It’s time for our second challenge of the year! I thought it might be fun this year to start off with some challenges to help us all get organized, and make managing our homes just a wee bit easier! I used to do these regularly with a group of friends of mine and the camaraderie and accountability really helped. Each Tuesday I’ll post different assignments in our challenges and I hope you will join us! (Need to catch up? See previous posts in this series HERE).
ASSIGNMENT 8: PLAYROOM (kids’ toys area – or hangout area for older kids)
Yeah, you guys were hoping I’d leave this to the very last, weren’t you?
I thought about it. Really did. But sadly, I need that space to be one of my “stations.”
So yes, this week’s assignment is the playroom. Or whatever space that is designated for toys. (I use the term “toys” quite loosely, so feel free to define that however you need to!) If it’s in the living room, their bedrooms, whatever. The best time to do this is usually when the kids are not around; either after bedtime or when they are in school!
My girls are now quite used to regular purging of their toys. When they were little, I started out by making it a big deal to get rid of “baby toys” since we no longer have any babies in our house. We always talk about finding other babies to give them to. And at that age, since it was still really important to not be a baby but a big girl, I was able to slide with that most of the time.
But this time I will have to organize toys into what is going into various shipments. We generally put as many toys as possible into our “quick” shipment (don’t worry, it takes too long to explain) more for our own sanity than anything else. I also try to weed out all the junky toys, or the ones that have just started driving me insane. In fact, one December when the girls rode on a float in the Christmas parade, I was able to “pass along” many of those little goodies to some other children, and all in the name of Christmas cheer! Go me!
Steps to getting the playroom ready for our “big move:”
- Purge the broken, missing too many pieces to be worth keeping, junk, and garbage.
- Pull out any toys still in good working order, but “too young” in development level. Be careful in assigning too much emotional attachment to things, but also don’t toss out the beloved stuffed animal that your child need therapy when she’s 20 over losing. Decide if these items go to the “consignment sale” pile or the “give away” pile. (Upcoming post about the give away pile, I promise!)
- Reorganize the remaining toys. How can you set them up that will make it easier for your children to clean it up and stay organized themselves? Is it a disaster because your organizational system is too complicated for them or “takes too long”? I personally happen to a big fan of those storage cubes, or smaller baskets for smaller items. I also have come to really love Ziploc bags. I use them for just about everything – and especially like to use them in game boxes to keep all the pieces in! FYI, the ones with the zipper closures are easier for little hands to do on their own, which means they will actually get used more.
- While doing this project, take a mental inventory. One year I realized my kids had about 40 coloring books, because apparently I had a “buying coloring book” fetish I didn’t even know about! I then banned myself from buying any more coloring books or crayons for quite a while. But you might want to take a look around and see if there are certain items that really would benefit from focusing on using up this year. Or perhaps begging Nana and Papa to refrain from gifting Junior with any more of for a while.
- Take one more look around. Are there any toys that might benefit from being put away for a while? Maybe a Christmas gift that they are just not quite ready for? Or they have too many of, and saving some until the first set are complete worn out, might spread out the fun? (I’m thinking the five million sets of Legos, the mountain of craft supplies, or dress-up clothes that have gotten out of hand)
- Or, is it possible you just have way too many items for the actual space? One idea is to organize the toys in large plastic bins and rotate them every few months. You can organize toys by season as well, which will help keep them new and interesting, and might also create a new family tradition! I know I always loved when it was warm enough to pull out the summer water toys as a kid. Why not extend this concept and have a winter/fall/spring box – both for indoor and outdoor toys?
Idea for You:
Honestly, the older my kids are, the less I like dealing with consignment sales! Mostly it’s just not worth the hassle, unless it’s a Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale. Those are the only ones I continue to do. So, if the toys have good educational value, I might add them to that pile. Otherwise it just gets donated.
Finally, before you put any toys in the donate or give away pile, or store them away for the season, grab your container of disinfectant wipes and give everything a good scrubbing. No reason to pass along cooties as well as toys, right?
Feel free to post in the comments, or link up! I’d love it!