Thursday, December 19, 2013

Toy Rotation Boxes

With Christmas coming I know I'm anxious about all the toys coming our way. I love and appreciate all the generosity but all the toys can be daunting. I've noticed the more toys the girls have out the more gets dumped out and none of them get played with. The girls get overwhelmed by the mess and then cleanup becomes a big chore instead of a fun game.

A few months ago I put together a couple toy rotation boxes which only contained puzzles or stuffed animals. When I wanted to rotate puzzles I had to get that one box and rifle though it to get out what I wanted. I never liked this rotation system. It just didn't fit our needs.

The 6 bins awaiting their toys!

About a month ago I got down 6 plastic bins from the attic and began sorting through the girls toys. I enlisted Daniel's help as I was very overwhelmed by the process and didn't really know where to start. I knew what I wanted to do but didn't know how where to begin or how to put my plan in action. Thankful for him! With a little talking about what I wanted from our toys and how the girls behaved if there were too many toys out we decided on our plan.

Here's what to do:
1. Get out the boxes you want to use, whatever you have on hand is fine.
2. If possible, chat with someone else about your plan of action. Two heads are better than one!
3. Start the process of sorting: Throw away broken toys and any trash that made your way into the toys. Put together the toys that go together. We found it best to focus on one group of toys (ex. little people, puzzles, etc). This is also a great opportunity to gather a donate pile full of toys that aren't loved anymore.
4. Place toys in the bins and and remember what works best for you and your kiddo's.

The sorting process, taken care of Daddy. :)

All done sorting. Now time to hike all the boxes up to the attic.

At the end of the process each of our bins contained different items. Most bins contained 2-3 puzzles, a few little people, some cars, stuffed animals, a board game and a few stuffed animals. In one bin we put our little people farm and the people and animals that matched, 2-3 puzzles, a couple stuffed animals, some flash cards and a board game (just to give you an idea).

The goal of each box was to put a combination of toys for the girls to play with when I got them out. When I get out the box they have a variety of toys to play with. The boxes weren't filled to the top but have more than enough toys to keep them occupied. I like that the boxes create "new" toys to play with for the girls, too. It's fun for them to see what each box contains.

The great news in all this toy rotation box stuff: no more cluttered floor, no more overwhelmed mama or girls, no more anger about the junk on the floor. The boxes really have helped not only my sanity but the girls too. Clean up is much easier and fun again. And the less toys that are out, the happier the girls are. 

Less clutter = more fun for everyone!
Note: I do keep some items out all the time. A few stuffed animals, the baby doll strollers, the basketball goal and balls, their building blocks, books and their kitchen/cooking toys. These items get the most play and always make the girls happy. As of right now, this is all I've had out for the past 3 weeks. They haven't asked for any other toys and seem content with what they have. Out of sight out of mind, right?
After Christmas I will put a couple new toys out that I think they'll enjoy all the time and the rest will go in the toy rotation boxes, hence the reason I left room in each box. I know I'll also go through the boxes and see if there's anything to donate. After a few months I'll go through each box again and continue to add to the donate pile. Keeping clutter to a minimum is good for this mama. :)

Do you implement anything in your home to keep toy clutter to a minimum?

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