I am not an organized person. I love to create and leave a tornado behind me. I also have a hard time completing projects because I get distracted by the next one before the previous one is finished. Since I know that about myself, I have to make sure that I am really disciplined when I start a task. I need a large chunk of time (something that is sometimes impossible to find with my kiddos running around).
This week's job was organizing all of the toys in our house to make them more 'kid-approved!" Before this week we had some buckets and a few toys bins with a hodgepodge of everything in them. I decided to follow the example of my husband and insanely organized Mother-in-law and make sure that every toy had a specific place to go. I dumped all of the toys out in the center of our living room and started sorting. If it didn't have a spot, it went in a holding bag. At the end of organizing, I decided if it was worth adding to the "miscellaneous" basket or if it needed to just get donated or trashed. Some toys got relocated to my craft cupboard to use for "independent art station tools."
I made labels for each basket in our toy room with a photo of the items that belong in the basket and the names of those objects.
We also made a rule that in the playroom (our living room which has no furniture in it), kids can take one basket out at a time (unless it is part of a set, for example: they can take out the little people, little people fences, and little people farm all at the same time).
I also created an independent reading area for my son. I'll be rotating books in and out. He loves it and likes showing his bear some books too.
I kept heavy or big things like blocks close to the ground. These are probably the easiest things to clean up, but make the house look the most messy because they take up so much spacing. Having a space to keep them has really been helping my son when it is clean up time.
I'm almost done with the overhaul in my son's room. He has these toy bins from Target. Originally I wanted to start fresh with something different and a little cuter, but since money doesn't grow on trees, I decided to just stick with what we have and try to organize it a bit better. I am still trying to figure out where to put labels on these bins. I'm thinking the back of the bin (on the inside)? Or on the front of each bin? Thoughts? If I put them on the bottom, then the labels get covered up when toys get put in.
Lego tubs are hidden in a cupboard... so they are accessible, but not that accessible... so they won't be everywhere all the time.
I am still also trying to figure out how I want to organize some of our nicer picture books- my teacher books- the ones my little guy can rip easily if they are at his eye/hand level. These ones are on higher shelves in his closet. Some of these books are also ones that I rotate in and out of his book sleeves.
Do you keep them stored away? Put them in baskets and hope they don't get ripped?
All in all, I think the labels with pictures and designated bins for each type of toy is going to work well. As there is an influx of toys with the holidays... all of my organization typically goes out the window. I planning for this year to be different!
I am also going through our toys and deciding which ones we still use (or which ones my daughter will use as she gets older) before I donate some. Since we host playgroup quite often and love having lots of kids over, it is nice to have a variety of toys... but keeping control of the clutter as toys move from room to room can be chaotic!
My goal this weekend is to give my son a tour of each newly organized room and have several practice sessions with returning toys to their proper places. I'm hoping if I can teach him where everything goes, he can become my little toy monitor :) He has an awesome memory for things like that!
Please pass along any other tips or words of advice about organizing and teaching kids to be organized!