PLAY ROOM ORGANISATION, ROTATION SYSTEMS & STORAGE
The first thing I'm going to say is less is more and I cannot empathise this enough. I also want to press the point that you also don't need to have everything in this designated play space for your children! It is important to keep toys at a manageable level and to create an area that will encourage freedom to play; and an addition of a designated area just for storage! Toys would have to be the most challenging for families to manage and quite often toys toys can be scattered from one side of the house to the other... and is what ticks us Mums off the most!
First and foremost, before you organise this area, you really do need to do a thorough declutter- and be ruthless.
Here are some easy step by step tips that will help to reduce the overwhelm for creating a space you absolutely love and is #eversohomely
You can also grab an in depth checklist HERE which will help you decide on what you need to keep and let go of, as well as ideas on how to store various types of toys.
- Plan a time to declutter
- Set up the following boxes- donate, rubbish, recycle, re-home, sell
- Set up some toy type boxes. Even cardboard boxes will do for this task, baskets, or even wash baskets (or anything that you can contain that toy type temporarily will do).
- Set a timer
- Remove everything from the area that you are working on, including removable drawers and shelves. Sort through and put back what you are keeping into toy types. Categorise in baskets & MAKE SURE YOU WORK IN SMALL SECTIONS to reduce the overwhelm. ie cars, lego, duplo, soft toys, barbies etc.
- Keep a note pad close by to write ideas as they come to mind. I.e swap items around, things that need replacing, items you would like to organise further, types of storage that you think you will find useful.
- Clean as you go
Once you have de-cluttered it's time to work out some storage solutions and toy rotation.
STORAGE: TOY ROTATION
We have various toy rotation spots in our home. There is one in Brooklyn's room (a 2 year old) with specific toys for her age group. We have the Flexi Storage Clever Cube (2 x 4). The top shelves are for a mini toy rotation system. Shelves underneath store baskets with age-specific puzzles, some other toys which get rotated to the top shelves, and also some bulkier items. Brooklyn likes to be close to me especially when the twins are at school so this extra area for her to play near me while I work, works really well.
The other is the playroom where all 3 girls can play together, and where the majority of the toys are located. We also store all things like lego and board games in the twins' wardrobe (5 years old), as they are the toys that Brooklyn will have a field day on. Removing these toys from Brooklyn's reach has already reduced the headache of having lego scattered from one side of the home to the other. When the twins would like to play lego, they bring it out onto the dining room table or play with it in their room; and it is packed away once they are finished. Currently, the play room has 2 toy rotation stations, a soft toy storage box, a puppet play basket, storage cases for dolls and accessories, a doll house with furniture, a play kitchen set, and a teepee and swing.
I created this area to encourage play, without overwhelm, and with limited choices. Everything has its place, and is quick to pack away.
You can introduce a toy rotation area by adding in some open toy and rotation free independent areas, and by applying some of the below ideas:
- Flexi Storage Clever Cubes from Bunnings
- Kallax range from IKEA
- A book shelf
- A small shelf ladder (Just make sure it is safe and sturdy for your little ones to access)
- Grab some baskets to categorise your selection of toys you wish to display on the shelving. I have used baskets from Bunnings, Kmart and Big W.
- A rug so it is an inviting and comfortable place to play
Locations where you can set up a toy rotation would be in a designated playroom, a bedroom or even the living or dining area. Just remember children still like to be close by especially if they are little (and clingy).
Now to pack away the remaining toys into some storage:
TOY LIBRARY STORAGE-
- Find a location in your home where you would like to store the extra toys. It could be up the top of a wardrobe, within a buffet storage unit, a linen cupboard, spare bedroom, or anywhere that works for you. Make sure all of this clearly labelled. You can grab some picture labels HERE, making it easier for the whole family to identify where things go. We have stored all excess within a buffet unit with doors.
- Use containers that open easily, or even open bins
- Avoid having multiple large boxes, or large toy boxes. Toys will get easily lost and damaged, and unorganised quickly as they are not categorised. Boxes are great to house soft toys only or some bulky items if you wish to keep out of sight.
- Matching storage may seem a little over the top but it is less visually noisy, and will look more organised.
- Have your storage labelled on two sides of the basket/container, so when you swap your toys out, just turn your tub around instead of swapping the whole container
HOW TO UTILISE TOY ROTATION:
Swap out the toys as you go/observe the kiddies getting bored; or approximately once a month or so. Swap them out with the toys you have in the toy library. Keep the things that they are staying engaged with, store or toss those that they're no longer interested in.
The less toys available to them, the less the overwhelm- and they will be engaged for longer periods.
And don't forget to rotate books also.
- Get the kids involved in clean up. Less toys to pack away makes it a lot easier for them to agree to do. We have a bit of fun with what I call Timer Therapy if I am struggling to convince them to help. Timer goes on for about 5 to 7 min and off we all go, its time to beat the clock!
- Keep a couple of baskets around the home to make pick-up easier if toys are scattered. This also makes it easier for the kiddies to help. If you make it easier for them, they are more likely to join in.
- Make the toys that are played with on a regular basis accessible
- Label, label, label- but no need to label toy rotation baskets
- Have a chat to family and friends with upcoming birthdays, Christmas and special occasions let them know that other forms of gifts a preferable for a little while until you get your toy situation back under control
By introducing toy rotation, the kiddies will get the feeling of receiving new toys over and over again without unnecessary new toys coming into the home to clutter up your spaces.
In the end you need to do what works for you and your family. You may find you are overwhelmed even with the thought of a toy room overhaul but thank your future self when its done. Your home will be less cluttered, there will be more creative and engaged play, cleanup is less of a headache, and by simply rotating you can declutter as you rotate the toys they have outgrown. Popping old toys into new and different baskets also gives them all a new lease of life!
Until next time,