Thursday, 24 August 2017

Using toy rotation to cut the clutter

If you have small children, it's almost impossible to avoid toy clutter. Even if you do your best to buy and ask for clutter free gifts, children just seem to acquire things and if you don't keep on top of it you can quickly become overwhelmed. I've found that children exposed to the same toys all the time simply don't notice them anymore, and that's how you can get trapped into buying so many new toys, because the new toy is so much more exciting and will entertain them for a little while, before it becomes another forgotten toy.

Using toy rotation to cut clutter in the home

I've found that a brilliant way to deal with this is to use toy rotation. Packing some toys away means that when you bring them out they are just like new toys again, and bringing out a 'new' box of toys can keep your toddler entertained for quite some time, as well as making sure that you get your money's worth from the toys that you keep in your home.

Before setting up a toy rotation system it's a good idea to have a big clear out. I've found that the best way to do this is to simply clear a big area of floor space and pile up every single toy that you own. It's always best if you can find some child free time, but it's also a good way to keep little ones entertained while you tidy, as they'll always find something new to play with!

Sort the toys into different categories. For example shape sorters, vehicles, dolls, soft toys, toy kitchen bits and pieces and so on. This is a good way to check whether you have any duplicates that can be donated or sold, perhaps even toys that you've forgotten you even owned. Then you need to divide your toys into three or four groups. I've found that three groups works well, but if you have lots of storage space you may be able to store four sets of toys. Each group of toys can have just one large item, for example one shape sorter or big truck, and you can divide the smaller toys, like puzzles or small dolls and figures, between the groups.

Then find a storage solution for each group of toys. I like something like these large folding crates (affiliate link), they are easy to store away in a cupboard and they stack nicely too. Pack each group of toys into a different crate, keep one box out, and find somewhere out of sight to store the others.

How often you rotate the crates really depends on how much time you spend at home. If your child is at nursery or you are out and about a lot then you will probably only want to rotate the crates every few weeks. If you are at home most days, or your child needs to spend longer entertaining themselves - perhaps because you have an older or younger sibling to deal with - then you might find that weekly works best. Personally I would generally swap the boxes when my toddler was particularly grumpy and bored and needed something to entertain them.

For my slightly older children I set up a similar system with some after school busy boxes. I labelled one box for each day of the week and filled it with different small activities. I didn't take out a box every day, only on days when we were at home and bored, so they didn't have the same thing out each week. I found it a really good way to keep them busy while I was getting on with the after school chores like making dinner and packed lunches.

If you found this post helpful you might enjoy some more of my tips on dealing with clutter in the home, with a particular emphasis on toy clutter. 

Also, I have found the Marie Kondo method of decluttering really helpful when it comes to my home, if you want to find out more you can read my blog post on my interpretation of the Marie Kondo method.

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