September 28, 2011

Pre-Christmas Organizing

In many homes it seems to be tradition to have a pre-Christmas cleaning session. It is like spring cleaning but for the toy room and the closet so all the new gifts fit. The Kerr house is not exempt from this project and this year we are so excited to have awesome new rooms to clean. Today I'd like to share with you some of our best organizing tips.

  1. Get sturdy bins. A good bin that is not going to break when your child steps on it is an excellent first step. Broken bins are the first step to a huge mess so we have found this investment to be well worth the money. We also like to use ones with nice handles so the kids can carry them without leaving a trail.
  2. Avoid lids. Especially for little kids, lids are just something else they cannot put back. Lids make a mess, break easily, and in general are just something else to keep track of. We've found that it is much easier to keep things clean if we just leave them off.
  3. Use pictures. For our little kids this is very important. B & C have no idea what "truck" means but if I draw a picture as a label for the box we all know exactly what belongs there and they can then get the right item in the right spot all by themselves.
  4. Have sturdy Shelves. Another important part of every toy room is the shelves. Sturdy shelves save so much space and help keep things organized. Once again, avoid doors as it is just one more thing that makes your room look messy. At the Kerr house we have opted for a set of bookshelves with the backs taken off so our boxes fit better.
  5. Get a stuffed animal net. We got this last Christmas and it has turned out to be a lifesaver! The animals used to slowly overtake my house but now that they are out of reach it has greatly reduced our mess.
  6. Clean up regularly. It has become routine at our house to clean up each night after dinner. The big deal is Mom & Dad do not clean up the toys, B & C do. This has been a great learning experience for them and they now do it willingly while we clean up dinner and do other necessary chores.
  7. Don't be afraid to throw toys away. Get rid of broken toys, toys your kids no longer use, or toys that don't have all the pieces and do not work. Not having all the little pieces for a game the kids have destroyed will save you a lot of pick up time. Just wait till the kids are in bed before throwing them away and they will never be the wiser.
  8. Rotate toys. Another strategy is to rotate toys. Kids often get bored of toys when they play with the same ones day after day. Try rotating which ones are on the lower shelves and/or putting some in a box and putting them away for a month or two. Each time you do this it will be like Christmas all over again.
  9. Don't buy little dinky toys. Don't waste your money on little dollar store toys. It is so much better to save your money or purchase a better quality toy so that it does not break a week later and then lay around your toy room for the next year.
  10. Keep toys out of the kids rooms. This is something we are just beginning to do now that we have an actual toy room but so far it is working well. The boys don't have hardly any toys in their bedrooms which helps me keep them clean and be able to have successful nap times. I think this is especially important for toddlers who are easily distracted.
 I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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