. You can use everything from cameras to clip
art to vinyl for toy labels. The most important thing is to just do it!
Tip: Create a pick-up routine.
Whatever your play rules (e.g. only one container out at a time), establish
pick-up times and enforce them.