COLLABORATION ON EVOLVE TOYS’ BLOG – www.evolvetoys.com – March 27th, 2018
Yay for Spring! It’s officially here. The weather outside may not be as warm as we’d like it to be. It will take a few more weeks before we see patches of green and buds on the trees, but as the new season of longer and brighter days is upon us, many of us start getting an itch to clean, declutter and organize. After all, Spring cleaning gives us a sense of structure and well-being. A feeling of rebirth.
As we at Evolve Toys started thinking about our own Spring cleaning, we realized that we need to pay close attention to how we’re to organize and tidy up all of the new toys we’ve brought into our house. With the three toys testers playing often with so many of the products that we carry, we have accumulated many toys over the last few months.
We decided to ask Professional Organizer, Elizabeth Alescio, from www.mllerangetout.com on how to best tackle the task.
Keeping toys and playrooms organized is just as important as keeping the rest of the house organized, but is it more, less or just as complicated to organize?
I don’t think it’s a question of being more or less difficult to organize, I believe people tend to get overwhelmed more easily with toys because it can get out of control very quickly.
What are the key things to keep in mind when organizing toys and/or a playroom?
Organizing is a process and it needs to evolve as your kids get older and as their needs change. As parents, we often want to have a perfect home where everything is neat and organized at all time, but in fact kids will be kids and your home will get messy and disorganized. The key is to find storage solutions where every item has its own assigned place so that it’s easier for kids as well as adults to put everything in place afterwards. Think of placing things at your kids’ height to make it easier for them to reach and put back.
What is the easiest way to make the organizational process painless and quick?
I strongly suggest labelling everything! Every bin, basket, shelf should ideally be labelled so that all members of the family know where everything goes. I often tell my clients that tidying should be as easy as placing something on a table; if you can lay it down on a table, you should be able to put it back in its place. Set aside 15 minutes at the end of the day to tidying up as a team, parents and kids!
What is the best way to start and then keep the toys and playroom neat without having to re-organize too often?
I recommend that all families follow this process:
1) Get all the toys out, yes, all of them!
2) Categorize like-items together: dolls, blocks, puzzles, educational toys, etc.
3) Go through each category and decide what to keep, donate and discard
- Keep: Toys that kids still play with regularly and love
- Donate: Toys that kids don’t like anymore, and too old to play with
- Discard: Toys that are broken, damaged, missing pieces
4) Find appropriate storage solutions for your family’s needs. I suggest a cube-type storage like the KALLAX at Ikea where each “cube” represents one category of toys.
5) Label, label, label! This is the key in making the cleaning up process quick and painless. If your bins are properly labelled, everyone in the family will know where toys go. I suggest pictured-labels for young kids.
If after completing this process, you still have too many toys for the available space, you might consider rotating toys on a regular basis.
How frequently should people organize toys?
I recommend sorting through toys every season if possible but at least once or twice a year before the holidays or before your kid’s birthday as this is when most kids will get the bulk of their toys.
Should you get the kids involved? And how do you get them involved?
I am a strong believer in involving kids in the decluttering process at a young age. You would be amazed at how mature kids can be when you explain to them the situation. For example, “You haven’t played with this toy in several months, it might be time to give it to another little boy who is not as fortunate. Will you help me bring to it the donation center?”
A good way to get them involved is to turn it into a game. Set a timer and give them 15 minutes to find 15 things they are willing to get rid of. Or ask your child to select one toy per day they are willing to part with.
This doesn’t mean that decluttering will be easy, your kids might be resistant to getting rid of some toys, they might even throw a tantrum or two, but it will show them how to be more responsible. Showing our kids how to become autonomous at a young age can only benefit them in the long run. In my experience, kids will take pride in their contribution to the process and make efforts to keep their space more organized. Of course, as parents, we must set an example and encourage them along the way.