Take the time to rediscover your floors, put away those toys

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Toys seem to be everywhere. They have taken over the house and the car. Take the time to follow these simple steps to rediscover your floors again and gain control of the toys.

Find a place where you can stash unused toys where the kids won't find them. Keep a box at the top of a closet or in the attic. If you see that a toy hasn't been used for a few weeks, put it in this box. Once a month, go through the box and throw away the broken toys and donate the unused ones. If you feel they are toys that might someday be keepsakes, store them safely away.

Once or twice a year before their birthday or Christmas, ask your children to pick a few toys that they could donate to a child who doesn't have any. The children feel like they are doing something special without thinking too much about what they are giving up. This also allows room for new toys. Try to keep a rule of new toy in, old toy out.

Get your children involved in the clean up activity. Have bins for storage and label them with a picture or name on the side of what type of toy goes in each bin. Have a bin for building blocks, one for toy cars, one for stuffed animals, one for dolls, you get the idea. Before the children leave the house to play or get ready for bed, have them match the toy to the bin to clean up. Make a game out of it and see who can put the most away in 60 seconds buy setting a timer. Put the toys “to bed” before the kids are put to bed.

You could have a basket in your living room or family room to keep a few special toys that are often used. They need to be put in the basket when not in use or they get moved to an out of the way area for storage.

In the bathtub, keep a bucket with holes in the bottom to store the toys after bath time. Use a mesh bag to contain small toys and hang them from the faucet to dry and keep out of the way. Bath time is more fun with toys to play with, but it is no fun for an adult to step on them or to try to clean the tub with all the toys in the way.

Toys are nice in the car to keep little ones entertained, but they can get out of control too. Keep a mesh bag or soft sided box or bin to keep the toys contained. The mesh bag can be hung from the front seat head rest so the child can easily get to the bag. Once you arrive home, the toys get put away before everyone gets out of the car.

Keeping one space in your house dedicated to play and storing toys will help in keeping the rest of your house organized and not cluttered with toys. Have a dedicated area for crafts or drawing. A table and chairs with bins to keep their supplies in is important. This will allow the children to feel like it is their space and hopefully keep their stuff out of your space.

April Reibie is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media who lives in Valencia and has a small business called Clutter Free that specializes in decluttering, organizing homes and office and home staging. To contact her, email clutterfree@zoominternet.net.

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