How to Get the Kids Toys Cleaned Up in Record Time!

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Series: 10 Tips | A Little Organization Can Save You Time, Money and Sanity!

Number 6: Stop Tripping on Toys, Get Them Cleaned Up in Record Time!

You know those little fairies that come out at night and mess up all your kids toys and leave them laying around the house for you to trip on? I'm going to help you politely evict them! Because if you have children, you have those fairies! It's almost magical how they can move so much stuff in so little time...

Let me introduce you to Ginny, she has a fabulous blog called Organizing Homelife. Certainly worth adding to your reading list!

Organizing Homelife

I love some of the points Ginny makes in her Toy Organization & Storage post, she has gathered some great ideas for organizing toys. However, there is only one thing missing... How do you get the toys from chaos to organized?

As a Trained Professional Organizer, I can help with that. But first let's look at some of her great organizing ideas!

Make it Look Good

This one is more for the adults, but hey! We own the place right. Making the storage systems look pleasing helps your sanity and makes it fun for the kids too.

Label Everything

Labeling bins will make it easier for the kids, their friends and you to clean-up the toys. I would add that labels don't have to be words they can be pictures if your children are pre-readers, or if they are visual learners. Or considering making labels with both!

Multi-Purpose or Individual Use

Some storage ideas are great for holding multiple kinds of toys. Such as the bookshelf pictured below used for books, but by adding baskets, you can hold small toys like Lego or that doll collection. Other ideas are for storing things individually. Like the wagon to hold all the books. This is where we need to do some pre sorting and planning. So let's talk about that.

Bookshelf and Wagon, Kids Toy Storage
Original images found at http://www.organizinghomelife.com/

These photos are great ideas of end products, but there is a lot of work and decision making that needs to happen before we get to the lovely end product.

I'm going to share the organizing process I use with my clients which I learned from Professional Organizer Julie Morgenstern. It's a 5 step acronym for SPACE, which is what you'll have more of once you do this!

My post: Owning Less Can Make you Happier lays the foundation for this next bit!

Sort

This is where you group like items. Take out all the toys and go through them, grouping all the Hot Wheels, Lego or books, for example. If you find things that don't belong, such as a fork or home phone, put it aside in the "to-be-returned-to-the-kitchen-pile." Also, start to ask questions. Do the kids play with this? Do we already have 5? Is it broken?

Purge

(I like to say discard...) Once you've grouped everything it's easier to see if you have room for 135 Lego sets or that mountain of Hot Wheels cars. So now you make piles such as keep, give and toss. What and how much do I keep?

Assign a Home

Once you have your keep items grouped and pared down, you can decide where it's best to house them. Think about how often you use it? If it needs to be beside something else to be most functional?

Containerize

Find a way of storing it. This is where all those lovely ideas from Ginny's blog come in.

"Putting things in a container is a great way to give boundaries. Don't have more than can fit in the container! This also teaches your kids to prioritize"
Julie Morgenstern

Equalize

This is a fancy word for "put-it-back"! Pretty sure she picked it because it started with "E" and that completed SPACE! Regardless, the system only works if toys are put away on a regular basis.

So how many toys are too many? Well, it all depends on you, your home and your personality. I often advise my clients to only keep as many toys as your kids can successfully put-away in 10-15 minutes. That way it's a manageable amount because you know you're only 15 minutes away from order again.

Ginny's post had so many really great ways to organize toys. Personally, I really like this idea for board games! What a great way to use wall space, and create art at the same time.

Board games on the wall
Original images found at http://www.organizinghomelife.com/

Stay tuned next time for Don't Become a Meal Time Monster! Having a meal plan, grocery list and recipe binder will save your sanity at supper prep time.

For a complete list of all posts in this series, check out the list below!


Annalisa Sawatzky is a Pastor's wife and Mother of 2, who holds a Bachelor of Applied Design in Interior Design. Annalisa became a Trained Professional Organizer, and in 2012 started…

Learn more about Annalisa Sawatzky