Column: Dedicating space to stash kids' toys keeps home clean

| Wednesday, March 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 your home.

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 think they are toys that might someday be keepsakes, store them 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 by 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. The toys need to be put in the basket when not in use or they get moved to an out-of-the-way area for storage.

It's nice to have some toys in the car to keep little ones entertained, but they can get out of control there, too. Keep a mesh bag or soft-sided box or bin to keep the toys contained.

The mesh bag can hang from the front-seat headrest so the child can easily get to it. 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.

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

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