The title says it all, it was truly Christmas at the Control Freak homestead. Little Control Freak might not have been super interested in opening wrapped gifts, but she sure dove into them when she spotted toys. At one point, in the aftermath, I could barely spot Anya and Roxy. It was definitely the Where’s Waldo of Toy Land.
Thus triggering 5 Ways to Control Toy Turmoil.
Live With It!
That’s right I said it. I know the chaotic clutter triggers a control freak’s OCD into overdrive, BOY DO I EVER, but this is the reality of little kids. They have toys, a lot of them, and they will be everywhere. The idea of a self-contained play room is GLORIOUS, however, small children really can’t be alone and unsupervised until a certain age (which I’m not privy of at this early stage of parenting). Even if you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated toy room, you will still have toys in your main living space for the times you can’t play lifeguard in the playroom sea of toys. You will get past this phase, but don’t will it to speed by because time does just that. A few years from now you’ll say “I miss that age.” So for now just embrace it, this to shall pass.
Create a Dedicated Play Room
Yes, I sound like a hypocrite. This will not solve all your problems as we have clearly discussed above, however, if you have the space for a dedicated play room or area, USE IT. This is where all big toys can claim home turf, which is 75% of the battle. We are currently saving money to finish our basement which will have a dedicated area for toys, family game nights, and future homework sessions. I can’t wait to design, decorate, and share this project! For now we have to get creative to contain the toy carnage.
Spread the Wealth and Assign Dedicated Toy Zones With Storage
You and your little one(s) will spend time in various areas of your home, but you’ll notice that some zones have a toy necessity. Right now our toy zones are the Master Bedroom, Anya’s Bedroom, and the Living Room. While I’d love to have a kid free bedroom, it’s not realistic. Anya spends time in there while we are getting ready in the morning so it’s needed. Both bedrooms have small toy baskets and the living room toy storage zone is a cedar chest that is in our foyer. Storage can completely hide the toys or just contain them, that’s entirely up to your style. Our living room toy storage is really close to exceeding its capacity, so larger toys, such as shopping carts and rocking horses, live behind our couch (out of sight out of mind).
A Few at a Time
Realistically, one child can only play with so many toys at a time, so don’t get them all out! Your child will likely have a greater attention span because they will be focused on a few toys vs. bouncing back and forth between the sea of colors and choices like a ball in a pinball machine. Copious amounts of toys tend to only wind kids up, which is good for no one. Ever notice how excited kids are to see toys at another persons home? This method has the same effect. They’ll be excited over toys they haven’t seen in a few days, almost like new (or as new as the new car smell air fresheners… fake it till you make it… you get the picture)
Keep/Save/Store, Trash/Recycle, Donate/Consign/Pay it Forward
Holidays, birthdays, and other milestones tend to bring in a lot of new toys at one time. This is a great opportunity to evaluate what you already have. The same method you use for ridding all other clutter can be applied to toy overload. Take a look at your stockpile and decide on the following:
Keep: Toys your kids still play with
Save: Toys that are no longer age appropriate but you are saving for future children (store elsewhere)
Store: Toys you want to save for grandchildren, store a minimal amount
Trash/Recycle: Toys that are in bad shape should be tossed in the trash or recycling bin
Donate: For toys you are not saving, donate them to a local charity, someone will be thankful
Consign: Let’s face it, some toys barely get used! Consign or sell toys in good condition.
Pay it Forward: Many people welcome hand me downs, so pay it forward and pass on unwanted toys to loved ones.
I know five tips may not be enough, and those provided can be no-brainers, but it’s a start. We are still in the very early stages of toy overload and will be sharing our ideas and fixes along the way. Have a dilemma on your tot’s toy space? Send me a pic and I’d be happy to help with suggestions. In the mean time check out some Pinspiration: