There was a time long ago (obviously pre-child) that I thought my future home would look like a page torn out from a magazine. Remember those? The things we used to look at before Pinterest was around? It would be well appointed, professionally organized and spotless.
Then I became an adult, got married, had a child and reality set in. Those magazine-perfect (now Pinterest-perfect) homes take time, money and perhaps a lack of children!
Even though I no longer expect my home to be in near-perfect condition and have resigned to the fact that it may never be on the cover of Real Simple Magazine or Better Homes and Gardens, I still don’t want my home to look like a toy store exploded, so I do my best to keep the toys at bay.
I thought I was doing pretty well on the toy front until I started noticing that my young toddler would jump from toy to toy, without really interacting with them, before getting frustrating and wanting to be held. I knew I needed to do something about the amount of toys, but didn’t feel like there was much that needed to be purged, so I began implementing a toy closet and rotation system. The results have been greater than I expected!
- Dump out all the toys and spread them out where you can see what you have to work with. And trust me when I say, don’t block the main entrance to your home while you’re organizing them because it’s a sure-fire way to get unexpected company. Not speaking from experience or anything . . .
- Purge if necessary. Does your child play with it? Is it something you want your child to play with? Does it have sentimental value? Will it be used by a future sibling? If not, it goes!
- Begin categorizing like toys together. Battery operated noise makers in one pile. Blocks in another. You get the idea I’m sure!
- Determine how many toys you want in your play space or each room. In our home, we have a dedicated playroom, but we also have a small number of toys in our living room and child’s bedroom.
- Find a closet, spare shelving in the garage or basement, or space that extra toys can be stored. Get creative! In our home, I chose to use half of a linen closet, but there’s no rule that your toy “closet” has to be a traditional closet. Work with the space you have!
Our Toy Closet
Since I chose to use half of our linen closet, I needed to rearrange our linens to use only half of the available space. (Tip: Folding towels in thirds takes up far less closet space!)
I placed tall toys on the top shelf, bulkier items on the very bottom and everything else in between. I also used a basket that we had on hand to store smaller, battery operated toys like hand-held games.
How We Use Our Toy Closet and Rotation System
Every couple of weeks during naptime, I swap out the playroom, living room and bedroom toys with those in the toy closet. I choose to limit the number of battery operated toys to 1 – 2 at a time and then have a toy or two from several different categories such as pretend play, puzzles and stuffed animals. Generally, I am the only one that retrieves toys for rotating. As my daughter gets older, I may move the “closet” to a space in the basement so that it’s not a temptation.
The result of implementing the toy closet and toy rotation system has been a child that doesn’t get overwhelmed and frustrated by the number of toys in front of her, but that happily plays (at least for the most part) with what she has, with fewer requests to watch television. She’s also spending much more time with each activity instead of quickly jumping from one toy to the next. Watching my daughter’s little face light up when she suddenly gets to play with a forgotten about toy is an added bonus!
How have you found to be the best ways to organize your child’s toys?
Do you rotate toys or leave them all out all the time? Do you have toys in several rooms or only one room? What have you found that works best for you?
About Melissa Kocher: “I’m a child of God, wifey to my incredible husband Kyle and mama to the most adorable baby girl in the world. I’m a little bit “crunchy” and a little bit not; my dad jokingly calls me a “conservative hippie.” I began making quite a few changes in the health department for our family shortly after getting married in 2010 (sorry Kyle!) and even more so when I became pregnant with my daughter in 2011 (sorry again, Kyle!). I attempt to live simply(ish), feed my family mostly homemade, whole foods and steward the money that God has given our family the best that I can. I tend to over think things just a little and sometimes I throw out the healthy for some St. Louis style pizza, chocolate, sweet Missouri wine and a night in front of the TV.” You can find Melissa on Growing with the Kochers, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Take it to the next level with these resources:
- Kathy’s Play Room Organization
- Homeschool: Spaces and Home: Kids Space Organization Pinterest boards for more play room, toy and kid organization ideas
This post is the 2nd of 12 in the 144 Plan to Happy Homemaking. To learn more about the 144 Plan or catch up on a missed post, check out the complete 144 Plan Training Log.
Create a clean heart for me, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)