Storage Is Key
Organizing your home -- especially when you have kids -- can be a real challenge. A professional organizer offers these proven ideas to get it together!
Kids have puzzles, Legos, train sets, Barbie dolls and countless other toys with what seems like thousands of parts. So, how can do you keep them all organized?
First, clean and purge
Before you can organize anything, you have to clean it out. Go through all of your kids' toys and determine what to keep, what to toss and what to donate. Kids grow out of toys very quickly, so it should be easy to decide what you can get rid of.
As for all that beautiful artwork, hang it up. Don't let it stack up in piles. By creating an art gallery in your playroom, you'll also be clearing the clutter. Plus, your kids will be proud to decorate their area with their personal masterpieces.
No more clunky toy box
Remember all those plastic tubs with lids you bought on sale? You know the ones -- stacked in your closet or garage? This is the time to put them to good use! And if you don't have any, it's time to invest in a few.
Blocks, doll clothes, small toy cars, Tinkertoys, Play-Doh, and all the other loose items floating around the house belong together. I strongly recommend using shelves with tubs of different sizes as opposed to toy boxes. Toys last longer when they're stored gently and not stacked, and the kids can find things more easily. This reduces boredom, and makes for fewer trips to the toy store, as well. Larger tubs hold blocks, play food and dishes, sports gear and other pieces that just seem to multiply in the night.
Upcycle your shoeboxes
Shoeboxes are perfect for Legos, Barbie clothes and accessories, Hot Wheels cars... you get the idea. You can even turn it into a fun craft project by painting and labeling the boxes with your kids. For even further organization, once full, store the shoeboxes in a larger tote with handles on the top for easy access to and from the play area.
Seasonal toys and clothes
Flat, under-the-bed boxes are wonderful for out-of-season clothes and toys. Most closets are not large enough for toys and clothes, so why not store unused toys as you would clothing: kites, beach gear and baseball equipment is stashed during winter months; sleds, hockey sticks and ice skates are stored during the summer.
Try to buy clear tubs for easy viewing, or label with words or pictures for younger children. If they can't see what's inside, chances are they won't use the toys within the nicely organized containers. Kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think?
Get creative, and let the kids help you label the boxes with photos or magazine clippings of the items. This is a good rainy day project, and promotes reading skills for the little ones. Store each child's bins under their beds during the off-season, and swap contents when it's out with the old and in with the new.
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