rotating and organizing kids' toys.

I would like to take a moment to announce that, now that we've lived here for ten months, our toys are now fully unpacked and organized.  It took me this long because none of the closets had shelving systems, so I needed to get those installed before unpacking the toys that are currently out of rotation and stored in the closet.  (I'm kind of a slow unpacker.  I am pretty high strung when it comes to organization, and I would rather leave something packed until I find the most logical, helpful spot for it, than unpack it and stuff it in a closet somewhere, all willy-nilly.  And since not every closet or cupboard is already set up for efficient organization, and since we're on a budget, I often wait.  And wait.  And wait.)

So all that to say, our closets are now organized, and while the room toys have been unpacked for a while, all the closet toys now have a home as well.  If you haven't gathered already, we have separate 'room' toys and 'closet' toys, which is a system that has worked really well for a variety of reasons, so I thought I'd walk you through what all we have and how I keep it organized.

Today, let me show you how I organize the toys that we keep in the kids' rooms.

Each bedroom has a limited set of toys that all the kids have free rein of throughout the day.  All kids are welcome to play in any bedroom they feel like, with any toys they feel like - there is no 'territory' beyond their special blankies and snugglies.  The boys' room has dress up and Duplos.  (My boys play with dress up way more often than my girls.)  As it is a very sad, windowless, undecorated room, I will spare you many photos, but you get the point:

Dress up is in that laundry basket.  The bin on top of the dresser is full of Lego instructions.

The Duplos bin slides under the bed when not in use.  And I hope it's apparent that the boys made their own beds, and this is not the work of a grown up (meaning, me).

The girls' room houses baby dolls, Little People/peg dolls/small dolls, and kitchen toys.  Rocco is the most frequent patron of this room's toy boxes.  (Again, not fully decorated, but at least it has windows, which is a definite step in the right direction.)

Look, it's Baby Todd!

Why, yes, that IS a tiny plastic Jesus from the Dollar Store that I just couldn't pass up.  Doesn't everyone have one?

Rocco's room has the baby toys and the board books.  The boys play in here more than anyone else. 

There is also an area in our basement where we keep the Lego table and the bookshelves.

You might have noticed that everything is separated by 'kind.'  This helps keep things really simple: When there are too many toys of a kind to fit in a single box, there are probably too many toys of that kind.  It's time to start weeding.  Secondly, it helps eliminate those stupid 'nowhere' toys, like Happy Meal trinkets and rando plastic bits.  If there's no logical place for a specific item to 'belong,' it might be an indicator that the toy doesn't really belong in your house at all.  And thirdly, it helps the kids immensely when it is clean up time.  They know where everything goes, and how to quickly get it there.  And for the littler kids, who have a hard time with broad instructions like "Clean up your room," it makes it really easy to narrow it down for them.  ("Lolo, go find all the baby dolls and put them in their box.  All the babies - Go!")

Now, we have a lot of toys that aren't out all the time, too, such as toys that we get out every so often, just for the day, or bins of toys that I will switch with the current room bins to keep things interesting.  Tomorrow, I can walk you through what all I keep back, how it's organized, and how I rotate it through.

See you tomorrow!

And for anyone that's interested, I will be live on Facebook again tonight at 8:00 CST, this time talking about groceries: budgeting (including what our budget looks like), menu planning, and shopping efficiently without losing your mind.  Join me over there!


Lissa said...

I am often overwhelmed by toys and books! I'm looking forward to hearing whether you have thoughts on max number of kinds of toys to have and books. Books are hard for me as I kind of view them as art and I think I have the mentality that you can never have too many good books, but I'm always waffling on my thinking about a simpler life. Like I watch friends pack to move overseas to live missionally elsewhere or think about impoverished families and ask myself whether they ought to be the only ones living minimalistically. When and what is too much?? (This is maybe a rhetorical question.) Or when do you discover a neat toy for a birthday or Christmas and decide "because I already have x number of kinds of toys, I am going to pass on this one"?

todd said...

"everything in its right place" is my love language.