Do you need some help with your Play Room Organization?
You know the routine.
You walk into the play room and want to turn around and walk right back out.
Toys spread from one side of the room to the other.
Books coming off the shelf at every odd angle and all over the floor like stepping stones through hot lava, but instead of boiling hot magma…it’s worse…Lego’s!
There are so many stuffed animals that it feels like you are in some deranged zoo of blue and pink fur with giant eyeballs staring up at you, begging for freedom.
It’s enough to make you want to run away in fear.
BUT NOT TODAY!
You are going to tackle that play room and set up some systems so that you won’t have to face that scene ever again. You will have a clean play room and it will last longer than 1 day!
This is our play room and one room that my family keeps clean fairly consistently. I know it’s all because of the organizing that went into it. With four kids, all the birthdays, holidays and general spoiling that goes on around here…there were SO many toys that I had to do some serious purging. Now when the room does get messy, the kids can clean it up super quick and they never even complain about it.
5 Tips for Play Room Organization
1. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce and then Reduce again
Time for some tough love. No sugar coating here friend. You are going to have to purge. Then purge, purge and purge again. First you will need to set up two boxes or trash bags for donations and garbage. Go in without your children and get rid of anything broken, missing pieces or just plain garbage.
Next, go through one more time without the kids and pull out anything that the kids have grown out of, or don’t play with anymore -INCLUDING BOOKS. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and home school your children…they have access to a library. Books can be a hard thing to part with because of sentimental reasons and sometimes people feel guilty for getting rid of any sort of literature from their homes. I understand and am here to hold your hand and give you permission to donate those books. Someone else will enjoy them. If you have a couple books that were your baby’s favorite, keep those and get rid of the rest.
When I go into help people clean their out their children’s rooms or play rooms, one of the biggest messes is often the books. You will clear a lot of shelf space (and floor space) when you do this right.
—Bring the Kids In
Now it’s time to bring in the kids (after bringing the boxes out that you have already sorted, you don’t want your kids going through the boxes and find their very most favorite Happy Meal toy that they didn’t know they couldn’t live without until they saw it in the trash). Tell your kids that they are going to help pick out toys to donate, so that other kids that don’t have toys can have some. That usually helps the process for the first round. Don’t make it a big deal, just ask them to pick some toys to donate. Once they’ve done it on their own, then you can ask them about some other things you were on the fence about.
The easiest way to decide what stays and what goes is to choose 5-10 categories (depending on your kids’ ages and interests) and if the toy doesn’t fit into a category then it should go.
2. Rule of 10
What if your kids are not getting into the donate spirit? Then do what we like to call the rule of 10. This is especially helpful for my personal nemesis…the stuffed animal zoo. They can choose TEN items in each category of toys you choose to need this rule and the rest goes to charity. You don’t have to be super strict on the ten, unless you feel like it. If they need twelve stuffed kangaroos for instance then you can let them have a bonus for being so good. Toys are hard to part with I know, but your child will be much happier playing in a space that they can actually play in and not have to be yelled at to clean every minute of every day.
This rule is really to benefit your child first…and then you. So you shouldn’t feel like a monster for sticking to your guns. You are being a good mama for doing this!
3. NO lids or barriers
Just going to say it. Kids are lazy. If they have to do anything extra, even as easy as lifting a lid, opening a cabinet or pulling out a bin they just won’t do it. At least not all the time. Open shelving is the best option for play room organization for this reason. We custom built our shelves into our wall, but you could buy some inexpensive shelves at IKEA or somewhere else and make them work for your room.
Once you have shelves in your room then you can purchase containers…but do NOT buy containers before you purge! You need to see what you have before you know what you are going to store. A lot of times I go to help people organize and the first thing they want to do is run to the store. When you do go purchase containers, you will want to get wide open containers, buckets or baskets. If the opening hangs off the side like the buckets in our play room, it makes it even easier to throw toys in when it’s time to clean up.
I love using these kind of beverage buckets for toy storage. They’re metal so they are super durable (important in a kid’s space) and they look good! You can get them in lots of different colors and sizes for any storage system you have.
4. Designated Areas with CLEAR Spaces for EVERYTHING
This one is obvious when you think of it, but look around the play room. How many places do the kids have books? How many areas have stuffed animals, cars, Lego’s? This is one of those things that gets overlooked and you might not notice that it’s even a problem. When things are spread all over the room…then things get spread all over the room. Kids need EASY organization. Make sure that kids know the spaces for each type of toy and that is the ONLY thing that goes there.
5. Be Conscience of what comes in after you Organize
Remember those categories you ended on when going through and purging your toys? Well now when you go shopping for your child…don’t buy it if it doesn’t fit into one of the categories! It make everything so much easier if you stick to that plan. When grandparents and others ask what they want, you can give them the list of categories and ask them to stick to them. Of course, if you have my mom for a grandma she will ignore you completely. She will give your kids who can’t even ride bikes…skateboards. That’s what eBay is for! 😉
For the bigger toys that up so much space…like Little People villages, Bat Caves and Littlest Pet Shop houses…shelves built in to the closet or low open shelves attached to the wall was always our solution. The best part about these toys though? The kids will grow out of them and then you can get rid of them. And that my friend, is a glorious glorious day!
I talked about these steps and had a fun conversation with some friends over on Facebook Live if you want to watch it! While you’re there be sure to like my page so that you can see when I do my live videos!
Now that you have the play room cleaned…how about your child’s closet?
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