Most every house has them and in this day and age most have too many. So what is a mom (especially a mom of many) to do with all the toys? Here are just some of the ways we "tame" the toy monster.
At my house we use lots and lots of tubs. We have tubs in all shapes, sizes and styles. I have taught my children that each "set" of play things has their own tub. And at clean up time even my three year old know what goes in each tub. It might sound a bit over the top, but with this system my children can find the toys that they are looking for and it minimizes the little toys that are lost in the bottom of the toy box. So we have a "Polly Pocket" box, a "Guy" box, a Rescue Hero box, and so forth. We also have a tub for play food and dishes and one for baby clothes.
|Our "Kitchen" box and "Baby Toy" box|
We also have a lot of toys out of reach. When I only had preschooler and under almost all toys were out of reach and they were allowed one "set" out at a time. For example if Miss M wanted to play with the Dora set everything else was picked up and then I would hand her the Dora set off the shelf. When she wanted to play something else she had to have Dora picked up. Now with five children in the same size house I have run out of closet space to keep it all out of reach. I now have to use the closet for the older children's games and toys that are dangerous for the little guys.
|One of the closets keeping Toys/Games/Art supplies out of reach|
We have so many many books that we have a book shelf in all three bedrooms in the house. And any extra space in the book shelves has a bosket or two on it for toys, socks, or whatever else is needed.
Recently I purchased on of these cool Cubical things at Target when they were on sale and I am currently watching for another sale. I want another one for the other side of the window in our sun room. We have cubbies for different toys and it makes clean up easy. I wish there was a better way to limit how many sets could be taken out at a time because my little ones want to dump all of the cubes out every day. But we are working on fixing that behavior. At least, now that we are out of closet space this shelf provides a way to store toys that isn't TOO hard on the eyes.
|Thought about cleaning it all up before I photographed it but then felt the need to show you how it normally looks.|
I have also been known to save the bags, backpacks, and such that my children get with gift sets or toys or from yard sales and store toys in them. We have, what would look like to you a normal book bag, but to us is the tea set bag. Everyone, well all of the kids and mom, know that all the tea sets get put into that certain book bag. The bag came with some toy or gift but we reused it as effective toy storage.
We also try to promote creative gift giving for our children. We put such things as thermoses, lunch boxes, bulletin boards, sleeping bags, and art supplies on their birthday and Christmas lists. They usually always get something that they "want" but we also try to get them practical things that don't take up so much space but that are fun. Hair things, fun socks, a cool cup, an electric pencil sharpener, pretty pencils, or a neat sheet set for their bed are just a few of the things that my children have loved getting but it didn't add to the toy monster in the house.
|The hooded towels my sister made for two of the children for Christmas gifts.|
They LOVE them!!!
How do you tame the toy monster at your house? Any great storage ideas? What creative gifts have your children received instead of toys?
Written by Happily Domestic Contributor - Amanda Sikes