Wednesday, September 28, 2011

De-cluttering the play room

Having 2 boys about three years apart makes toy storage and organization a challenge. Having 2 boys that have very different interests makes it nearly impossible!
Here are some tips for trying to organize/de-clutter your play space.
1. Don’t do it with your children.
Seriously, are you really going to get anything actually thrown out or donated if you enlist there help. Suddenly, the toy that has not been played with for 2 years will become something they can’t part with. DON’T DO IT! Wait till there at school or napping and try to do it then. You’ll get so much more accomplished!
2. Set a timer!
I am a big proponent of using a timer. Set it for 15 minutes and then get to work. When the timer goes off,  you can stop and have a break. You are much more likely to begin a task it you know you don’t have to do it all day. But, as Flylady says, you can do anything for 15 minutes.
3. Have 3 bins, okay maybe 4,  ready to go.
You need to have your materials with you, so you don’t inadvertently mess up your whole house while trying to complete this project. You will need a trash bag, a box for donations, and a box for items that you want to sell. I also like to have a box for things that belong somewhere else (more about that on number 4). This way you don’t end up with a tidied playroom, and piles of stuff everywhere else!
4. Don’t get sidetracked.
If you have to leave the playroom, you are going to find something else that needs doing. And if you are anything like me, you will end up completely forgetting what you are supposed to be working on. So instead, have a box for things that belong in another place (like your son’s underwear that you find in the car bin…don’t ask…just put it in the bin, and when your timer goes off, you can take these items and put them away).
5. If it is broke, nobody wants it.
Seriously, GoodWill does not want a toy that no longer works or doesn’t have all the pieces. Throw it out, don’t waste their time! And don’t keep things that don’t have the pieces, you can not play checkers without the red pieces!
6. Playrooms need storage!
You can’t store stuff and keep it organized without storage (think about it, that is why we have cabinets in the kitchen). We bought ours from Target, and we love it!
7. Sort like things together.
This is probably a given, but it is important. Put all things that are alike together. Animals, cars, trains. Sort them and put them in a bin, or a box or a shelf, together. Farm sets, or matchbox car sets should be stored together, so when the kids want to play with it, all the pieces are right there. If they pieces are lost or broken refer to number 5 :)
8.Label Label Label
The kids are never going to find something, or keep the room semi-straight if they don’t know where things go. So you have to label. Use pictures, or words or both…this is a must do! So do it!
9.Hide it
Now that you think you know what you are going to donate, or sell. Put those items in your garage or attic for at least a month. If the kids never mention an item go ahead and get rid of it. If you have inadvertently  gotten rid of a favorite toy, you can pull it out and no harm has been done!
10. Spend 5 minutes a day keeping it up.
Here is a trick find a cool song (we like “Who let the dogs out”) and play it. Then have the kids help tidy until the song is over. You will probably do most of the work, but at least your trying to get them involved.

Now that it is all organized, sit back and enjoy. Aren't you glad you started this project!?!?!

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