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MC: Keeping Toys Organized...and Keeping Your Sanity

I am part of an AWESOME mommy panel with Cassie from Two In Diapers and Julie from Naptime Review.
Each Saturday, we will bring you fresh new ideas and advice about motherhood.
If you enjoyed what you read, we encourage you to tweet about it!
Coming on April 6th, we will discuss:
Special Easter Traditions You Share With Your Family.
Now on to this week's topic!
How Do You Keep Your Kids' Play Area Organized?
Here is what Mom Connection shared:
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Welcome! I'm Julie over at Naptime Review. I am a mom of two wild, crazy and beautiful girls. My oldest is 4 and my baby is 19 months old. This is how I keep my kid's play area organized:
Help! Help! I need help with this topic. I am a VERY organized person, but that's the thing. I am organized and my kids are little hoarders who get into everything. Toys are everywhere around here. Yep, I need help on this one.
We are also moving this summer, so I am in the process of organizing and keeping their play space uncluttered, clean, and functional. Here are some tips that have helped me tackle the clutter:
1. Get a toy bin and storage tubs: After Christmas we were so overwhelmed with the amount of toys, we went to Home Depot and bought plastic storage bins and baskets. We have them in every play area as well as our rooms.
2. Donate, or throw away: While you are organizing you can put all toys that are not played with in a holding bag for 2 weeks. If a child doesn't ask for it, feel free to discard. You could also rotate out toys. When children see the old toys they will think they are new again. I am getting ready to box up half our toys. My girls will think it is Christmas in July! Literally!
3. Label storage bins: You can take pictures with your camera or find pictures in magazines. Your emergent readers will be able to associate the toy to its proper home. Every toy should have a place.
4. Clean up: Every night before bed, we clean up our toys. It helps to start the day with a clean and organized space. It also helps mommy distress from the day.
Good luck! I look forward to learning more tips on organization.
Hi! I'm Cassie from Two In Diapers, and I'm a mommy to three sweet babies, ages 4, 3, and 20 months. This is how I keep my kid's play area organized:
One factor that keeps our play area super organized is our photo-label system. Each basket in our toy area is labeled with a photo {simply printed off the internet and laminated} of the contents of that basket. This makes clean-up SO much easier and doable for the kiddos. My kids love putting the toys in the basket labeled with the matching photo… it's almost like a game for them! When other children come over to play, cleanup time is a breeze as well and they also seem to enjoy the photo system.
Another {and possibly the most important} factor that keeps our play area organized is that we have created a space for each and every toy. It seems to be the odds and ends toys that junk up a play area since they really never have a home and create frustration during cleanup. In our play area, the larger random toys have a place to "park" and the smaller random toys have a fabulous basket just for them - we call it "the junk toy basket". You can view our entire play space and read about what a project it was to organize here and here. Since the play space organization project took place nearly a year ago, the area has remained clean and organized {with me occasionally tossing a few toys back into their home baskets), and cleanup time is usually a quick and painless process. I have been very pleased with our method!
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My name is Alexa from No Holding Back. I am the mom of Nayner Bug (male, 5), Jelly Bean, (female, 3) and Tiny (female, 1). This is how I keep my kids' play area organized:
I used to struggle with organization every day. I am not by nature a very organized person. I tend to keep all kinds of stuff that I shouldn’t (ie, packrat!) and I am not very good at putting things away. However, I want that to be different for my children, so I am trying really hard to break my habits by teaching them better habits and I have found some ways that are super helpful!
The key to keeping a kids space organized is simplicity. Don’t allow too much stuff and make sure it is easy to pick up. So the best ideas I have found is the rotating toy idea, where you go through and put about half of their toys away, and after a couple of months change them out, OR I have a friend who has a really great system. She has a basket for each day of the week. On Monday she pulls out the Monday basket/tub, and those are the toys her daughter plays with that day.
The second element is making it easy to pick up. I have found baskets and bins (especially the kind that fit so neatly on shelves or cubbies) are the best method of attack. At the end of the day, you simply throw everything in baskets. You can label them (barbies in one basket, legos in another) to keep it more organized, or just throw them all in one and tuck it away. It’s very easy for small children to help pick up as well when all they have to do is toss it in a basket or bin.
Happy Organizing!
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My name is Fotini! I blog over at Glamorous Affordable Life. I am the mom of (Isabella 2 years old and Christian 6 years). This is how I keep my kid's play area organized:
It seems as though I'm constantly trailing behind the kids picking up after them, but at times it gets exhausting. We have a loft upstairs that is currently the kids playroom that is pack plum full of toys. I think Isabella's favorite thing to do is to see just how many toys she can get out at once!! I always make it a-point to have the room cleaned up before we leave it. This helps not getting stressed out at the end of the day when you still have to pick it up! This is a great habit I started with Christian while he was little, and he's really good about obeying it. I love it when he can set a good example for Isabella :) When it's time to clean up, I start singing "the clean-up song".. It's just a little song I made about cleaning up, and Isabella starts singing along with me and by the time you know it, we're done! I think this teaches good organizational skills plus keeps them busy while doing something they would normally complain about, cleaning! I have all of the toys, somewhat, organized throughout the room. I have a bookshelf where the board games, books and puzzles are kept. And I have a shelf with cubbies for toys to be stored without seeing them! It makes a huge difference to me, walking into a room and not being completely bombarded by all the toys! But like I said, that room is to be cleaned up before we step foot out of it, every time :) Makes this Mama happy!
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My name is Kristen from The Mrs. & The Momma. I'm the momma of three girls (ages 7, 5, & 3) and a little boy (20 months). This is how I keep my kid's play area organized:
We have an upstairs playroom that serves as my children's play area. Some toys are in their bedroom and some make there way downstairs (which totally irks me), but for the most part we keep them in the toy closet or organized in a somewhat orderly fashion in the room. Little canvas boxes have been my saving grace. Having three girls, you can imagine the amount of tiny, inconspicuous Polly Pocket or Barbie accessories that abound. Couple that will all the other "little" things that creep into our house and you've got some major choking hazards on your hands. We've taught our older girls where things belong, so usually toys end up in their home...and when they don't, I usually just chunk them in the trash if I don't think they'll be missed. (I know....bad momma.) Another way we attempt organization with toys is having centers. For example, our reading center is near a bookshelf will ALL of our children's books. Theming out our playroom in this way helps toys stay in the vicinity of where they belong. We're not super organized all the time and quite often our playroom is a disaster, but I do know for a fact that when it is orderly up there, playtime tends to produce less whining, arguing, or destruction of toys. But don't take my word for it. :)
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Your Turn:

How do you keep your kids' play area organized?
Leave us a comment; we love to read your tips and advice!
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