Confession time: I’m a perfectionist and a neat freak, definitely type A personality. But being a full-time working mom and having a side-hustle blog and DIY projects, I just can’t keep my house tidy 100% of the time. Most days, it is chaos. Have you ever stepped on legos? Then you know what I’m talking about, the kid’s toys contribute significantly to the disorder, and it is so hard to keep all the toys organised! But I do prefer to have things in a general order or system so that I can easily clean up the house when necessary.
Tips to help you set up a system for toys to help keep your house organised
They say that when you have kids you will either keep your sanity or have a tidy house, but you can’t have both. I just couldn’t accept that. Most days there are toys lying everywhere in the house, but it literally takes us 5 minutes to get everything back in place, simply because we have a system and know exactly what goes where. So today I’m sharing a couple of tips that work in our personal experiences. This is not, by all means, the best or only way to keep your kids’ toys organised, but it is mostly working for us.
1. Limit the Choices
I don’t buy a lot of toys, but somehow it all adds up with birthday presents and spoils from friends and family, so we do have a lot of toys and books. I try to use the one in, one out rule. Before birthdays specifically, I purge some toys. I donate them if they are in working order. My kids are still too small to understand why mommy is taking toys away, but soon, I’ll start doing the purging exercise with my oldest son. Having fewer toys definitely helps to minimise the chaos.
When they were babies, I did not put all the toys out all at once. I kept half of the toys and books hidden and rotated them every month or so. That way, we had fewer toys lying around, and to my kids, it felt like new toys every time we rotated them. This way, the kids will have more fun, and it is easier for you to keep the toys organised! Win, win!
2. Use containers and make them pretty
A storage system is essential. I have plastic crates where most of the toys go in. The plastic crates go in my oldest’s toy cupboard. I then try and limit my kids to only play with the contents of one container at a time. We have to pick up and put away the crate if they want to play with something else. The same concept works with books or puzzles.
Make the containers pretty. And now I’m not talking about making it pretty and colourful for the kids, but for you as well. If you don’t have a playroom or toy cupboard and the toys are out in the open, use baskets, chests, storage-ottomans or crates. Baskets add texture to the room, and if you are lucky enough to pick up a small chest, it will add tons of character.
3. Have designated areas for toys
Don’t allow the toys to take over the entire house. Yes, we have times where every single room, including the shower and the whole yard, are littered with toys, bikes and balls! It happens to all of us, and we are no exception. But I try and limit where they are stored when they are stored.
We do not have a playroom, so my kids mostly have their toys in their bedrooms. Other than that we have a crate or two in our family room and the cute chest in the dining room where there is enough floor space for the Lego Duplos. Everything has a container, be it a basket or plastic crate. This way, we know exactly where it goes when it is time to tidy up. My 3-year old can even help with the process because he knows where to put the cars, balls, etc.
4. Use Labels to keep the toys organised
Label the containers, to keep it all organised. I haven’t done this yet, but I plan on designing a set of labels, which I will offer as a free printable here once it is done. Until then, you can head to my Pinterest organisation board, where I’ve pinned a couple of free printable labels.
5. Set some rules
We all need some rules to follow. We try and get most toys back in place every night before bedtime, but at least once a week we do a big clean-up. This way, the mess does not get too big. If you organise the toys regularly, it will be easier to handle.
Also, involve your kids from an early age. Our kids can help with chores from a young age, and if we involve them sooner, so much the better. I’m not saying turn your house into a prison and let them do all the work, no. But if we shut our children out from an early age, we are telling them “you can’t do it, and I can do better” and chances are later in life they will not be willing to help around the house. We try to involve our kids in everything (age-appropriate chores), and that includes helping to tidy up toys. They learn to take responsibility for what is theirs in this way as well.
Bonus – Take some time off to play with your kids and enjoy it
This is the most important point I want to make today. Take some time to play with your kids. Time goes by too fast, and our kids grow up way too quickly, so make sure to be present in the moment. My oldest son loves it when we build legos with him, and when I read a book to my youngest, his smile lights up the room.
Have a system in place to help you organise the toy clutter and set the rules. But be sure to bend the rules sometimes and just enjoy life with your kids!
I would love to hear from you in the comments below if you have tips to share, or tell me what your favourite playtime activity is with your kids!
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I’ll be back soon with another kitchen update, so be sure to check-in.