Monday, October 24, 2011

Tips for Organizing Kid's Toys and the House

I could open a toy store with the sheer volume and assortment of toys we have for our boys. But to them, the toy store is boring. No matter how many they have, they seem to only play with a few favorites, leaving the rest to clutter up the basement floor/play room. Should I pack up all the toys and donate them to charity?

While that is certainly one option, there is another way, which rotates the toy selection and keeps things fresh and exciting. Zesty.

Buy some Bankers Boxes and fill them with toys. (The best price I found was at Sam's Club: 10 for $18; Office Max was four for $18.) They look like this:

You could box toys according to category, such as monster trucks and bulldozers in one, Little People in another, electronic toys (like Buzz Lightyear in another. Or, the option that my husband thought would be best would be to just box up an assortment of toys, so there are multiple choices to play with when that box is opened.

Here's how the system works and the rotation comes in:

I read in an Emilie Barnes' book once (I think it was More Hours in My Day: Proven Ways to Organize Your Home, Your Family, and Yourself) that to organize your home, you box up all unused items in the banker's boxes (they are recommended because they stack well and are durable). Number each box. Then, on a rolodex, list each box number on a card and record on that card what is inside. For example, if you are looking for the box with the Transformer toys, or the Christmas decorations, you can easily flip through the cards and find what number box the item is in. (It would probably make most sense to file the box number for Christmas decorations under the "C's").

Setting up this system certainly takes some time, but I believe (and I come to believe more and more with the more children I have!) that the rewards are worth it. I remember reading in The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families--How they Do Itthat this is the system Michelle Duggar went with after she had her fifth child. She wrote that she either had to do something or she was going to go under. That's where I'm at now, with four kids!

Getting back to how this works with toys, simply rotate the selection once every few days or once every week, at your choosing. This way you ensure the toys you've purchased with your hard-earned money are played with more than once. It also helps keep the kids from getting bored with the same toys. Mostly, it helps keep the toy clutter under control, since there can only be one boxful of items out at any one time.
(And if you want to donate a box or two to charity, that's fine too!).

(linked to Works for Me Wednesday)


  1. I had just pulled her "Cleaning Up the Clutter" book off my bookshelf the other evening! I keep saying I'm going to use her system, but I never get around to it. It would certainly simplify my life. It's just a matter of making the time to do it.

  2. We do something similar, but the toys go away for 3-6 months. It is like Christmas all over again. Now that my kids are a little older they know what is stored. When they want a stored item, they pack up something from the house, take it to the garage to store it and get the desired item from the garage. Works great!