Hands up if your house is currently swamped in toys. Yep?! Yeah me too. Mason's birthday is two weeks before Christmas during the month of December our house is suddenly awash with toys, toys and more toys. So I have a suggestion to keep on top of it all but I warn you there are several stages; making a start, wishing you'd never started and then relief when its done!!
Trust me it will be worth it, it just takes a bit of sorting. I'd suggest a Sunday and preferably when the kids aren't around because we just know they will want to play with EVERYTHING! So when the husband says he's going to take the dog out (which we all know if his way of escaping and getting some one-to-one time with his beloved sports updates) why not suggest he takes the kids as well?!
Okay so now you have an empty house. Now this next step is important. It's something I've always done when cleaning and trust me, it really does make a difference.....put your trainers on!! Honestly, I'm not sporty at all but if I clean the house with my trainers on I suddenly come across all Sporty Spice and high kick my way around the house with a vacuum cleaner in tow feeling like I can achieve anything! It's a sight I can assure you!
Now this is where the toy revolution begins, or the toy rotation rather. That's what we're going to do, we are going to set up a super simple system for saving your sanity and lounge floor at the same time. You need to gather all the toys in one place and have a good sort out. It's common for young children to feel almost overwhelmed with too much choice and flit between toys. By providing your children with less choice you are actually supporting them to concentrate for longer periods of time. Toys will be reinvented and they will find creative ways of playing with them and you may even find it helps them to play independently. A bonus for you means it makes tidying up loads easier!!
Have a good look at the toys and think about those toys your children currently choosing to play with. Seen as it's just been Christmas there will probably be lots of new toys they love and a couple of old ones. Keep those out and put those to one side as we are going to keep those available.
Then there may be some toys your children received at Christmas that they haven't really started paying any interest. Perhaps these are too advanced or they don't know how to play with them or perhaps they just got so many they haven't moved onto them yet. These are ideal to pack away and save.
Then there are those toys that were once loved but your children have 'moved on'. Hold your horses! Don't throw these toys away. Often children will go through phases of interest and just because they're not playing with them at the moment doesn't mean they no longer want them. We're going to pack these away too.
Buried in the pile of toys there might be toys that are too young for your children. If they are too easy they have fulfilled their purpose and it's time to pass them onto friends with babies or a local charity shop. Things like figure people, animals and cars will always come in handy so worth hanging on to but other than that, in the words of Frozen...let it go!
Then there are those toys with pieces missing, have broken or require new batteries, This is the time you have a word with yourself, are you honestly ever going to get round to fixing them? Honestly?! If they have lots of potential and are worth saving them put them to the top of your 'To do' list, if not pile up to go. Sometimes you just have to be ruthless!
So now you should have a good idea of the toys you have to stay in the playroom, bedroom or lounge and you have those that need to go away. Ideally a loft space, garage or shed is the best place for these. If we all lived in a Pinterest world we would have a ridiculous supply of beautiful plastic storage boxes, neatly labelled with photos of the contents and your best handwriting. In reality we don't have all those boxes or time, so this is where all those boxes in the recycling box come in handy. Box them up, bag them up whatever your method, pack them up and find a home for them out of sight.
Ta da! Your lounge floor has just done a big sigh of relief and you will too! You should now have at least half the amount of toys to find homes for. Doesn't that feel better already!
Now we're not going to forget about those other toys you've just put into storage. In a couple of months the weather will have changed (hopefully!) you're children's interests will have changed and some of those beloved toys will have been cast aside again. Go have a look at your collection of lonely toys in the shed. The kids will think it's Christmas all over again and I bet you will have forgotten what's in there. However, there is a rule. Whatever you bring out of storage, you must replace with another toy from the lounge. And there you have, you are rotating your toys. Refreshing your toys every month or two will keep the children's interests alive and will save your house from literally drowning in toys!
Phew! You did it! You've got your Kelly Hoppen lounge back! Now you can kick off those trainers, relax with a mug of whatever takes your fancy and wait for your kids to return home and wonder where the mountain of plastic went!
Happy Playing! Claire x