A year and a half ago, my house was devoid of toys. I had maybe two or three for when friends came over and they were small (think matchbox cars.) Eighteen months later, my house is full of toys. With Christmas in the not so distant past, we have even more.
For awhile it was a problem. There were toys in the living room and Munchkin’s room and the kitchen, bathroom and our bedroom. Munchkin loves to take all her toys out and scatter them all over the house. She didn’t necessarily play with all of them, she just took them all out. I would clean up two or three times a day, often with Munchkin’s help. I got tired of it quickly and knew something had to be done.
I knew I could go through her toys and get rid of some of them. Except I didn’t really want to do that. I knew she would still play with most of them if she could just see them and not get distracted by other toys. So after seeing something on pinterest (where else?!) and talking to other moms, I decided to try toy rotation.
The first thing I did was get a few bins. I decided that for us, 3 bins of toys with a set of toys out would work for us (so 4 groups of toys.) My plan was to change out the toys every week. I know that a weekly rotation doesn’t work for everyone but an every other week or even monthly would work as well. I’ll be honest, there are times I go two weeks before rotating them. It works for us and that’s what is important.
Once I had my bins, I gathered all Munchkin’s toys (minus tubby toys) together. Then I made sure each toy had all it’s pieces. As I gathered the toys, I realized that she had a lot of baby toys so I took those out and them set aside for a future sibling. At this point I decided some toys would not go in the toy rotation. For example, Munchkin gets to play with her blocks, baby doll and kitchen all the time.
After that, I divided the toys into piles. I put a different Little People play set in each bin. Then I put a favorite or two in each group. After that, I divided up the rest of the toys so there would be close to an equal amount in each one.
The bins live in our bedroom because I don’t have any other place to store them at the moment. Since starting this, I bought bigger bins on sale. The original bins I had didn’t fit the big toys (like the Little People farmhouse) so it was sitting outside the bin. Munchkin would see it and want to play with it. Now all the toys fit in the bins and there is even room to add more. With the extra room I think I’ll be adding some books into the rotation too.
When it’s time to rotate the toys, I gather them all up and place them in a laundry basket. Then I grab the bottom bin, take all the toys out and put them in the toy box. Then I empty the laundry basket into the bin and place it on top of the pile. It takes about 5 minutes to do the whole switch out. I like to do it when Munchkin is napping or down for the night. If she’s awake than it takes a little longer cause she likes to get into the bins. She’ll be a great helper when she’s a little older!
I’ve been doing this for about two months and it’s been working great. Munchkin loves playing with the “new” toys when they get rotated. She doesn’t seem to be losing interest in her toys as quickly. We only have 1/4 of the toys to clean up and my house is no longer covered in toys. It’s been great for us!
How do you tame the toy mess at your house?
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