Organizing toys can be one of the most frustrating experiences for parents and children. Here are some suggestions that I have found helpful when working with my clients. Think “contain, corral and control.”
- Firstly, I think toy boxes are good for only one type of item rather than a depository for random toys, especially those with many parts. For example, use your toy box for items such as stuffed animals or as a dress-up/costume box. Just make sure that the lid of the box has a safety hinge that cannot close on little fingers or bang heads.
- Organize bottom to top. Because of a child’s small stature ensure you view the room from his or her point of view. Start organizing from the bottom of the room, and work to the top. Most used toys and belongings should live on lower shelves, in lower drawers, or on the floor. Higher levels should be designated for less-frequently-used possessions.
- Contain items before you store. Use clear plastic shoebox containers for smaller toys like GI Joe characters or Barbie type clothing, and larger lidded bins for blocks, trucks and cars. Not only do containers help parents control the number of toys out at any one time; (“sure, you can play with the GI Joes, just as soon as the Lego Blocks go back into their home!”), but they also help to limit the amount of items your child can acquire.
- Place books in a bin rather than bookcase. Most young children have difficulty reading the spines on books so store picture books as a flip-file, standing upright in a plastic bin or dishpan.
- Labels save the day!