When I was growing up, I remember one specific night when my mom announced that it looked like a tornado hit my bedroom. At the time, I didn’t know what she meant – all I saw was an amazing make-believe town and all of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls out after a day of play.
Now that I’m a mom, I’ve definitely told my children that their bedrooms look like tornadoes ripped through our house.
After noticing the tornadic tendencies of my children, I created a method to deal with their mess. Don’t get me wrong – I fully believe kids should be kids and have the joy of playing with toys.
I even think family members should feel the freedom to buy and give my children gifts they want to give (as long as they’re safe or appropriate gifts) when they want to give. Even though my husband and I would rather not have a ton of toys around our house, we don’t want to squelch the joy of giving in others.
It took me more than five years of dealing with toy messes to figure out my solution – but it works. And I love it.
Want to know how I manage the mess of my children’s toys?
I only let them play with a few of their toys at a time.
I’ve divided all of their toys into fourths. I store three-fourths of their toys in three separate storage containers, and keep one-fourth of the toys in their rooms.
Right now, it really works for us to keep groupings of toys together – for example, my daughter has all her Littlest Pet Shop to play with at the same time, and my son has all his Imaginext super heroes to play with at the same time.
We switch the boxes of toys every three to four weeks. And when we make the toy switch, it seems a lot like Christmas morning in our house. It doesn’t matter that my children have played with some of these toys for years … they’re just like new again. The novelty wears off after several days, but I keep the toys out anyway.
I love the toy rotation because it keeps toys fairly “fresh” – and it keeps the toy mess to a minimum. My children love the toy rotation because it seems like they get new toys, plus they don’t have as many toys to clean up.
Passing along gently-used toys
My family has been culling our baby toy collection for a few years now, and now my son has reached a stage where he wants to sell some of his toys to earn money (and buy new toys). We’ve been going through all of our family’s toys and know what we’d like to get rid of.
Here’s how we plan to pass along our gently-used toys:
- We’ll sell some at a garage sale.
- We’ll try to sell whatever toys don’t sell at the garage sale at a local consignment shop.
- We’ll give some to our church’s nursery department or local charities.
How do you manage a mess of toys? What do you do once your child outgrows his or her toys?
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