If you are a mother of little ones, you KNOW toys deserve their own post. They are everywhere. Hard to contain. AND it is hard to find a way for the kids to put them away where they go. Let's work on that today, shall we?!
Oh, I wish I could take full credit for this. But alas....It was my dear friend Tana that directed me in the way of shelves and boxes. It saved me! TOTALLY! Now let me pass the same on to you!
That means you McDonald's Happy Meal toys! You are GONE-SVILLE!
When my kids get a Happy Meal the toys are great fun until bedtime, and then they are gone. Find a new home for toys that are too young for your kids. If they are broken, missing parts, colored on, etc. It is time for them to go. Usually we have too much of an emotional attachment to the toys. Don't create, "but what if you ever want to..."s or "we should save this for the grandkids", etc. If there isn't a sentimental connection to the toy and reason for handing it down, let it go. Remember less is more. Easier to clean up and easier for your kids to play with.
CLEANING & CATERGORIZING
Seperate the toys into different catergories (blocks, dolls, balls, trucks, etc)
Get out your sanitizing wipes and give each toy a good wipe down.
Braid wayward doll hair, dress the barbies...not nudity allowed in the toy box! :)
I'm not going to lie. I almost giggle with glee at the idea of the next part. I LOVE this! Oh sweet wise Tana. Thank you for sharing your wise wise ways with me!
Find a enough bins or boxes to put each catergory into it's own space. I used the cute colored cloth boxes at Target. SO FUN! I didn't have a cupboard or closet to put the toys in, so I bought shelves from Costco.
Now, group the items together in a pile. Take a close up picture of the toys(click on the picture above to see the details on my boxes). Print all of the pictures and laminate (or cover in packaging tape. Yeah, I am that cheap and it worked just fine!). Attach the picture to the front of the box by taping, or because mine were cloth, I safety pinned them and added ribbon to cute it up a little).
Arrange larger toys so that they are easily attained and easily put back in their place.
Here is the beauty and magic to all of this....
Whenever you call "CLEAN UP". No matter the age of the child or who they are, every child will know where each toy goes. It almost makes it fun for them to clean up. They enjoy sorting the toys into their proper place. They will do it. You will see! And you will love Tana for it too! ;)
I have used this system for almost 2 years. I will never go back from it. I love it dearly! My kids clean up quickly, as do their friends. It keeps everything in it's place and looks bright, fun and inviting for any child! Love that!