Toys strewn all over? Professional organiser, Nathalie Ricaud, from Get Organised & Beyond, shares how to put an end to your toys chaos!
Have your kids’ toys taken over your home? Before you put the blame on them, have you asked yourself whether it’s fair? Because aren’t we the ones who buy them an excessive number of toys, so they don’t miss out on any developmental chance and turn out the brightest? Who hang onto every of their possessions for sentimental reasons?
Our role as parents is to set the rules and put organising systems in place so we set our child up for success when it comes to putting her toys away and so we get back in control of our homes. And this is what you can do.
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1. Back To Basics: Define The Role Toys Should Play in Your Family
Ask yourself how much space you want to dedicate to the toys, whether you want all the toys to be accessible to your child at any time, what is the maximum number of toys she can play with at one time, what are your tidying up expectations etc.
Take into consideration your values but also your child’s age, as well as her siblings’, if you’re home the whole day etc. so you come up with a solution parents and children will be comfortable with.
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2. Less Is More: Purge!
Studies have shown that children play better when they have less to play with. They fight less and use their imaginations more - and tidying up is easier for everyone. So let go of toys that are damaged and can’t be fixed, that are missing critical pieces and that your child has outgrown.
If you still have too many, keep the favourites only. Or rotate them, especially the bulky ones: store half in the play area and half in a place out of sight or at grand-parents’.
3. A Place For Everything And Everything At Its Place
Try to locate the toys storage area near the play area to make tidying much easier.
Make use of containers, baskets, boxes, bags etc. to keep categories together. You can recycle food containers, shoe boxes, gift boxes etc. Or invest in brand-new baskets, boxes, clear and colourful bins, with/out lids that you can stack, with/out wheels etc. It doesn’t matter what you use, only that they are sturdy, big enough to hold everything in that category without resorting to the shove and easy for the children to identify.
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It’ll help to label the storage aids with their contents so that everyone in the family knows where to find things and where to put them away. If you child can’t read yet, put a photo or ask her to draw the contents of the container.
Depending on your child’s age and her siblings’, it may be a good idea to keep jigsaw puzzles, board games and card games on higher shelves so they don’t end up scattered all over your home. Keep favourites and heavy items easy to reach. You may need to get down on the floor with your child to see what she can reach.
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4. To Involve Your Child In The Organising Process Or Not
Involving your child in the decluttering and organising process is the best way to build a system that she’s less likely to resist.
If you consider your child to be too young to help, ask her to select 5 toys she doesn’t want to get rid of and 5 she’d be happy to let go of. Respect her wishes and don’t underestimate your child’s memory, they easily notice when something they value goes missing. Failing to do so almost unavoidably leads to anger, resentment and frustration and will probably stop you all together in your tracks.
Video: Nathalie helps a mum and her eight-year old son declutter and organise his toys.
About Nathalie Ricaud
Nathalie Ricaud is a professional organiser and the founder of Get Organised & Beyond. She helps individuals who feel overwhelmed by all their "stuff" let go of things that are just stressing them out, and feel in control of their home and life again. She helps them establish systems to make sure they can find what they want when they need it, and maintain a clutter-free, organised and peaceful home.
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