My playroom was a huge blessing and a curse. It was such a joy to have a space in my home that was consistently child proofed and contained the pile of toys that was inevitably created after every birthday and Christmas celebration. It was also the room I really didn't like people seeing. I struggled to maintain the space in some sembelence of order and it stressed me out.
As my passion for organizing grew, I developed the Two-Minute Tidy Up. The goal was to create a system and structure which would allow me to get the entire room picked up (even if it looked like a tornado swept through beforehand) in about 2 minutes.
I find that my kids are much more excited to play in a clean playroom and that their toys seem so much more appealing to them when they are easily accessible. Although the majority of the time the kids are responsible to clean up after they play, there are few nights that we just don't have time to do so before beginning our bedtime routine. The following tips should help you be able to step into your playroom after your kids are asleep and clean the entire thing in 2-3 minutes.
Twice a year,when your kids are not around, collect all your the toys from around the house and put them in the middle of your living room or on your kitchen table. As you do so, sort them into catagories (all dolls and doll accessories together, all vehicles together, etc.). Go through each catagory and eliminate toys that are broken, missing pieces or no longer played with. Now is also a good time to get rid of the duplicates. You will find that some catagories are no longer appropriate for your children due to their ages or interests, so get rid of those as well. Determine how much of each catagory you would like to keep and choose the toys your children love best in each catagory.
For the toys you aren't sure about, ask yourself the following questions...
WHAT TO DO WITH TOYS YOU ARE READY TO PART WITH:
Note: take into account the amout of time and hassle this may result in. If the amount of money you would make is marginal, give yourself permission to give the toys away and take joy in brightening another child's life.
Now that you have eliminated some of the toys, you have the peace of knowing whatever is going back in the playroom will be played with and cherished.
The next step is to make sure every toy has a specific place in the playroom. If you have shelves, attempt to reserve each shelf for a different toy or group of similar toys. This may mean that one shelf has only one or two toys on it and that's okay! The simplier the system, the easier to maintain! Also, make sure you can see each toy on the shelf. Toys that are hidden behind others will most likely not be played with, and if they are, they will not be returned to the proper location.
When finding the perfect spot for each toy, keep in mind that it will be easier for a child to remember where a toy goes if it is with others like it. In order to keep similar items together, it may be beneficial to use tubs, baskets or bins. For example, a "Stuffed Animal Basket" is a perfect spot for ALL the stuffed animals and is an easy place for a young child to remember!
Although not necessary (especially if you are using clear tubs or bins), it may be helpful to put a label on the container you are using so everyone knows what should go inside. If your kids are too young to read, take a picture of the type of toy in the container and place the photo on the outside.
Now that your smaller toys are put up in their perfect spots, it's time to put the large toys away. In order to make as much floor space as possible for your children to play on, place all the large toys along the wall. This will keep them out of the way until your kids want to play with them, it will make your playroom look bigger and your kids will know exactly where to put these toys when they are finished playing!
You will find that you have some toys that don't fit in any certain category. These toys belong in the "miscellaneous" tubs, baskets or bins. It is important to not keep more than two of these types of containers because you want to keep a minimal amount of these types of toys. There are some very valuable toys in these containers that just didn't really belong with any other particular group of toys or require their own shelf. However, these containers are also the home of the small toys from McDonalds, the Dollar Tree prizes, etc., ones that don't have a lot of sentiment, value or correlation to other toys, but need to go somewhere. Because of this, these containers fill up the fastest and can become a dumping grounds if we are not careful. The toys that fall to the bottom are hardly ever played with. If you are wanting to do a small purge (outside of the two big ones you do each year) you'll want to start with these containers.
It can be so hard to part with certain toys, I understand. To get rid of some of them means letting go of a certain stage of life and that can be difficult. Allow yourself some time to grieve this passing phase, but realize all the wonderful things that are yet to come!
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