Tidying up after your child can often seem like a neverending feat. You finally get things under control and then, bam! — the house is a tip again before the next play session has even barely begun. Kids are messy and love their toys.
That’s one thing that’s never going to change.
What you can change?
Organisation. Having good organisation systems in place will make it so much easier for you to keep things neat and tidy in the long run.
Here are eight simple organizational tips you can use to keep toys tidy in the house — and even encourage your kids to help!
1. Streamline and Simplify
Ever lose track of how many toys your kid actually has? More than they need, probably. Children grow out of toys fast and like to move on to the next new thing. As a result, old toys get forgotten about and permanently relegated to the back of closets and cupboards.
Regular decluttering sessions. Getting rid of old or unused toys once every few months will stop them from piling up and wasting valuable space.
Start by grabbing a few cardboard boxes or bin bags.
What toys do your kids love and play with regularly?
Toss any toys your child no longer uses into the boxes or bags ready to be thrown out — along with broken or incomplete toys.
It’s a good idea to complete this process with your child if you can, because you don’t want to throw out anything they still want. It’s also good to teach children from an early age how to declutter and why it’s important for a tidy home.
If you still have items in good condition and you feel it’s too wasteful to throw them away, instead you can choose to:
- Give them away to other parents you know
- Donate them to charity
- Sell them on online auction sites or at yard sales
You may also have toys that don’t get regular use, but you don’t want to get rid of just yet. Store those ones in the attic. Take them down in a few months time and hide a few others away in their place. Rotating your children’s toys this way means you don’t have to have all their toys out at the same time, which frees up some valuable space in your home. You’ll also make your child happy as they will be pleasantly surprised to get back old toys they haven’t seen in a while.
2. Invest in Storage
Now that you’ve whittled down your toy collection, you can get serious about storage.
When choosing storage, you should think from your child’s perspective. Keep their favorite toys within easy reach either on the ground or on lower level shelves. The lesser used toys should be kept higher up as they don’t have to come down much. Boxes, bins, and baskets are perfect for storing small, medium, and even large toys. Toy boxes with wheels can be easily kept in closets and easily pulled out when needed. Magazines, comic books, and CDs can be housed in appropriate holders.
If you’re buying storage boxes to place in existing shelving units, measure everything beforehand to make sure it will all fit. It’s a good idea to fix large units to the wall to make them safe for children to use.
What if you want to keep children’s toys in the living room, dining room, study, or other rooms in your home? Bright primary colors and fun designs may work well in your child’s bedroom or playroom, but they’re not so good for the rest of the house. Fortunately, you can find chic, “grown-up” storage solutions that will hold your kid’s toys while simultaneously complement the decor of your house, such as:
- Storage trunks
- Wicker baskets
- Storage coffee tables
- Storage ottomans
- Magazine holders
- Alcove cupboards
Consider purchasing some of the above items — or using ones you already own — to neatly hide away your children’s toys in the rest of your house.
3. Label Your Storage
Labels make tidying easy — and even fun! So, bust out the label maker and start labelling the outside of your storage containers with the items that belong inside. There’s really no limit to where these labels can go: on bins, baskets, drawers, shelves, cupboards, and closet doors. Include graphics on the labels if your child can’t read yet. Pictures of toy blocks, farm animals, action figures, and so on can be printed off the computer.
When putting away their toys, your child will just have to glance at each label to know exactly where they go. It will also make it quicker and easier for you to find the toys you need — and make it harder for them to go missing.
Even better? You can turn tidy-up time into a “match-up” game and let the fun continue into the end of every play session.
4. Organize the Playroom
Aim to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Anything less is a recipe for mess — as you may already well know! The toys in your kid’s playroom (or bedroom) should be grouped together and organized by activity. What does this look like? It depends on your toys, but here are some examples:
- Create a reading nook with book shelves and chairs or bean bags in the corner
- Keep racing cars or large games together on a table
- Dollhouses or other big items can stand against separate walls
Don’t forget to get your child involved! If they’re old enough, have them help decide how to organize their toys. This can be a fun activity that gives them a sense of responsibility, as well as gets them excited about both looking after their toys and tidying up after themselves.
5. Create Designated Play Areas
Of course, your child doesn’t just want to only play in their bedroom or playroom. Carve out small play areas in each main room of your home. This will help contain the inevitable mess and leave the rest of the house relatively untouched and tidy in comparison. Here are some ideas for play areas you can use in your home:
- Keep coloring books and crayons inside your coffee table (or hide them in a nice storage box)
- Add an attractive basket filled with toys in the dining room
- Dedicate a shelf in the living room to your child’s favorite books
Designing small play areas throughout your home means your little one will always find something to play with without having to unearth toys from elsewhere. The resulting mess will also be minimal and easy to clean up afterwards. Win, win.
6. Choose Quality Over Quantity
Let’s face it: a lot of kids toys today are cheap plastic junk. And it’s easy to amass a lot of it — far more than children really need and can realistically play with. You may prefer to invest in a smaller number of high quality toys for your children to play with instead (such as, wooden soldiers over plastic ones). Well-made toys will last years longer than plastic ones, which often break and need replacing quickly. Explain to your children the importance of owning and looking after classic, high quality toys rather than jumping from one new toy to the next. Having less toys will also make it easier to store them all — not to mention simplify the process of tidying up.
7. Get Into A Tidying Routine
When it comes to playtime, virtually anything goes. You may start out with the lego and then switch to over to the play cooker before moving onto the action figures. The floor’s covered with almost every toy you own before you know it. The solution? Always make sure your children tidy up after finishing one game before they move onto the next. Make this rule the norm, and your children will quickly adjust to it — and your home will look a lot tidier. This is also a great habit to develop in young children as it will stick with them in later life, too.
While you can put effective measures in place to ensure maximum organization, there will still usually be some level of mess. Kids will be kids, after all! Let your children have fun running around and playing with their toys — no matter how crazy things may get. Just always make sure to impress upon them the importance of looking after their possessions and help them tidy up after every playtime.
Implement these eight organization tips for keeping toys tidy and you’ll see your home become a lot less chaotic and a lot more neater. Making the process of tidying up as streamlined and easy as possible for you and your children really makes all the difference. Most times they will accept tidying up as part of the usual routine; other days may not be so easy — but who ever said life was always perfect?