This is my motto when it comes to organizing. My version stands for Keep It Simple Superstar. Start by sorting into three bins: keep, donate, trash. If they play with it and it isn’t broken or can be fixed = keep. If they don’t play with it and it isn’t broken = donate. If they don’t play with it and it is broken = trash. Simple.
There is one exception to this list . . Memory lane. If it was a favorite stuffed animal or toy they have outgrown it is worth tucking away. You can not do this with everything, so pick a few to keep. Take a photograph of the others you plan to donate or trash and make a photo album for your child. Shutterfly books allow for room to add a little story beside the picture – so share your memory of your child playing with the toy (or use a picture of them playing with it). These books would make great gifts on graduation or at the birth of their first child. I digress.
Back to K.I.S.S. Once you have your keep bin, sort it. Books, games and puzzles, legos, dolls – anything your treasure chest holds needs to fall into a catagory. New toys and old favorites will come together and hopefully those old toys will find new life with the help of their new friends. This sounds like a movie?!? Actually, movies will be a great catagory.
Then find baskets and bins you have. Consider magazine racks, totes, and some of my favorite storage items are not meant to be storage containers – so be creative. Also, take note of your storage areas. Begin to place the sorted catagories into bins that make logical sense. Legos and a wire bin doesn’t make since, but legos in a plastic shoe box with a lid does. Go with your instincts here. Keep a notepad and pen handy and jote down any containers you might need to purchase.
While you are making final storage decisions also consider where the items will find their new home in your house. Does the tote or bin fit in the hall closet? Are totes filled with small parts high and away from toddler hands? If you have three places in your house with crayons, can you find one harmonious home for all of them? Nothing needs to go back to where it came from – specially if it didn’t make sense before you started reorganizing. Pick your decorative pieces for display. The others you can hide in the closet. K.I.S.S.
I organize three times a year. After birthday parties and after Christmas. Looking back at my starting point, it is easy to see why many avoid this project, however, the after makes it all worth it. Stick to the keep, donate, trash options and make it a routine. The routine will make upkeep much easier and less time consuming.
I also like to rotate books and toys from the play room to my son’s bedrooms. I rotate books with seasons or holidays. Currently our book selection is on friendship, love, winter and creativity – with cold weather, sometimes you have to imagine your fun and these books encourage our brainstorms. Toys are an important part of growing up, but too many toys can be over whelming for small children. Keeping them organized not only reinforces to your kids to keep their play area tidy, but when they are organized, your kids will enjoy them more. A bonus for your superstar work.