Parents are well aware of all the struggles they have with keeping toys organized, especially those toys that have many small parts. Children love to play with their toys but they are never the first ones to pick them up and put them back where they belong. And if you don’t have a playroom destined just for storing the different toys and playing with them, things can get out of control fast.
In the worst case scenario, your living room will just be a place for all those small parts to lay at. And there are many moments when you will step on one of those lego pieces and wish someone picked them up. So, to help you deal with all this in the best way possible, here are some valuable tips and tricks that will help you keep toys organized once and for all!
1. Start to declutter the toys and games in your house
First of all, you can’t start organizing any toys unless you know exactly what you have. Toys with small parts tend to miss different components a lot. These missing pieces can be somewhere around your house or simply gone. And if a certain toy or game is missing some essential parts, it becomes pretty much useless.
Identify these toys that are not functional anymore and donate them. This will save you space from the very first step and ease your job in the future! Also, you might find toys or games that your kid is not interested in anymore. Maybe they are too old to play with them or they are simply bored of them. You can consider giving these toys away to less fortunate children or other family members and friends with kids.
Once you are done sorting the toys and games you will end up with a number of items that need to be organized. It is preferable to do this step as well as the next ones with your child helping you. This will assure you that they know how to do such an organization task in the future and hopefully save you some extra work.
2. Organize toys into different categories
Most likely, after you ended the decluttering process, you will have a bunch of different toys to organize. And as tempted as you might be to just put them all in a place and don’t deal with it further, this is not a reliable solution. Splitting the toys and games into different categories can make organization easier and also help your child find the toy they want faster.
Here are some categories that you might end up with: toys with small parts such as building blocks, board games, stuffed animals, video games or electric toys, etc. From all these types of toys, the toys that have small parts are the most problematic. All the other categories can be stored in individual boxes with a tag on each box to know what holds inside.
But toys with small parts should be kept together, preferably in their original box. For instance, if you have puzzles, try to keep them in an individual box each, that way the pieces will not get mixed with the rest of the toys. The same strategy goes for building blocks. You don’t want two different building sets to get mixed together because it will take you for ever to separate them!
After you placed each toy with small parts in its own box you can store them together in a bigger box or on a shelf. This depends on the space that you have in your home but also on your creativity.
3. Find a storage for all the toys
And we reached the key point of the organizing process. Now that your toys are all sorted out and split in different categories, you need a place to put them all in. Just like I mentioned in the previous point, this will vary according to your home and the available space you have. However, don’t compromise and set up more than one place for toy storage because it will only make the organization more challenging. The best way to do this is to decide on a single place in your house where all the toys will wait peacefully until your kid will want to play with them.
And here are some storage ideas that might just work with your environment!
Choose a side of the closet especially for storing toys.
You can find this space in your kid’s closet or even in your own, depending on which one is bigger. But it also depends how many boxes of toys you have. If you have a lot of different categories, this might not be a realistic idea but if you don’t have so many, you can definitely find a place for them behind closed doors.
Exploit the space you have under the bed.
Most likely, your child has a bed that stores nothing underneath it. That’s usually where “monsters” tend to hide, right? Not if you put the boxes of toys there first. This idea will make your house look neat and your child will know exactly where the toys are when they want to play. Not to mention that it is easier to put them back when the play time is over as well.
Have a bag or a sack of toys.
If your boxes can’t be stored in the closet or under the bed, you can put them in a big bag or sack. Such toys sacks can be found in toy stores and they are fairly cheap. You can simply place the bag behind the door in your child’s room or on the balcony. But try to find a place that will be accessible for you and your kid so playing time will not become a hassle. If you can’t find such a big bag or sack, you can always get crafty and create one that will suit your needs.
Get a special piece of furniture designed to store toys and games.
If you decide to find a piece of furniture with shelves and drawers, and adapt it for your child’s toys, boxes might become unnecessary. You can decide to use a toy chest or even a special closet to store all the toys. But don’t be surprised if you might need to get rid of some more toys in order to fit your storage capacity.
4. Create a ritual
After you organized all the toys in your house, you need to find a way to maintain this. Otherwise, you might end up doing it all over again and no parent has this kind of time. Especially when it comes to toys with small parts that get misplaced and lost in an almost miraculous way! Luckily for you, you have a great ally: your kid or your kids. It is important to get them used to put their toys back in the right boxes after they are done enjoying some play time.
That’s why you should keep your kid close so they see where the toy storage place is and which toys go in which boxes. It might not come so natural to them the first couple of times, but they will get used to it. And your job as a parent is to create a ritual of putting the toys back in their spot after every play session. This will not only ease your job but it will also teach your little one to be more organized and responsible with their things!
How to avoid a toy mess to begin with?
And now that you saw how you can fix a chaos in terms of lose toys around the house, it might be a good idea to avoid this chaos to begin with. But how can you avoid to have your child creating a mess of toys all over the house without adding limits to their play time? There are a few tricks that might be just what you need!
Don’t give them access to all their toys at the same time.
Kids might not be great at deciding exactly which toy they want because they are tempted to play with multiple ones at the same time. And if we talk about toys with small parts, this is simply a no-no. If you fall into that trap and give your child all the toy sets they want, one thing is for sure: the small pieces will get mixed together and it will become a great challenge to put them away! Instead of setting yourself up for such a disaster, give them a toy at a time until they decide which one is the winner of the day.
Let them know that they will have to clean the mess.
Toys with small parts such as legos or puzzles, are a perfect way to make a mess fast and sure. And most parents make the mistake to simply clean after their children without even trying to put that responsibility on them. And if your kid doesn’t have to clean their own mess, they will not care how big the chaos gets to be! Instead of doing that, try to tell them ahead of time that everything that comes out of a toy box has to go back in the toy box and that is their responsibility as well. Chances are that after a couple of times of cleaning their toy mess, your kid will be more careful before making a new disaster on your floor!
Make organizing toys as fun as you can.
Try to make the organizing process more of a fun moment rather than some sort of punishment. If you teach your child how important it is to stay organized at a small age, it will become part of their routine and you will not have to worry about it anymore. But this should be done without exceptions so, try to start such a routine off by putting the toys away together with your kid.
And don’t complain while you are doing so. Simply make jokes and create a nice atmosphere while you are at it. Your little one will have a lot to learn from this! You can also give them a prize at first for putting their toys in order. This will stimulate them for the future.
Keep the toys out of sight and see what comes to their mind first.
Another trick you can do is keep the toys in a place where they don’t see them so often, like the attic. Ask your kid what they want to play with and bring the toy from there. This will save you from having them looking through all the toys in order to find what they want. And if you notice that they didn’t play with a certain toy in a long time, you can bring it back into the play time.
Children are spontaneous beings so most likely they will change their mind a lot as they stare at all the opportunities they have. This can easily lead to chaos and mood swings. But if you let them tell you what they prefer in terms of toys, they will give you maximum two options which is a lot easier to work with.
Toys with small parts can be very entertaining but they can also be challenging in terms of organization. And your kid will most likely love to play with them because they provide a lot of excitement and fun. Hopefully, this guide will not only help you organize such toy sets but also guide you to maintain that organization for a long time.
But the most important part of this process is to teach your child how to stay organized and take care of their toys. If they learn that, you will not have to worry about finding lost pieces of lego on the living room floor. And your child will grow up to be a responsible teenager and a very organized adult! All these benefits are achievable by following this guide and sticking with a good routine. So, happy playing and happy organizing!
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