Kids and toys are a package deal. Pets and toys are too. And neither one of them cares as much about having an organized home as you do. Plus, with everyone spending more time together at home, it doesn’t take much for the clutter to pile up. So here are a few tips to help you stay ahead of the mess and keep your home looking more like a design blog than a toy catalog.
1. Use the basement and attic
If you have unfinished storage tucked away out of living areas, this is your first step. Set aside some space and sort toys into large bins. Label the bins and store them on shelves. When kids want to play with specific toys, they can ask. When they want another toy, they’ll pick up the toys they’re currently playing with before you make the switch. So much easier to stay on top of the mess when they’re picking up in between!
2. Everything has a home
A great way to teach your kids how to even understand organization is to tell them every toy has a home and show them where it is. If the toys begin to build up and there’s not enough space for toys to have a home, it’s time to do a cleanout.
3. Rotate, donate, trash
Which brings me to this next step. When it’s obvious that the toys are taking over, it’s time to clean out the collection. Get out two bags (trash or Trader Joes paper bags) and label them Donate and Trash. Set aside toys that you may want to rotate into basement storage and make that switch. This is when you store anything you might want to keep for new babies or for people you know you’ll give them to when their kids are of age. Then donate any toys you know your kids are over and haven’t played with in months. Trash any toys with missing pieces or that are broken. It’s amazing how little you actually have to get rid of once you’ve organized and found a home for everything.
4. Use decorative boxes in living areas for storage
There are some favorite toys that kids like quick and frequent access to. You also do not want to have to run to the basement to grab them every time they want to play with them. Instead of keeping toys in their original packaging, ditch the loud boxes, and use decorative storage boxes that match your décor. You can get creative with your storage containers or use baskets to keep the toys out of sight.
5. Furniture can serve more than one purpose
Ottomans aren’t just there to put your feet on. If you need to buy one, look for one with storage so it can double as a toy container. The same goes for trunks, coffee tables, and armoires.
6. Same rule apply outside
These same rules apply for outdoor toys. Bins, containers, and shelving can keep the water toys, chalk, sports equipment, and helmets sorted for easy access while keeping your yard looking fresh and organized.
Minimizing the visual clutter and keeping only what fits in your home are two ways to make your home feel organized and comfortable year-round. If the cleanout happens 3 to 4 times a year, the toys and clutter will stay to a minimum and will be easy to stay in control of. Use these tips when preparing for an open house as well as it’s part of effectively staging a home for potential buyers. It’s fine that buyers know that kids live there, it’s likely why they are interested in the first place. But it’s hard to make a person want to buy a house that feels chaotic and messy when they want in for a showing.