There are so many toys around the house! It seems like every step is over a pile of blocks, around a play structure, or through a jungle of stuffed animals. It’s frustrating, it clutters your brain, and if you step on one more pointy object hidden under a blanket you’re going to scream.
Toy organization is an ongoing problem for most households. There are dozens of things nobody’s played with in years, and dealing with the rest usually means “out of sight, out of mind”. Without a plan, when you’re busy and stressed out kicking stuff under the bed is about all you can handle.
Fortunately, there are answers! There are many excellent and sustainable toy organization solutions out there to help keep the household neat and tidy. And your little buddy who tends to sprinkle toys around the house? With some simple strategies to bring them into the loop you can make them an official member of team Toy Organization.
Here are our top four ideas to keep the mess in your house at a minimum.
1. Organize with a Routine
First things first: what helps kids organize? Have you noticed that your child’s classroom always looks clean and organized, but your house is a disaster area? You probably chalked it up to the custodian, but you couldn’t be more off the mark.
Classrooms are places of highly coordinated routines. The whiteboards, books, and art supplies all have a proper place, and taking them out and putting them back is as much about the ritual as it is the activity.
If you build in toddler toy organization as part of the play process, your child will understand that cleaning is just another playtime phase. As long as there’s an expectation and a system, they will be ready for clean-up before playtime even begins.
TODDLER TIP: Play a song when it’s time to put those toys away. It not only provides a pleasant cue and calming experience for changing activities, but it also puts a timer on accomplishing the task.
2. Everything In Its Place
Sometimes organization is a simple matter of making sure we use things for their intended purpose. The bookshelf is for books, the hat rack is for hats, and the armoire is for…
Sure, but think about the coat rack you installed on the back of your child’s door. Is it really a coat rack, or is it a jumprope-backpack-dreamcatcher-hat-kite-rack. Right. And the coat is sitting on the floor with the books that can’t fit on the bookshelf because the toys have taken over.
Reducing the storage solutions you have to their intended purposes is a great way of creating clarity, identifying areas you really need to invest in, and revealing what you need to edit. There are probably a lot of old toys and dry markers sitting on those shelves, and if you really need a place to put that extra junk? Junk drawer. After all, that’s why we have them!
3. One Toy Out, One Toy Back
With great freedom comes great responsibility. Or at least we think that’s what the superhero on those footy pajamas said.
Moderating the ebb and flow of playtime can feel very different to your child than a straight-up play-and-away strategy. If they want a new toy, then putting the old one back is a negotiation, not an order, and that feels very different. In the end, you all get what you want, and that means everybody wins.
TODDLER TIP: This is an old classroom trick that works well anywhere. If you don’t want to clean up thirty markers, then only put out three. Believe it or not, your little DaVinci’s artistic freedom may not be constrained by realism as our narrow adult minds seem to be.
I mean, have you seen the aquatic elephant-spaniels?
4. Creating Spaces
Take a zen moment and acknowledge how calm and clear your aura is when everything is neatly tucked away in its nook. That’s not just a “you” thing. Children can play more creatively when their environment isn’t cluttered and constraining.
The right tool for the job can be a total game-changer when it comes to the toy-tastrophy. That organization investment helps keep things tidy, but it also empowers your child with a platform for some positive choices.
Unfortunately, most squirt-sized storage solutions are made of cheap plastic that lasts about two weeks in your house and two centuries in a landfill. This is where Little Partners has you covered.
My First Cubby is a sustainable and functional space that’s just the right size for your little one and has hooks for coats and hats, nooks for odds-and-ends, and a shelf that’s wide enough for them to grab a seat while they ditch their sneakers. And if you’ve got a pair who each need their own space, no problem! It’s built to share with matching left and right sides.
KEEPING IT GREEN: Little Partners is committed to making sure the Earth your child inherits will still be beautiful and clean for their children and grandchildren. The My First Cubby is Greenguard Gold Certified and free of toxic paints and chemicals. Plus, its all-wood construction means this sturdy cubby will be around for years to come.
Keeping Your Life in Order
Kids can be little agents of chaos, that’s for sure, but with these tips and strategies, you can make them a teammate in pursuit of a clean, green, tantrum-free scene. Visit Little Partners for more great toy organization ideas.