“Mom, I’m bored!”
“I don’t have anything to play with!”
“Where’s my pink tea party set?”
As they sit amongst mountains of plastic toys.
For most parents, having disorganized toys is a huge pain point. But do you want to know the truth? It goes a lot deeper than this. It’s also detrimental to a child’s development. But when you learn how to organize your toys the @GoCleanCo way, you can finally gain the upper hand over that eyesore of a playroom.
(No guarantees you won’t hear the “Mom, I’m bored” line again. That one’s pretty much cemented in a child’s vocab. But at least they’ll know where everything is! And there’s less of a chance that you’ll trip over a tower of blocks in the dark hallway while trying to quietly tip-toe to bed late at night.)
The Relationship Between Organization & a Child’s Development
Having disorganized toys is not only a pain point for parents; it’s detrimental to a child’s development. Without getting too deep into psychology, here are a few specific ways disorganization negatively impacts early childhood development:
- Having too many distractions and excessive disorganization early in childhood can lead to a lifetime of perceived failure, a general lack of self-esteem, and trouble functioning in organized parts of society (like school, work, etc.).
- There’s often a correlation between the number of toys a child has and their overall level of creativity. Children who have fewer toys – or know where to find their toys – are more focused and play more creatively. This may lead to greater creativity in other areas of life.
- Children who have disorganized play areas often face challenges with communication and attention. This can impact their ability to effectively communicate feelings and emotions.
Having a set place for your child’s toys will help them learn responsibility and cleanliness, and it’s great for their overall development. Training starts early in the #cleaningarmy! PLUS, if you have a system that is easy to maintain for everyone, it dramatically lowers the risk of stepping on those damn legos in the middle of the night!
Read on to learn a few simple ways to get organized and stay organized the @gocleanco way.
The first rule of organization is to get rid of the shit you don’t use. The same goes for your kids’ toys. If your kids have a never-ending mountain of toys, not only will they always be disorganized, but they won’t play with them. Kids get overwhelmed and overstimulated easily.
The best time to purge toys (besides, you know, yesterday) is before a birthday or Christmas. Make room for the new stuff they are about to get. It may even be easier to convince them to let go of some items, with the promise of new toys around the corner. (I also like to purge while they are sleeping or away, but don’t tell my kids that!) Toss the broken toys, and donate or hand down the rest.
Pro tip: Try to eliminate whole types of toys your kids don’t play with anymore. It will be easier to organize them if there are fewer types. (e.g. If your six-year-old daughter has switched from baby dolls to Barbies, get rid of all of the baby doll stuff.)
You knew this was coming.
Toys are… yuck. Like, think about it. Snotty noses, colds, viruses, and hands that have been who knows where? If you really want to keep your house clean and sanitary, you can’t forget about all of those germs and microbes hanging out on red fire trucks and play kitchens.
Run those stuffies through the wash, and clean the plastic toys in the dishwasher or a sink full of warm, soapy water. Carefully wipe down anything with batteries with hot water and tide on a damp cloth. Move your existing toy bins and clean inside, outside, behind, and underneath them.
Create a rotation system
Too many toys equals too many options. And too many options equals stress and overwhelm.
Simplicity Parenting author Kim John Payne says, ““As you decrease the quantity of your child’s toys and clutter, you increase their attention and their capacity for deep play.”
Choose half their toys, pack them up into storage bins, and hide them somewhere for a while. Then when they get bored of their current toys, swap everything out, and it’s like all new toys!
A place for everything, and everything in its place
Utilize closets by adding shelves and bins. There’s still plenty of hanging space for clothes, and the toys they play with in their room have a place to live. (Bonus: You can close the closet door and the clutter goes away!)
Organize. Baskets and bins are your friends. Store like types together, and make it accessible for the kids. Bonus points if the kids can remove the bin, play with its contents, and put it back where it belongs. Get them to help at this stage so they understand the system and its reasons.
- If you want to go above and beyond, you can organize even further at this step. For instance, I’m that crazy person that sorts my kids’ Legos by color. It seems crazy at first, but it helps them find pieces when building their sets, and it encourages free play. Sometimes I get a little twitchy when their friends come over and play with the legos, but it doesn’t take long to sort it again.
- Make it pretty and functional. Rainbow order those bookshelves! And label the bins so the kids can help put their things away. (Pro tip: Label each container with a picture of what belongs in there if your kids are younger.)
Get creative with storage solutions. We love those bean bag chairs that let you shove your stuffies inside in place of the traditional stuffing.
Products we love:
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- Toy Chest (USA) (Canada)
- Toy Organizer (USA) (Canada)
- Bean Bag Storage (USA) (Canada)
- Laundry basket (USA) (Canada)
- Book Cubby (USA) (Canada)
- Cube storage organizers (Canada) (USA)
- Fabric toy storage bins (Canada) (USA)
– Becky @gocleanco