The more your kids have (and have at the ready), the less they play with, it seems. So, set the stage so that they will actually play with more. "I've learned that there's an 80/20 rule for kids' toys: If they aren't organized well, kids end up spending 80 percent of their time playing with 20 percent of their toys while the other 80 percent go unused. To help combat this, I organize our playroom with a focus on access. My goal is to keep an environment that my kids (two boys, ages 5 and 8) can enjoy and keep neat," says Kat Eden of Education.com.
When it comes to toy room organization, simplicity rules. It's calming and easy to maintain. "If the toy room stresses you out, then it will stress the kids out -- so keep it simple and decluttered. Go through the toy room every change of season to get rid of old, broken items that they no longer play with. Getting in the habit of regularly decluttering will save you time, space and a lot of headaches," says Michelle Morton, mom of three.
Labeling storage containers is always a good idea, but what if your kids are too young to read? Just use what they can identify: Pictures. "If you have really young kids, use clip art to include a picture in addition to the word. You can print the labels on address label stickers (available at all office supply stores) or on plain paper that you stick to the container using clear packing tape," says Eden.
Sure, that toy box might sound like a good idea, but in reality, toy boxes are a guaranteed way for kids not to play with all their toys. Worse yet, they'll make a huge mess to play with one specific toy. "They are just a dumping ground, usually full of broken bits and lost pieces -- and the child will dump out the whole collection to find something," says Debby Lea of Streamlined Solutions Professional Organizing. So, just skip that one.
Instead of the typical toy box, invest in some clear bins to sort toys. "Sort toys into see-through bins and place on shelves that the child can reach. The see-through bins let her find what she's looking for, so the Legos, or the Barbies, or the plastic farm animals can come out without her rooting through everything else," says Lea.
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