Play Neatly, Kids

Does this setting seem familiar to you? It’s Christmas morning and your child just received a new toy — it comes with 40 little tiny pieces — and you know that by January those pieces will be buried at the bottom of a bin and the child will already have lost interest. Now that the holidays are over, are you are faced with serious toy clutter? Nadine Sachs, vice president of the Maryland Association for Professional Organizers, advises that you begin organizing the play area with your child. “Purge items no longer wanted or needed and assign a home to every new item,” she said. “Make it part of your child’s nightly routine to do a clean up before bedtime.”  

Play Table Sachs says to stay away from storing your toys in one toy box. Instead, create an organized play area with zones of various activities in which your child is interested. Here are some other great organizing tips Sachs recommends:
  • Containerize toys in small bins and keep their parts together. For the living area, you may want to purchase a nice- looking organization chest. For the play area, consider getting a 3-Tier Storage Shelf ($160, Target.com). For younger children, and tape a picture of the toy on the front end so that they can easily identify what is in the bin. Older children can make their own labels. Try and include the child in the organizing and storage process.
  • If your child likes to read, keep a bookshelf near his/her bed — consider one that makes reading accessible.
  • Install a shelf high up, perhaps one that goes all the way around the room for sentimental items, collections and other items not played with as much.
  • Use the backs of doors for over the door hooks and pocket storage – see-through plastic shoe bags that hang on the back of closet doors can be used not only for shoes, but for gloves, hats, small toys, markers and crayons.
  • Use under the bed storage for off- season clothing, extra bedding, etc. Buy one that has wheels so it can be easily rolled in and out.
  • If your child doesn’t have much hanging clothing, install extra shelves in closets for toys and games.
  • Consider purchasing or building a loft or bunk bed and then use the space underneath for a desk, storage or play area.
  • Use a hammock in the corner of a room for stuffed animals.
  • Put toys in color-coordinated toy bins.
  • Create an arts and crafts area and consider purchasing or making a table (Kids Coloring Table, pictured above, $256, Containerstore.com)

For more great organizing tips, go to organized2suceed.com. If you prefer in-home organization consulting, you may contact Nadine at nadine@nadinesachs.com.

By Lindsey Athanitis