The fact that it’s been a while since my last Tackle it Tuesday post means that I’ve been delinquent in some of my organizing, tsk, tsk. Still, the fact that I’m back here writing this entry shows that I’m still a work in progress when it comes to organizing, so I think I deserve a pat on the back for that, right?
Today’s task: My son’s ever-growing stock of TOYS!
My son has a closet full of toys. Mind you, we’ve bought him a total of maybe five toys: a stuffed animal, two little cars, a beach ball, and hand puppets. Everything else in his “stash” was given by relatives, friends, and other generous people. We’ve got everything from ride cars to annoying little fake mobile phones that have the most annoying fake ring tones!
Of course, with this deluge of stuff comes the need to organize. For Vito’s room, I’ve employed a simple solution for organizing his toys and keeping him interested in the toys that he has.
1. Container-ize. Before the great toy deluge (particularly after his 1st birthday and Christmas), I’d just dump all Vito’s toys in a big Rubbermaid basket. The selection just became too vast, and I couldn’t keep track of the variants! And so, I bought inexpensive Sterilite plastic tote boxes from Office Warehouse. I wasn’t a fan of those themed, cartoon-y toy boxes in the kids’ stores, so I opted for these storage boxes instead. I bought four 5-gallon boxes for all of Vito’s toys.
2. Categorize. To make the organization easier, I categorized Vito’s toys. Generally, his toys fall under four categories, hence, the four boxes I mentioned earlier. They are: 1) soft/stuffed toys; 2) cars (Cars make up the most of his toys); 3) blocks (both plastic and wooden); 4) sorters (Somehow, he has a number of stacking toys, sorting toys, and three kinds of shape sorters). These naturally became the categories for each toy box.
3. Teach my son to organize. My son is just 18 months, but he’s old enough to be taught how to keep his toys. Every night, before he goes to bed, we have a routine of sorting his toys and returning them to the proper box: Stuffed toys here, all the cars there, all the blocks and manipulatives, etc. He knows the routine by now, and so clean up gets easier and faster with time. Teaching him was time-consuming at first, but the good thing is, I get help and he helps himself by learning how to fix his belongings.
4. Rotate toys. We don’t make all of Vito’s toys available to him so that he won’t easily get bored with the current selection. Instead, we rotate his stock of toys. For example: We keep the Duplo Lego set for a month, and then rotate that with his Plan Toys wooden manipulatives. They’re related, in that they’re both divergent (open-ended) toys, and they’re played with in a similar manner (i.e. as “building” toys). This way, he always has similar type toys. When we keep an old toy and re-introduce it after a month or so, he looks at the toy in a new way and feels as if he has a new toy. And by rotating his toys, we also control the amount of “toy clutter” that can accumulate around the house!
- Once a week, I give all the manipulatives a “bath” in plant-based solution so that they don’t get grimy. As for the wooden toys, I make sure to wipe them down regularly with a clean rag to prevent mold from forming.
- I regularly inspect the toys to make sure there are no missing parts.
- I regularly throw out any toys which have damage, such as chipped corners, and are beyond repair.
Those are my simple anti-clutter tips for my son’s toys! What are yours?