Monday, March 3, 2014

My Latest Attempt at Sanity

I am a mom of 2 children (2 and 5) and care for another 1 year old in my home several days a week.  We recently spoiled our children with their birthdays and before that, Christmas. By we I mean my family and friends. OK my husband and I did too. I thought we had too many toys before the holidays and now the amount we have accumulated is simply out of control.  I regularly go though them and get rid of toys that the kids don't really play with or are broken. When I look at what is left, I remember buying it for them and just knowing they would love it. Or watching them open the toys as a gift from someone else and I simply don't want to give it away any more than my kids do.  I know eventually we will be free of all these toys with a billions of pieces or sounds that could drive even the sanest person to run screaming from the house. I know some day I will be able to walk though my living room with out feeling like I am walking though a landmine. When that day comes I am told I will miss all the toys but for today, I have resolved that it is where we are in life. 

If there is one thing I am good at, it is organizing.  Over the years I have made many attempts to organize the toys spending hours on the floor with a pile of toys.  2 days later, the toys are all messed up again.  Though my kids have a firm grasp on how to clean up, they struggle with putting a toy away before taking another one out.  It does not help that often they will take pieces of several different toys to create a whole new toy.  This is something that I find adorable and wish to encourage so most days we let the living room go until just before bed time.  Unfortunately with the amount of toys we now possess, this chore takes the whole family too long.  

In my endeavor to find and organizational plan that will actually work with my kids and our life, I have come up with this.  And I don't mind sounding like an organizational geek when I say I am pretty darn excited about it.  

As you can see from the picture I purchased about 20 simple bankers boxes for about $25, not bad.  I have organized the toys (yet again) into collections.  There are horses, Lego friends, zoobles, etc for my older daughter and 6 different "Toddler Boxes" for the 2 little ones in the house.  At the start of each week, we put away the toys we have been playing with for the week in the bankers boxes and then the girls get to pick out a new box for the week.  What is in that box remains their focus for the week.  We also have some craft boxes with paint, play-doe, etc that we can choose to play with but they all get put away before taking out the next box.  

Of course there are toys that don't go in the boxes that the girls play with constantly.  In our house stuffed animals are like best friends so those stay out as well as simple art supplies like paper and markers.  These are used pretty much daily.  

As you can see from the picture, they are not the prettiest boxes and I am sure I could make them more appealing to look at but for us they work.  I am able to stay sane in my own house and though it is far from magazine ready, I think it balances our style with our crazy life quite well.

Thanks for taking a look.


Lisa Werth said...

I did this when I had a nanny position with two sets of twins aged 2 1/2 and 4. With four children and lots of relatives they accumulated a lot of things between holidays, birthdays, and just because.

When I started all the toy areas were overflowing and really not organized. So I purchased 30 of the banker boxes and had them setting out everywhere then I grabbed laundry baskets and just picked up the toys and sorted by what went together. Then labelled the boxes like you did. And, put them in the basement like you did. We rotated out too.

I found the toys seemed fresh to them when they had a break of playing with them. Because I did homeschool preschool it was to grab for themes of the week too.

I don't think it's a big deal they are in these boxes. I mean they are in a basement, and they are stackable.

sandlegirl81 said...

I love this! When a three year old came to live with us eight months ago our organization tanked! It's been going downhill since. I love this idea, and do something similar at work with the kids books but it didn't occur to me to try this at home. I may have to give this a try!

Marcia Hall said...

I had never thought of doing this with books. That is really and excellent idea too! We have so many of those as well. Not only am I a sucker for those scholastic book orders but my mom is a retired teacher and gives the girls a book every-time we see her. There are just so many books to go though but if we divide them into groups and bring one out every week or so, we can save space and the kids will be able to see all the books. I now have a weekend project! Thanks so much.