We pride ourselves in organisation but Carla, from Pretty Organised, takes things to a whole new level. Over the next few weeks Carla will be sharing her top tips for how us mamas can get seriously organised.
Carla is also mama of 2 year old Nikolaas, so naturally the first place for any mama to start organising is toys!
Setup a play area in your home
I found that having a designated area for toys helps to keep things organised. You can use a wooden box, a plastic container, a basket, a toy chest, or a bookshelf with several bins to organise toys. Decide what goes where and let this be a measure of whether you are accumulating too many toys. I have a large toy basket that holds the majority of Nikolaas’ toys (which doesn’t include stuffed animals and books)
Keep it simple
When organising your child’s toys, keep it simple and decluttered. Go through the toy room every change of season to get rid of old, broken items that children no longer play with. Getting into the habit of regularly decluttering will save you time and space in the long run.
When Nikolaas and I did Kindermusik the teacher ,Tracey, taught us a sweet song, “Toys away”, which gently taught children about packing toys back where they belong after playing with them. It has stuck with us and we still sing it whenever we are packing toys away. I think it is important to have little ones help cleaning up. This way they notice all the different toys they have to play with. It also teaches them to take responsibility for their belongings.
Take stock and donate toys
Once every few months it is a good idea to take stock of all your child’s toys to determine which toys are being used the most and which ones are no longer played with. This is especially important in the early stages of your child’s life and will help determine which toys are age appropriate. In South Africa there are so many orphanages and thus a great need for toys to be donated, so get into the habit of making a donation from your stock when necessary. Once your child is old enough, involve him in choosing toys to donate and explain how happy any unused toys will make another child.
Create a cycle of toys so that kids don’t get bored. Store some books and toys away and then, in a few weeks or months, rotate the ones from storage. To help you remember to rotate, make a note on your calendar.
Receiving toys as gifts
When it comes to birthdays, let your family know that you are trying to manage the number of toys that your child receives. I try to have a chat with my family before Christmas or Nikolaas’ birthday. We discuss options for gifts and if there is something specific we would like to get him. This year we decided to buy him a wooden kitchen. It helped so much that the family contributed, because we could get him a good quality gift that would outlast other toys. Asking for books is always a great option if it is difficult to chat to your family or if they live far away.There are so many wonderful children’s books and they seem to be far more manageable than toys.
I find it helps to categorize and store toys by type (cars, dolls, puzzles, etc.) I do like the idea of a toy box which is filled with a bit of everything, a toy box is especially nice when friends visit and you want to set up a play area. This will give children more options when they decide what to play with.
Shelves help children see what toys they have. When storage boxes are used, try labelling them with large words or pictures to help children identify their contents or use clear plastic containers. Place frequently used toys on low shelves, to make it easier for children to reach.