Now that we are fully into the swing of term 1, I have set myself a plan of reorganising or de-cluttering, spots in the house that have been bothering me. Having the kids things organised provides a solid foundation to work from with the kids and sets an example of how I expect their belongings to be maintained. However well I plan this though, it always needs a refresher every couple of months to get rid of any build up that has occurred. This week I tackled the toy shelf.
Due to the floor plan of our house, we don’t have a specific play room in our house. Toys are located in cupboards in the children’s bedrooms and we have a toy shelf in the family room. For the two smaller children the toy shelf is the key source of their toys/activities. The older two can easily access the cupboards and choose the activity they want and then (hopefully) return it. Over the last few years, whilst we have had little ones I have found the toy shelf has worked well for us in managing the kids toys for the following reasons:
There is a finite amount of toys on the shelf.
Too much choice is often difficult for younger children to manage. They are more likely to want to have a go at everything and this generally just adds up to additional mess, without any real value for the kids. When I keep an eye on what toys the kids are playing with, their is generally a few key ones that they really are playing with at different phases of their development.
They can choose the toy themselves.
When I sit down with them to play or if they are playing by themselves, they can easily make a decision on what they want to do and easily find it.
A place for everything.
Although I do not expect the toy to go on the exact spot that I put it (but that would be very nice!), it is easy for the little kids to remember where they got the toy from and where they should put it back. If it is an activity with small parts, they know that they need to pick up all the pieces and put it back in the right container and place that back on the shelf.
Like I did today, when I realised that the kids are not really playing with what is on the shelf and are seeking alternative stimulation, I can draw from the stocks in the cupboards and rotate the toys. The new toys out have quite a novelty factor with even the older children, if they haven’t been out for a while. And for the toddler, some of these toys are completely new to him!
How do you try and contain toys at your house?
Next week my task is to reorganise the kids drawers, I have some ideas in my head about how to sort out the “socks and jocks” mess that has been occurring in the kids drawers.