The toys just seem to pile up, right? Ester's birthday is on New Year's Eve, so come January we have a load of new toys to contend with (after Christmas and a birthday). She's only two, I can only imagine what it's going to be like as she gets older.
The thing is, children don't typically enjoy playing in a cluttered mess. They can certainly create one, but their creativity is sparked when there is a purpose to the placement of their things. They like to know where to find things, and they are able to better implement various toys into their play when they know what to expect.
Keeping the toys organized doesn't only benefit the parents and the sanity of the home, but it deeply benefits the children and their developing creativity.
Child Friendly Storage
Today it's easy to find dual-purpose furniture for the home. This type of furniture not only keeps a space organized, but also creates more space for play. It's important that our children are able to access their toys easily, and also that they understand where items are to be stored when it's time to clean up. Choose storage that has smaller compartments as opposed to deep and large bins. Larger storage only helps toys disappear, never being used. Using pretty wicker baskets, over-the-door shoe racks (for older children that can reach), decorative shelving, and stylish boxes and bins are all simple ways to store toys.
Shallow drawers and cubbies are perfect for categorizing toys, and easy for discovery.
It's true, they do grow up so quickly, and their interests seem to change just as rapidly. Once a month it's helpful to work through their playrooms/bedrooms and clean out what hasn't been a highlight for a while. Right now Ester is in love with her dolls and dollhouse, so this is what is out in her room. Her little train set is stored away, but not out of her reach, just hidden behind cabinets. She knows where to find it, but it's not in sight.
It's hard to actually remove toys and books from your children permanently, you may wonder if you're going to have more children, or if possibly they'll play with these toys one day down the road. The most important question to ask is, "what is the purpose of this toy?"
Use Your Entire Home
You may be one of those families that has a collection of scooters, bikes, skateboards and mini dirt bikes for children. These more obvious items need to be stored in the garage/shed or something similar. But what about indoor toys like dolls, mini kitchens, or blocks? Not all the toys have to be delegated to the playroom or bedroom. Creatively place toys throughout the home, and keep them out of sight when it's time to clean up (with hidden storage).
Having opportunities for play throughout the home will spark more imaginative play.
Most importantly, children are creative beings. They don't need plastic instruments to make music, they don't need baby strollers for their babies if they have a little grocery cart, they'll run Matchbox cars over their train tracks, and they'll cut out small pieces of fabric for their dollhouse bedding. Children are resourceful and imaginative; keeping their toys to a minimum only encourages their critical thinking. Less toys is always a good thing.
*This is a collaborative post.