By: Stephanie Hawkins
Give each toy a home
So far in this toy organizing blog series, I’ve discussed the first two steps of the organizing process: analyzing yourself and your stuff; and sorting and purging your toys. Read through these posts and complete these critical steps before you move onto today’s topic, giving each toy a home.
The cutlery drawer
Now that you have sorted your child’s toys, it’s time to find a “home” for each toy within your home.
A great way to grasp this concept of “home” is to consider a cutlery drawer. When not being used, forks are always stored in their assigned home in the same drawer. Everyone in the house knows where to find a fork when they need it and everyone knows where to put it away when not being used. This is the type of organizational system you need to create for the toys.
It’s important to not rush out and buy storage containers at this point. In the next blog post I’ll discuss how to select the right storage containers. For now, it’s important to decide where in your home toys should be stored, not how they will be stored. In the meantime, use temporary storage containers like shoeboxes and bags.
Create activity zones
An important rule in assigning each item a home, is to store items where they are used.
Study where your kids play with their toys. Make a list of the activities your kids do for each room they play in. For example, the list might include:
– reading in bedroom
– painting/drawing in kitchen
– playing with toy kitchen set in playroom
If your child plays with some toys all over the house, make a separate list for these activities. We’ll discuss how to store these later. Example:
– playing with train set in living room/hallway/bedroom/basement
Now, for each room, create a zone for each activity. If your child reads in his bedroom, set up a reading zone where all of the books will be stored, along with a chair or place to read.
If your child does arts & crafts at the kitchen table create a zone within the kitchen to store the supplies and other things like newspaper to put down on the kitchen table.
Like with like
Another important rule of organizing is to store like items with like. This make retrieving and returning toys simple. So, if you’ve created a toy kitchen zone in your playroom, make sure you include all of the toy dishes, food, cooking utensils in that zone.
Once you pile the containers of toys in a room, you’ll start to get an idea what type of containers and storage units you are lacking.
You might find that you don’t want store certain toys in your living room, or you may have noticed that your child plays with certain toys all over the house. In these cases, you’ll want to store these toys in portable storage containers that you can lug around the house. We’ll talk more about how to select these containers next blog post.
For now, you need to decide where these portable storage containers will be stored. If you don’t have a playroom and you don’t want to store toys in your child’s bedroom, consider creating a toy storage area somewhere easily accessible to your child and not so out of the way that it makes tidying up difficult. More details on storage areas next post.
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll discuss the fun part of organizing, shopping!
tephanie Hawkins is the founder and principal operator of Haven Home Organizing. As a business-owner and dedicated domestic engineer, she has a passion for helping busy parents simplify their home lives. With two children, she understands the unique challenges faced by mothers in the workforce. Stephanie has an affinity for order, she has a Master’s of Library and Information Studies from McGill University. You can also follow her on Twitter @HavenOrganizing.