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Kids Organization Solutions
Toying Around
Making room for toys isn’t just child’s play. It’s a game that can be won.

Too many toys in the house. It's a major challenge for parents of young children at this time of year. Whether it’s the pre- or post-holiday season, if you’re a parent, your home is probably in desperate need of a serious toy purge. There are too many old toys that the kids have outgrown, and too many new toys joining the fray. Unless you’re planning to build an extension, you need some realistic organization solutions, and Rubbermaid can help you get a grip on your world of toys.

Where the toys are
Hopefully your entire house isn’t completely overrun with games, cars, dolls and other playtime stuff. If you’re tripping over them in every room and on staircases, it’s time to consolidate: decide on a specific location for storage—the den, a child’s room, closet, or the corner of a finished basement. No one can expect toys to remain there and not spread through the house, but they need a place to live. Otherwise you simply cannot expect to keep your house tidy and safe on an ongoing basis.
Your first step is to comb the house with Rubbermaid Clever Store 30-qt containers to gather unfixable toys (to be thrown out) and undamaged toys that have been outgrown (for donation). Your child can help here but they may be too attached to certain toys to bid them farewell—their participation might be more constructive later on in the process.
The right perspective
Purging is the easy part. Now you’re ready to proceed with a plan to maintain order. If you haven’t already, determine where the primary toy space will be. Wherever it is, it must be functional from the point of view of your young ones. Get down to their eye level to observe what can be seen and reached. Whether your chosen storage space is in a closet or another designated area, the Rubbermaid Homefree Closet Kits are a great option for adjustable, kid-friendly storage options. Instead of installing clothing rods, simply fit the system with shelving such as cubbies, or wooden or wire shelving. A good way to begin the organization process is to assess the importance of the toys and store them based on accessibility. Start at the floor, storing the most frequently used and larger-sized toys in large Rubbermaid Clever Store containers and work your way up through the lower drawers of Rubbermaid wooden cubbies attached to the closet system. Higher levels and shelves can be reserved for precious toys, lesser-used ones, games with tiny pieces and other items that should stay out of reach of children age 3 and under. The best part about the Configurations Closet System: it’s fully customizable, so you can change up the closet as your child grows, or even turn it back into a guest or linen closet once your child outgrows his playthings.

Approach the sorting and organization process as a learning activity. The more they're involved in the effort, the more inclined they’ll be to maintain their toys. This is where labeling helps: label outside drawers, shelf edges, containers, bookcases, cubbies and the toys themselves. Playing “match the label” is a great idea, turning the daily toy cleanup into a game.

Swap out
The swap out method (or the one-toy-in, one-out technique) is an effective one, and can keep a lid on the amount of toys in your home, but can be applied to daily play, too. Suggest to your child that they play with only one major toy at a time—putting the giant floor puzzle away before taking out the train set, for instance.
For younger ones, a toy library is one solution to an overflowing inventory. Designate a large Rubbermaid container as the “toy library” and store it out of sight for a few weeks or months. On a rainy day, bring out the toy library and swap some (or all) of the stored toys for ones that have recently lost favor. The toys that don’t make it out of the library after two rainy day appearances can be relegated to donation. It’s a strategy that should dwindle the overall toy count—and one that some adults might want to adopt for their own cluttering bad habits!