If you have kids in the zero to preteen range, then toy chaos is a fact of life. You need to accept it, but don’t have to succumb entirely. Here are 5 tips for minimizing toy chaos in your home.
- Dedicate excess storage capacity for toys. Let’s say, for example, you have 3 bins designated for daily toy storage. If those bins are stuffed full at the end of the day, you can pretty much count on them being dumped loudly and thoroughly at the start of the next day’s play. Double bin capacity and fill each one only halfway, making it much easier for kids to rummage through and find what they are looking for.
- Schedule playdates wisely. Some kids are just natural born scatterers. Like, you are quite sure they stand in the middle of a room, flinging things around when you’re not looking. Figure out who THOSE kids are and keep a closer-than-usual watch when they come over to play. Also, be honest. If your kid is the scatterer, make sure they do at least their fair share of post-play tidying. If you are consistent with this, both dumping and scattering behaviors should abate over time.
- Move toys in and out of heavy rotation. Keep a secret, well-out-of-reach space available for stowing away some portion of your kids’ toys. Every so often, when your kids are either out or asleep for the night, remove and stow a few items from daily bins. If you notice your child looking for something, you can surreptitiously return it to daily rotation.
- Recruit kids for big toy cleanouts at least twice a year. Time these cleanouts for just prior to birthdays or big gift-giving holidays, so you can rationalize as “making space for all the new stuff you are going to get.”
- Other good strategies for convincing kids to part with their beloved old toys include appealing to their sense of:
Growing up and maturing – “Let’s give some of these old baby toys to your new cousin!”
Kindness and social justice – “Let’s donate some of these toys to kids who are less fortunate than you.”
Community – “Let’s help raise money for your school by donating some of these toys to the spring fair.”
Money and saving – “Let’s see if we can sell some of these toys on Facebook marketplace”