Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Toys for Tots; Insanity for Moms

Do you find yourself tripping on toys?  At the end of the evening is it a hassle to clean up all the toys scattered across the entire house?  Do you find yourself throwing the toys into the nearest container and later not being able to piece together the entire "set"?  This was the story of my life until my sister shared her secret with me.  She lives a very decluttered, peaceful, and organized life.  (If you haven't read about my relationship with our dear friend organization, please do so here.)
She works it in an even better fashion than what I share with you today, but from my experience I hope you get the general idea.  It's made a WORLD of difference for us.
If I had all the time and money to do this the way I wanted it would look even better; but as you know being a homemaker those two resources are very valuable.  I chose to spend some time and very little money re-doing our toy system.
Step One: I saved old diaper boxes; wipes boxes; and scrounged up unused Rubbermaid tubs. (Again, if I'd had the money I would have bought all matching tubs of the same size, shape and color.  I'm weird that way). 
Step Two: Asses what toys your children actually play with and sort through them getting rid of unused/not played with toys.
Step Three:  Clear out a space in the TOP of the closet or bookshelf or other space.  It must be a place the children cannot reach.  It's fine if it's visible, but not accessible.
Step Four:  Take a picture of the toy, or find one online and print on paper the photo/image of the toy.
Step Five: Tape the picture to the outside of the tub/box and put the box up on the shelf with the image pointing out.
Step Six:  After the boxes of ALL the toys (except books) are up out of reach explain to your children that they are allowed to play with one box at a time.  If they finish playing with the item, say dress ups for example, they must clean it up putting all of the items back in the box before you will get down another box for them.

I have been amazed at the amount of time and energy this has saved our family in the past year.  My children are learning responsibility, our clean up time at night is much less stressful, and we are living a simpler more intentional life by clearing out the toys we do not use.  What we have becomes more valuable to us when we are allowed the privilege of playing with it!

For more great tips, head on over to Kirsten at We Are That Family!


Haley said...

I love this idea. Not only does it teach children responsibility, but it helps them focus and enjoy one activity at a time, and simply not having all the toys out and available all the time probably has the fringe benefit of promoting more physical play (outside) and imagination!

Kerilyn said...

As you know, I was super impressed when I noticed this system you had in place. Great tips, Amy!

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