The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Jill Krause.
Are you still excited by the fresh New Year? Still committed to making 2012 the year of the organized you?
Well, if you are, or if you’re ready to jump back in after getting derailed, make sure your kid’s chaos and clutter doesn’t distract you from your goal. The tiniest people in our lives are the ones that bring in the most stuff, it seems. Between the toys and books and the clothes they’re always outgrowing, it’s a never ending sorting and organizing job.
First thing is first, if you haven’t gone through last year’s toys and clothes yet, do it NOW. It’s time to put on your mean-mommy game face and make some tough choices.
If they haven’t played with a toy in 6 months, buh-bye! Off to the donation pile it goes (unless it’s broken and/or covered in a thick layer of snot that you can’t wash off, then trash that because NOBODY wants that kind of charity). Take no prisoners, and by that I mean, don’t let toys be held hostage in storage bins and toy boxes just in case your kids decide they want to play with them for 5 minutes one rainy day 8 months from now.
There IS such a thing as too many toys. Kids can easily get overwhelmed and forget what they have. Set boundaries, a designated, finite space for toys, and don’t let them grow beyond that. That means getting rid of one every time you get a new one.
Remember, kids don’t NEED a ton of toys. Hang on to the high quality, open-ended toys that encourage creativity, and keep the plastic, narrowly focused toys to a minimum which is bonus for saving money on batteries.
When it comes to actually storing toys and books, break them up in small groups and teach your children to put them back in the grouping they belong. I adore storage options like the Expedit shelf from Ikea because it allows us to break up the types of toys we have and makes them more visible than a black hole of a toy box.
If the clothes don’t fit, you must get rid of them. If you’re saving them to hand down, put them in a designated spot, sorted by size. Plastic bins with labels on the outside giving a detailed description of what size and season each holds are a great option. But, before you put them away for future use, be brutal about what you’ll actually be excited to pull out and use again. Are you really going to want to put poop-stained onesies on a future new baby?
Make it a habit to clean out closets and drawers at the end of every season. Don’t just shove all the clothes that don’t fit into a “for later” bag. Make decisions at that moment. Will this piece be saved, donated, consigned, or tossed into something else?
Once you have all your donations sorted, immediately drop them off. If you’re selling, get them cleaned up and organized so they’re ready to go.
By going through your kids toys, books and clothes frequently, you help tame a beast that can easily (and very quickly) grow and take over your whole home. Plus, you’re also setting an example for your children and making it easier for them to see and appreciate the things they have.