These are difficult but happy times to be a parent. For many, being home 24/7 has been bittersweet. Every parent out there might agree that the extra time shared with the kids has been a godsend.
This colorful state of perpetual disorder can be a complicated environment, rife with growls, whimpers, and bickering. Dealing with it often requires a mix of parenting philosophy, time, and, really, the stamina to care.
Organizing a Play Space
We’re not here to tell you how to parent your child. But we are going to share some techniques to help you restore order to a room.
The tips below apply to every room in your house, of course. You can use any or all of them on your main living area, your kid’s room, or a playroom.
1. Cull the chaos.
Have you tried sorting through outgrown toys and books with your children? That’s always a struggle. They’ll bawl and whimper over every scrap of paper, every horse, every tiny toy general.
What to do with everything else, though? Well, everything else gets tossed in their sleep. That sounds fiendish, yes. But research shows that clutter can be stressful. So, the occasional purge is likely worth the mental payoff.
Jess Grose, parenting columnist for the New York Times, uses a similar technique with her kids’ artwork.
2. Rotate the toys.
Many children have a few similar kinds of playsets. If that’s the case with yours, it might be good to just have one out at a time.
Put the rest in a bin in a closet and switch the sets out from time to time. Rotating toys like this keeps your child’s options fresh, without having too many choices to limit creative play.
This is also good for storing things you don’t want your kids to use without supervision. This might include paint or small pieces.
Simply designate an out-of-reach closet that can house toy bins like Delta Children’s Store’s Baby Shark 6-Bin Toy Storage. You can keep crafts, party supplies, and wrapping paper in the same closet, too.
3. Create activity zones.
We once received some excellent advice from a teacher. She said that a big, mixed toy box is overstimulating. Kids will spend more time digging through the jumble of toys and making a mess than playing.
Keeping themed toys together is a sensible, logical path kids can follow. For example, play food lives near the play kitchen. Building toys have a home in the blue bins. All crafts live together in an art corner.
That said, you want art supplies to be accessible. But then not so accessible that your kids can decide to paint whenever – or wherever – they want.
We keep playdough, play dough tools, paint and supplies in an ECR4Kids Drawer Mobile Organizer. The wheeled organizer makes it easier for kids to start a project without digging through too many drawers.
Some other arts and craft supplies we keep in a few Learning Resources Create-a-Space Storage Center carousels. These are wonderful storage solutions and quite attractive, too.
4. Use the right kind of storage.
Keeping your children’s play spaces organized is a matter of choosing the right kind of storage, too. You have countless options in this department, from rolling drawers to clear plastic storage boxes.
You might need something like the 3 Sprouts Storage Bin or Veronly’s collapsible flip-top toy chest for stuffed toys. You may also like our favorite, the Humble Crew Toy Organizer, which has 12 removable bins.
For us, too, the play-mat and storage-bag Lay-n-Go Building Block Mat solves a lot of problems, specifically for Legos.
With this clever bag, a single swoop can store hundreds of bricks. The bag also doubles as a play mat when open, of course.
Embracing the Chaos
We hope these ideas help to keep your space decluttered and organized. It’s nearly impossible to keep everything tidy at all times with children around.
You can spot-clean as you go. Or you could do a maintenance clean every so often. Both will help to prevent your home from becoming a rubbish island.
But ultimately, we say every parent has to embrace a little chaos from time to time.
That’s not so bad.