Thursday, March 29, 2007

Are toys overtaking your house?

If you feel overwhelmed by the toys in your house, there are some steps you can take to minimize the abundance of toys around your home.

1) Define an area where toys are kept and keep them out of other areas. DO NOT let them spill over into the other areas. Would you store a frying pan in a bedroom? a stapler in the bathroom? clothing in the kitchen?.... Probably not. Each of these articles has a defined place and it does not seem right to have them anywhere else. Use the same philosophy for toys. Give the toys a home whether it is in your child's room, a den, or family room.

2) Putting away toys. Put toys in bins and label the bins with pictures of the items that are inside. Children are visual.

3) As your children grow too old for a toy, they get warn out, or fall out of favor, REMOVE them from the house. If you are keeping the toys for sentimental reasons, take a picture and create a scrapbook. One rule of thumb is to eliminate one toy for every toy that comes in. You can involve the children in the process by teaching about children less fortunate than them and having them chose a toy to give.

4) Avoid toys with too many parts. If you do have toys like these, train your child to reach for one item at a time from the bin and not to dump out the whole thing on the floor.

5) When creating storage for toys, or anything else for that matter, make sure to leave room for new items. Whether you are using bins, shelving, or drawers, on the day that you put everything away, they should not fill more than 75% of the space. If they are entirely full, your organizing system will not work as new items won't have a place to go.

6) Remember that children do not need everything. They are often totally entertained by the simplest things (a bubble, a balloon, a box).