Once the wrapping paper has been ripped open, the box lids flung off and toys pried from that kid-proof packaging, the magical day we wait for all year is over, leaving our spaces piled high with new toys that need to be assigned a home in those overstuffed kid’s rooms and closets.
Before adding those shiny new toys into playtime rotation, schedule some time to take a toy inventory. Many times kids outgrow or get bored with toys, maybe even those popular toys they were dying for just last year.
Don’t let your kid’s play area be overrun with toys, spill over into the main areas of the house and cause clutter chaos throughout your space. Try these five tips to get your home in order well after the decorations come down.
As the parent you’re responsible to make the decisions about toy rules and limits. Use the holiday season to teach kids about sharing, giving, materialism and how to take care of their toys. What happens if they don’t pick up the toys? When can they play with the toys? And how will items be stored and put away? It’s up to the parent to have a plan in place and enforce the plan throughout the year to create positive habits a child can not only learn from, but helps assist in the toy management process.
Involve Your Child
Be mindful of what your child plays with to help make editing decisions, but parents should involve their kid in the process to determine what stays and what goes. This helps the child hone his or her decision-making skills. If the child has trouble letting go, have him stay focused on one toy at a time and give the child time to decide on his own the fate of the toy. Plan on storing a favorite toy as a keepsake once your child has outgrown it.
Create five piles to sort through the toys you have in your home. The piles include: keep, store, sell, donate and toss. Within the keep, store and donate piles use subcategories to keep similar items together so it’s easier to manage. Here are a few examples:
— Puzzle and games
— Arts and crafts
— Imaginative play (dress up, Barbies, action figures)
— Moving objects (trucks, cars, trains, planes)
Whether you’re keeping or storing toys you need to make sure you have plenty of room. If your family does yearly yard sales, consider selling those belongings family members no longer use first. Donate gently used toys to teach a child the concept of charity. Of course, if a toy is broken and can’t be fixed dispose of the toy.
Rather than filling up a corner or a toy box that has no organizing compartments come up with creative storage solutions that will fit the need of your home. Yes, while it would be nice to have a playroom that you can just shut the door on downtime, many homes are tight on storage space. Try using a built-in or install floor-to-ceiling shelving units to store toys on. Consider color-coded bins, baskets or storage ottomans to contain toys. For smaller items, like game pieces, use plastic zipper bags or clear pouches to easily identify the item. It’s also extremely important to make sure everything is labeled.
Try rotating toys to keep a child entertained. Every month change out toys depending on the season and their interests. This allows you to maintain a wide variety of toys without having to deal with them all at once. By offering younger children a smaller selection of toys at one time, it makes decision-making simpler, has them understand value and helps them put the toys away.
Putting Toys Away
Make sure each toy has a place. An orderly environment can help a child be more focused and organized. Stand your ground when it comes to clean up and create an easy way for your child to put toys away. Toy storage should be placed within easy reach of your child’s appropriate height.
One of simplest ways to organize the toy fluctuation in your home around the holidays is to making decluttering part of the tradition. Before the child starts playing with the new gifts under the tree have a one in, one out policy. For every new item she receives, an older, similar toy needs to be removed. This is will keep control of the amount of toys in your home at any given time.
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5 Tips to Organize Toys at Home After the Holidays originally appeared on usnews.com