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We love having a separate playroom/ play area for many reasons. It keeps kids out in a more open area where they are visible (instead of hidden in a bedroom). We like that our son isn’t distracted during nap-time or bedtime by having toys in his room. We like having the toys (mostly) stay in one area of the house.
It can be difficult to keep a playroom organized, especially when you have young kids who like to pull everything out. However, here are some ways we’ve been able to keep the clutter manageable.
5 Minute Rule
I got this idea from one of my favorite YouTube organizing channels, Do It On a Dime. She recommends using the five minute rule, which means you have to be able to clean a room up (with your kid’s help) in five minutes or less. If you can’t, you have too many options. I know I don’t like having to pick up toys all the time, so limiting the time to five minutes has made it really manageable for me. I also try to have my son clean up sets of toys if he wants to pull something else out.
Mama T has already shared a toy organizer product which works great for her. We decided to go with was the classic Cube Organizer with cloth bins. Just be sure to check how wide your cubes are before you invest in cloth bins! Cube organizers are cheaper if you get ones with 11” slots instead of 13”. We initially bought the wrong size of cloth bins for our organizer because we didn’t think to check. Toy organizers are awesome because they can help keep sets of toys together and they are easy to fill up. I’ve also liked our cube organizer because it gives us the flexibility to have some toys “on display” that aren’t in bins.
We also used some of the boxes that our toys came in. Our Melissa and Doug cars and trucks came in these beautiful wooden boxes. We just mounted them onto the wall using command strips and they look great.
Toy rotation means pulling toys out of the playroom for a couple of months before re-introducing them. When you bring in the old toys, you rotate out some other ones. This keeps your kids more interested in their toys and more likely to play with them when their options are limited. Your child may also not remember certain toys, so it’s like Christmas without having to pay. We keep our toys in cloth bins in one of our closets, but you can also store them in plastic bins in the attic or the garage. We’ve really liked this for cars, since our son has so many.
If you’re having a tough time decluttering because you’re concerned that your kids may really miss something, you can pull it out on a trial rotation. If your kids don’t ask for the toy within a month, it’s safe to say they won’t miss it, and you can give it away without worrying. Which brings us to the next point…
The following tips are from the video Decluttering with Kids. Toy donation is best done when: 1) your kids don’t see you giving their toys away, 2) you have a motivating reason why you are decluttering, 3) you follow the “in one, out two” rule.
I’ve found that it’s best to hide and later donate toys when my son can’t see. Obviously he feels emotionally attached to all of his toys, even if he hasn’t played with them in months. Finding a motivation to declutter can be difficult, which is why I like the 5 minute rule. That way, you can say to yourself, whatever I can’t clean up in five minutes, needs to be rotated or donated.
I loved the “in one, out two” rule, which basically means that for every new toy your child receives, they need to get rid of two old toys. That way you aren’t always increasing the amount of toys you have in your house. One mother commented that instead of the “in one, out two” method, she always declutters toys right before birthdays and Christmas, as she anticipates her kids getting new toys then. Another mother said that they do a yearly yard sale, and the kids can use the money they got from selling old toys to buy new toys. This has motivated her kids to be more willing to donate toys they don’t play with anymore.
I hope these tips helped motivate you to keep your playroom or play space organized! My last tip is to keep your kids involved in cleaning up, organizing, and rotating toys so that you don’t have to be the only one picking up things at the end of the day.