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Toy story
Game plan: Toy storage and organization means thinking inside the box with Rubbermaid

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Toy story
It's all fun and games until... you can no longer find the games

Just when you think you’ve got a handle on household clutter, along come the holidays. Suddenly your home has a bumper crop of toys. While we can’t help you with the whirring, beeping or earsplitting sirens, we’ve got some ideas for taming the fleet of playthings running havoc in every room of your house. Here’s how to contain clutter – and make it easier to keep it contained.

  • Conduct regular clear-outs. Many families implement a one-toy-in, one-toy-out policy. Not only does this reduce your “collection,” it encourages charitable behavior in kids; just be sure to clean used toys and remove old batteries before donating. Broken ones can pose injury hazards and should be disposed of instead.

  • Keep oversize building blocks and Lego® in any of Rubbermaid’s smaller clear storage containers in 12, 18 or 19 qt sizes. Stash them on a low shelf or in the closet floor when not in use (not high up, as they can be heavy, and cause injury if they fall on a child).

  • Keep smaller Lego® pieces and tiny action figures and dolls in  clear boxes. Stash these on shelves in the playroom of closet.

  • Toys that look similar from the outside benefit from having a photo or snippet of packaging taped to the exterior of the storage container.

  • Make use of vertical space by hanging a Homefree Hanging Shoe Organizer and keeping arts and craft supplies, small stuffed animals, digital games, dolls, action figures and the like in it.

  • Make tidy-up part of playtime. Just five minutes of tidying after a play session will go a long way towards restoring order.

The holidays mean rambunctious kids, plenty of new toys, adult distraction and a variety of age groups playing together. Fun can be had by all, but here’s how to play it safe, too.

  • Enforce the highest level of safety. Even if you’ve got five preschoolers and only one toddler, your safety rules should be geared to that toddler: in other words, no toys small enough to pass through a toilet paper roll tube. (And watch for detachable parts.)

  • Sweep out from under chairs and look under sofa cushions for miniature toys, not to mention coins, hard candy, tacks, or keys.

  • Encourage kids to play in a room where you can see them. If not, an adult should either check in frequently, or better yet stay in the room with them, depending on the kids’ ages. Make sure to assign “shifts,” so no one assumes someone else will do it. Or hire a babysitter so you can all kick back and relax!