When toys take over the house it makes you feel like you are covered in clutter! I know… with four kids, I’ve been there.
First thing is first… try to embrace it! Yes, I said that. I don’t meant to let your house be taken over by toys, but I do mean to try to see the beauty behind it. You have children that love to play… what a gift that is for you and for them! Your house is the place where you foster imagination, creativity, love, education, play, and so much more. It’s lived in and enjoyed… and that’s OK! You are creating wonderful memories for your children and for your family.
It can be very hard if you feel like your house is cluttered. That is completely different. Physical Clutter can lead to emotional burdens, which is not healthy for your family. Today we will get it under control!
When Toys Take Over The House: Make Rules and Set Boundaries
“Creating order will make childhood more enjoyable. Being surrounded with chaos is not fun for anyone!” ~Karen Meeter
Keep certain areas off limits… maybe the kitchen or your bedroom. I had a room growing up that we couldn’t play in, but I never even noticed. I just knew that I went in there to read books, or sit and talk to my mom, but our toys stayed in the playroom, or our bedrooms.
“My kitchen is off limits. Not to say toys don’t make it in there, it’s just that if someone is using the stove they are not to be in the kitchen. We got them their own little kitchen set that’s right in the living room off the kitchen itself an they can play there while I prepare and cook dinner just to avoid burns or cuts.” ~Roxi Jenson
Keep some toys up high. Small puzzles, markers, etc., can go on a tall shelf. These things are hard to clean up and require adult interaction, so save these toys for times when you can be right there, playing with them.
Teach your kids to put away ALL toys at night for safety reasons (if there is a fire or you need to leave the house, you don’t want to be tripping on toys.)
When Toys Take Over The House: Organize
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Find a system that works for you. Maybe it’s only having toys in their bedroom. Maybe you expand that to a bonus room. You decide!
“Start early to teach them about tidying when they are no longer playing with a toy and at the end of day, a big tidy up.” ~Lindsay Vlaar
Have a toy basket in each room, to be a “catch-all” for things that would migrate into the room.
Make a game out of taking the things back to their home. Our superheroes live in a box in the closet. When we clean up, we simply take them back to their bed!
Make it easy to clean up. We have a “blanket basket” for the kids blankets that they use to build forts. We have a “toy ottoman” that they can throw toys into when they are done. It’s easy, and they clean up quickly, no matter what room they are in.
Have a toy box in your living room that looks like a decorative seating bench. Once playtime is over, stow the toys away, and no one will ever know that you had a messy room 20 minutes ago!
When Toys Take Over The House: Get Rid Of Things
Go through your kids’ toys, and get rid of the ones that you don’t use. When toys take over the house, try to get rid of half. This is hard, but it will get rid of the things that your kids don’t use. It’s difficult for kids to find things to play with when they have so much that they can’t even get started!
Begin by decluttering one room at a time. I start in my child’s bedroom closet, move onto their bookshelf, and go from there.
Have a big clear-out every 6 months and get rid of toys that are no longer being played with or used.
When Toys Take Over The House: Try Something New!
Rotate toys! Have boxes of toys that are put away during winter months and come back out in the spring. It will be like a brand new toy to your child.
I love this idea to hide toys in the living room, from Your Modern Family, because our three-year-old daughter likes to play beside me, and I don’t want to sit in her room all day. I want her to be able to play in our living room, but I don’t want to see those toys once she goes to sleep.
Put away holiday-themed toys and get them back out the following year. It will keep them from getting lost or broken and your child will be so excited when the toy emerges again!
Clean up together before lunch, and again before dinner. Have a 20 minute clean-up together at the end of the day. Set a timer and try to beat it!
“Instead of getting toys out every day, let them help you. Give them simple tasks to do with you like folding washcloths, sweeping, putting away spoons, etc…” ~Susan Hutchinson
Try a toy carpet. If you have a large area rug or a corner section of the room that you would like to designate as the play area, put the toys there, and ask your children to keep the toys on the rug or in that space. This makes for easy cleanup (but it might be hard to teach this rule, at first!)
Remember that although toys need to be cleaned up ,when kids play near you, it’s only because they want to be where you are! Take it as a compliment and try to be patient. These years won’t last forever.
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