Save your Sanity and Declutter the Play Room with these Organizing Tips
Contributed by: Sara L., Eau Claire, WI
My name is Sara and I am a soon-to-be mom of two. Writing this article comes at the perfect time as I just moved my 2 year old toddler into the “big kid room”. Although I’ve only been fighting the toy and clothes organization battle as a parent for a few years, I have countless years of observing my family and friends as they’ve tried to figure out how to win the war as well.
As a result of these experiences and my own, I knew that I needed to trust my gut feeling of less is more when it comes to “things” for my kiddos. Here are just a few ways that I’m trying to strike a balance while keeping my sanity intact.
Overall note on organizing toys
Don’t spend a fortune on buying storage containers. You may have existing things that will meet your needs or visit a true dollar store as they have many good options. We’ve gotten lots of storage/organizing containers to make things more orderly whether it be in drawers, closets, pantries, etc. I’ll cover some specific examples throughout below.
Consistency is key, but be open to improvements
Whatever organization system you decide works best for you, try your best stick to it. Keep everyone in mind when figuring out where and how to store things. As a family, you’ll all be able to share the responsibility of picking up and everyone can participate. Oh and if your little one(s) or partner always put things in a “wrong” spot, consider incorporating this new way because it’s important to always be on the lookout on how to improve the shared organization process.
I was going through my pantry and found some expired hot chocolate in cylinder canisters. (Side note: does that stuff ever go bad?) Instead of tossing them into the recycling I kept them and now they are perfect containers for crayons and markers. Added bonus, they are easy enough for her to access and put away, too. I thought about wrapping them with a fun contact paper to match her room, but we decided she could color on them instead.
We opted for floating shelves at a lower height so she can reach books and help put them away as well.
We haven’t moved all of her clothes yet so we happen to have the lowest drawer of her dresser open. In a quick clean up act, we threw some toys in there. Now I’m considering leaving it that way because she can easily get in and out of it. And it allows me to easily hide away the clutter.
*Reminder to attach dressers to walls if your child might pull on it.
I’m all about a toy that is self-containing. Both the ToyVentive wooden activity cube and puzzles offer that! As a mom, I don’t mind leaving them out either because they are cute and sleek plus look organized with the other toys. BIG WIN in my book!
We have an old plastic 3 drawer tower storage that used to hold clothes when we were back in college. It fits perfectly in her closet and now we have some less popular toys of hers in the bottom drawer so if she seems to be getting bored with her current toys we “rediscover” them. Many times she’s excited to play with them for a night and then they are back to being contained and out of the way until the next time.
The other two drawers hold all of her shoes that aren’t currently in use and the top one has toys or shoes she’s grown out of so I can move them all together when it gets full and they’re out of the way until rotated out.
Toy rotation is also great if there are toys that hold meaning to you and don't want to get rid of but might not want out all the time. Try grouping toys into categories such as "spring toys", "winter toys" or "special occasion toys". Check out the blog post on how to get rid of too many toys if you need more ideas!
It’s really hard to keep up with the clothes rotating especially if you live in a place that has many seasons. We adopted the Marie Kondo folding style early on and as a result have two shallow bins (dollar store) in each of her dresser drawers that allow us to see all of her clothes at a glance instead of having them in one big pile.
*Side note we have adopted this folding style for our clothes as well and it’s been working for us.
A challenging part of the clothes rotation process is when your little one starts growing out of a specific size: a) it seems like the same size can vary depending on what brand it is, and b) you can love a certain piece of clothing on your kiddo and it makes it challenging to switch out.
Many times we will put them in a piece of clothing and realize it’s getting small. Typically we have them wear it one last time and then set it aside after the next washing to be rotated out. If we are going through a big switch out of a size, we’ve committed to remove all of one size even if some might still fit. It helps us keep the process as efficient and sane as possible.
If the play space/room is starting to get messy, make your little one pick up one toy before another is brought out if possible. Now let’s all be realistic, this can’t always be done. However, when you can dedicate the time and patience to reinforcing this, your little one will develop some really valuable tidying up skills.
Finally, Less is More
Investing in quality toys or letting your little one(s) “play” with everyday things like pots and pans will naturally help you cut down on the number of things you need to organize or store. Also, don't forget about thrift stores or garage sales to help get a few “new” toys here and there. Plus, you can always drop some off that no longer get love at your house to help keep the clutter down.
Hopefully some of these tips come in handy for you! Remember, moments with your little one(s) go quickly and there are better ways to invest your time than feeling overwhelmed by clutter or constantly putting away toys. Read more about why less is more when it comes to toys!
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