I’ve been there: picking up little do-dads, for the ****too many to count**** time, in ONE day. (Oh, and by the way, my children would NEVER play with these things BUT feel the need to dump REPEATEDLY all over the floor.) All the while prompting my toddler to assist me with the cleanup, but that’s honestly exhausting too. You know what I’m talking about? Yes, it’s toy chaos!
My space (not talking about the prehistoric social media platform)
I live in a rented house with little storage. No attic. Gross basement. Three teeny tiny closets. (I LOVE the little place we call home, by the way…but…) The lack of storage has forced me to think about the toys we have and WHY we have them. Yes, WHY!
Granted, if you have small children it is impossible to avoid messes but you can get it under control!
Wouldn’t it be nice to…
- spend the majority of my day PLAYING with your kids not CLEANING up for the kids over and over in frustration.
- Avoid spending money on toys that will break easily and lose interest quickly.
Well, I’m striving for these goals which inspired this post. By no means have I arrived! SERIOUSLY. This is a constant battle but I think making small steps is rewarding.
By the way, I’m a mama of a 2 year old, energetic, but introspective son and a 9-month-old, extroverted, spunky baby daughter.
So below are a few simple steps that seem to be helping our family at the moment.
Designate clean up times
We decided before lunch/naptime and after dinner work well for our family. This will help you have more structure, teach your child to participate in the cleanup, and give you back some sanity!
Optimize your storage
Let your little ones help. What does this mean? Well if you consistently have the same spaces for toys, they will quickly learn where things go and can lend a small hand from time to time.
Weed out the junk
This is a process! And for that, I’ve created my chart above. Take the test! Organize your toy chaos!
Invest in quality toys
You might say, but they are expensive and I’m on a budget! I’m right there with you! Although I’ve discovered some ways to hunt down amazing toys: Thrifting! (HA! Yep, I’m the Thrifty Pittsburgh Girl so you knew that one was coming!) Find an amazing thrift store. Search the toy sections year round and save up your awesome finds for birthdays and holidays! No more spending sprees with Amazon Prime! So easy to do that, right?!
When a family member is going to purchase a gift for your child, give them specific ideas that are in their price range. Anticipate that they will get something that your kid won’t love very long (and add to the toy chaos). Fix that problem! Also, if you have multiple kids, ask families members to purchase combined gifts. That way, the kids can share something of a higher quality and enjoy it together.
Purchase toys that appeal to a variety of ages
This one is tricky. It’s hard to know when kids will love what toy. But there are some basic ways you can work through this. For example, it is my daughters first Christmas this month. She is 9 months old so of course, any “baby” toy will appeal to her for a moment or two. HA! But honestly, as I watch her through the day, she is shadowing my son and taking his toys and so incredibly interested in what he is doing. So guess what? We got her a little wooden train! We know our son will love it. And the hope is that she will now have a train to parallel play with near and with her big brother.
Have a space for special toys
What’s a special toy? Whatever you choose! We have a little closet downstairs and inside I keep a few toys in label bins. There a Duplo Legos, puzzles, magnetic tile, blocks, Mr. Potato Head and accessories…What do these all have in common? You guessed it: a million pieces! I find having the toys with several pieces in a special place helps control the chaos. And it’s awesome because I can spontaneously reward or surprise my toddler with a special toy. Sometimes he will even ask for a “special toy please”. It is so sweet.
Thanks for reading friends! I hope this helps get your toy chaos under control. If you have any ideas that work well for you, please let me know! I love suggestions.
♥ Thrifty Pittsburgh Girl