Saturday, October 25, 2008

Living Simply Saturdays

Today's post on living simply has to do with an effective way to organize toys in households with preschoolers. We only have one child in our home, and we struggle to stay on top of random toys scattered throughout the house. I can imagine that it is even more challenging with multiple kids of different ages!

For me, the key to keeping toys neat and tidy is in the storage. Every toy has it's place, and Grace knows where it goes. The larger toys go in the toybox. The books go on her bookshelves. For toys that have several small pieces, they are stored in individual Ziplock bags or plastic bins. I also have a medium-sized plastic storage box that contains all random, smaller toys (figurines, costume jewelry, Happy Meal toys, etc.).

The other key to keeping toys neat and tidy is in the access. The boxed games, Ziplock bags of toys, and storage boxes are kept out of her reach. She only has immediate access to her toy box and books. If she wants to play with a "special" toy, she must first show me that she has cleaned up her toy box and books. When she finishes with the "special" toy, she must put it back in it's storage container and give it back to me.

This method is particularly effective when I babysit other kids in my home. They quickly learn that in order to play with a new toy, they must first clean up the other toys. The result is a neater and more organized home with less things to trip over!

Grace rarely fusses about cleaning up, and she actually enjoys picking up her toys and singing the clean-up song. I can only pray that this trend will continue through adolescence!

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.


Julie said...

Hi from Keeper of the Home! Toy organization is always needed at my house. :)

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

Joanna, I just recently worked on the toy access in our house, doing something similar to what you've done. I move all of the toys with lots of itty bitty pieces into bins, up high enough that the kids have to ask to play with them. They're not allowed a new bin until the first bin is cleaned up and put away. It is making a HUGE difference in the level of mess that is able to build up!