Tips for undecorating the house and taming the toy haul

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organzingBy Betsy Stein

The holidays are over and now the house is a mess, overflowing with toys and decorations that have yet to be put away. To help with your post-Christmas clutter, here are tips from several Annapolis/Baltimore area professional organizers.

Organizing the toys

  1. Schedule time with your children to sort through their toys. Set aside items to donate and explain to your kids where the items will go. If they are reluctant to part with anything, tell them that their new toys may have to be put away until space is made, says Jacquie Ross, professional organizer and president of CastAway the Clutter! Organizing & Coaching Services based in Ellicott City. "I think organizing kids is so important, and after Christmas is a golden opportunity to work with them," agrees Terry L. Cooch, a mother of six and owner of TLC Home Organizing and Staging Services based in Annapolis. "I see so many parents who want to sneak kids' things away from them, rather than work with them to help them learn to make those decisions." Be sure to support your children's choices, even if an old favorite is chosen over something new, Cooch says.
  2. Use containers to help organize toys. This teaches organization skills, Ross says. After doing this for a while, her own children began asking her for containers to store their new toys in, she explains.
  3. Label all containers. This saves time figuring out what's inside and, if the container has been emptied, you'll know what toy is supposed to be returned to the container, Ross says. It's also helpful to label the edge of the shelves so kids know where to return the containers when they've finished playing.
  4. Schedule time each day to put everything away. If you find you don't have a place to put everything, it's time to purge or reorganize the toy area to find space, Ross says.
  5. Go through your children's toys at least once a quarter. If the toy area is getting too full, then purge some more or add more storage, Ross says.

Read on to find out how to orgainze the holiday decorations.

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