Are you tired of you asking your child to "please clean up your toys" for the thousandth time or tripping over their toys left scattered around their bedroom?
In today's material world, many kids are in "toy overload" and, without a system to keep these items in order, it's not that they don't want to clean up after themselves; it's that they just don't know how.
The key to teaching our children valuable organizing skills is to create fun simple solutions that they can easily understand, which in turn will make cleaning their room seem more of a game than a chore.
The following are seven steps you can take to downsize and organize your children's toys.
Just as teachers can teach our children their ABC's, it's vital to parents to teach children the importance of organization starting from a young age. In fact a child can begin to learn the main building blocks or organization as soon as they can recognize colors.
As with any organizing project, teach your children the art of simplicity by weeding out the toys they hardly play with, have outgrown or don't like. This lesson can be followed by the valuable gift of giving as you explain to them that these toys will be donated to Goodwill or a local shelter to help a child less fortunate.
Take the remaining piles of toys and separate them into categories such as building blocks, cars, action figures, Barbie's, books and dolls.
Together with your child, create simple organizing solutions for all the toy categories you made. If your child feels involved from the start, they will most likely stick to the system they helped to develop.
Here are seven organizational solutions you and your child can explore and discuss to help get their toys in order.
- Keep each toy category organized by placing them in clear plastic labeled containers. These can easily be stored in your child's closet or beneath their bed. Clear plastic bins makes it easier for the child to see what inside each container so that they can easily put their toys away in their appropriate home.
- Plastic shoebox containers are perfect for containing smaller toys or accessories such as hot wheels and Barbie clothing. For example, my daughter kept all her Barbie's as well as a separate accessory container stored together in one large plastic container.
- Install height appropriate & adjustable shelving around the perimeter of your child's room. Designate and label areas on the shelf to keep stuffed animals, games, books and collectibles neat and off the floor.
- Over the door shoe bags are also a great alternative to keep smaller toys organized, visible and contained in their own-labeled pocket.
- Open big bins or laundry baskets make a great home for storing larger items such as sports gear, blocks and bulky toys.
- Due to allergies and dust mites, I am not a big fan of allowing children to keep a large collection on stuffed animals. To avoid conflicts, I compromised by placing the majority of them in a toy hammock which hung in the corner of my daughters room. These can hold a large amount of your child's stuffed favorites tucked away in a corner and off the floor. On a side note, even adults may have a hard time parting with these snuggly friends. My son's wife, an avid Disney enthusiast and collector of all things Tigger, actually has a magazine rack from an old retail store which she uses to keep her stuffed Tiggers' off the floor and displayed neatly.
- Pretty baskets or colorful plastic bins make it easy for kids to keep their toys put away, and even help you teach them valuable skills and habits along the way. If more than one child shares a room, or if you have a lot of toys (and who doesn't?) you might have different colored containers for each child or for various types of toys. Billy's toys are in the green container, while Randy's are in the blue, for example.
Label with Words or Pictures: When it comes to organizing kids rooms, labeling often saves the day. Design simple vivid labels through your computer printer.
To help your child remember what proper container or shelves their toys should be returned to, tape a picture (for non-readers) or colorful sticky with the word (for readers) of the toy in its appropriate spot.
Moreover, for non-readers by creating large-type wording with a photo, you will be enhancing the reading skills of your child.
Your child may not be aware of it yet, but you are training them the basic principles of organizing kids rooms: putting all alike things in one place.
Just as children brush their teeth on a daily basis, allocating a set time in the morning or evening to have your child pick up their room will make maintaining their toys a breeze.
You can make it a game and habit at the same time. For instance, if you children love playing Lego’s, keep the pieces they are currently using in a red box while the rest can go in a green box. The same goes for the children’s books and tapes. The books will be at the blue shelf while the audiotapes will be in the yellow one.
Create a nighttime routine and have your child pick up the toys and place them in the appropriate designated spot just before bed.
Just as we love to be acknowledged for our achievements, take the time to acknowledge your child's accomplishments in this new organizing endeavor. Over time, the lessons taught organizing their toys will become a habit, which will spill over into all aspects of their home and school life.
The basic skills of organizing begin at home. Feel free to share this with other parents that you know. They will thank you for it.
© 2013 Debbie Tremblay
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Debbie Tremblay is the "Organizing Genie" a Professional Organizational Expert & Clutter consultant, writer, and speaker. Her passion in life is to use her lifetime of acquired organizing skill sets to help those who have had enough of clutter and disorganization and are ready to transform their homes and lives into an organized and clutter free oasis. You can learn more about here services at www.OrganizingGenie.com