One of the questions I get most often is how we handle kids toys everywhere & where we store things. Let me preface this by saying I am a pretty messy mom. If you saw my closet vs. Brandon’s closet, my side of the sink vs. his, or the inside of my van vs. his truck, you would never know we were even the same species. Opposites attract, right? 😉 But at the end of the day, we want to teach our kids how to take care of their things while still having fun, and of course we do appreciate the house looking like a home instead of a toy store.
So I am sharing five ways that we keep the toy clutter under control & keep a (semi) organized home with toddlers running around.
1. Get rid of toys often, or at least put them on rotation. I am not even sure how we accumulate so many things in the first place, kids meal toys, things the kids bring home from grandmas, and a birthday or holiday every other minute that lands them with a new doll and puzzle, toys get out out of control fast. We make routine trips to goodwill to get rid of things, once a month at least, with clothes we don’t wear or the girls have outgrown, toys they don’t play with or other things around the house taking up space. It’s hard with three kids of different ages developmentally, while we want to hold on to baby toys, the reality is Claire never touches them and really only wants what the big girls have (or a snack) so we try to be realistic about it. The other thing we do is keep rubbermaids on hand to rotate toys, things like their magna doodles, puzzles or noisy alphabetical alligators on a pull string (what even is this toy and it’s purpose?) will go in a tub, and every few weeks, we will switch it for other things. It makes their toys new again & leaves less to pick up daily.
2. Baskets are the answer to pretty much everything when it comes to toy storage for us. A couple baskets in the play room, in each of the girls rooms & in our upstairs media room keep all of the toys under control. It is super easy to just throw everything in baskets if we have guests coming over and you hardly even notice the toys. It takes no more than ten minutes to throw things in baskets. I prefer baskets from Target, Home Goods, etc. that fit with our home decor rather than kids toy baskets or boxes, an easy way to keep things looking tidy!
3. Make use of non-traditional toy storage. We park the girls baby doll strollers in our shoe closet, keep all of their crayons & art supplies in drawers, and keep puzzles in the bottom drawers of our night stands. Finding an actual place for things is half the battle. PS. Play kitchens are a dream because they hide so many toys!
4. Make it a routine for kids to pick up toys. I’ll be honest, this is hard, sometimes it is way easier just to leave them rather than deal with the whining and crying about picking up. But after just a few nights of doing it routinely before their wind-down-before-bed movie, they usually do it without being asked. We usually tell them we are going to play a song and we have to hurry to pick up all the toys before it’s over, and our goal is at least for them to get all of their toys out of the other rooms and put in the playroom, even if they don’t put everything where it actually goes.
5. Embrace the mess. Something we have to remind ourselves of often is that one day, we will miss this mess. We will miss finding goldfish in the couch cushions, stepping on doll house furniture and legos, and seeing little crumples of paper with your kids names scribbled on them in every room of the house. I don’t mind a basket full of doll clothes sitting next to my bed & I love a good pile of kids books on the coffee table. If you stop seeing it as a mess, it will no longer feel like one.
I hope this is helpful, and if you have any tips & tricks to share, we would love to hear them! Happy weekend, friends! XO134