How to keep toys organized

Every parent has dealt with the dreaded kid’s room cleanup. When it comes to playtime, even the most behaved of kids can turn an entire room upside down. How do you keep your children’s toys in order without losing your mind? Here are some simple tips to help you out.

Buying toys for your kids is one thing; keeping them in place is another. Children’s toys have a way of jumping off the shelves and littering your kids’ rooms at the most inconvenient of times. Putting toys away isn’t a task most parents look forward to, but there’s really no way around it—it’s part of raising a growing child. But although it can’t be avoided, there are ways to make the job easier for parents. Here are seven useful tips for keeping your kids’ toys in order.

Get a shelf. Ditch the usual toy box and store you kids’ toys in a shelf instead. This puts all your toys in plain view, unlike a toy box where they’re all in one single mess. Place several low shelves around the room instead of one tall shelf—this will give your kids easy access without having them climb dangerous heights. You can get kid-size shelves at most home supply and furniture stores.

De-clutter. Organizing toys is just like organizing your own stuff. The first step is to get rid of all the things you don’t need. Kids outgrow toys easily, so there’s usually a fast turnover rate. Put away toys that your child hasn’t shown interest in for more than a few months. Once in a while, you can go through the pile together and decide which ones to keep and throw out.

Bring out a few toys at a time. Kids get excited at the sight of an entire toy collection, and often end up taking more toys than they really want to play with. Teach your kids to bring out only the toys they need for the moment, and save the rest for another session. Try organizing them so that the toys that go tether (such as balls and rackets) can be found in one shelf.

Group similar toys together. It’s not likely your child will want to play with all his toys at once. If you have a large collection, try grouping the toys they most often use together. Building blocks and mats, dolls and dollhouses, and toy cars and tracks should all go in a single shelf. That way, your kid won’t have to go through the entire stack to find the toys they need. Teach them to put them back the same way after playing.

Set a play area. Children like to play all over the house, leaving a trail of toys (and often dirty footprints) wherever they go. If you don’t like picking things up at every corner, set a specific room as your play area. That way, they can take out all the toys they want without making too much of a mess. At the end of playtime, you only have one room to clean up.

Buy one toy at a time. The main reason toys get messy is that there are too many of them to keep track of. Keep your kids’ toys at a manageable number. Experts recommend the “one toy a week” policy to help kids get over the need for new toys. Instead of letting them go crazy at the toy store, have them pick out just one item and buy some other toy the following week.

Keep the small parts. Detachable toy parts are often the first to get lost in the pile. How many times have you had to dig for a doll’s missing shoe or a lost car tire? Try not to buy toys with loose parts that can easily get lost, or worse, accidentally swallowed. Train your kids to put all their toys back together before throwing them back in the box. Put any loose parts you pick up in a small box, so that your kids can easily find them.

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