Before Peanut, we lived in a one bedroom apartment. We planned to put his nursery in the dining room area. Rich and I shared a single closet, which wasn’t too small for two people. Sure we knew we’d likely outgrow the one bedroom apartment when Peanut came along—but we really had no grasp on just how much stuff a kid can accumulate.
Fast forward over a year later and we are simply amazed by the plethora of toys this kid has. Rich and I are on a tight budget and sometimes I feel a little bad that we don’t buy peanut more toys. Then I take a good look around and realize he has more than plenty thanks to his loving grandmothers, aunts and uncles. On a daily basis, I find toys everywhere throughout the house. I have no idea how he came to own so many, or how they get distributed so efficiently, but it’s a nightly chore to pick up after peanut.
So if you are also finding yourself surrounded by a cluttered living room—try these few tips for keeping it all together.
- Keep it real—My first tip is to limit the number of toys you buy in the first place. Peanut doesn’t really even need all of the toys he has. In fact, he prefers to play with my clothespins. Sounds archaic and cheap, but it’s true—he doesn’t need it all.
- Spread the love-- If there are toys that are no longer being played with, sell to a consignment shop, pass them on to a younger cousin or donate them to a worthwhile charity.
- Minimize the damage—if you have toys that are broken or missing pieces, get rid of them.
- Rotate stock. Peanut has a short memory span and isn’t totally fascinated by any one toy. Rather than giving peanut free access to all of his toys, we place some in hidden storage. This way, he plays with the toys that are out—which are more than sufficient, and is surprised when I bring out “new toys” he’s forgotten he owns.
- Re-use containers—Peanut’s still young, which means in addition to lots of toys, we have lots of wipe tubs floating around. We use the wipe tubs to store those chain link toys. You could also use them for crayons, cars, etc. The tubs become a new toy too, since peanut loves dropping the toys into the tubs.
- Open up—we love using open storage bins. They make for easy access for peanut to play, but also quick for us to stash the mess. This is also how we supper organize all of his changing table accessories and bed linens.
- Book it—Book cases aren’t just for books. We place toys and open baskets/storage bins on old book cases we keep in the room.
- Hidden in open places.—We uses decorative baskets and ottomans with lids to store peanut’s family room toy collection. This helps us do a quick pick up before guests arrive.
- Hanging around. –Make creative use of wall space. Hang clothes on wall hooks. Mount cans or tubs to the wall for more storage. I sewed a collection of pockets together to make an easy to use storage solution on peanut’s changing table.
- Be colorful—Use different colored containers to identify different types of toys, or different toy owners.
I'm regularly overwhelmed by the clutter, but I think the best tip is to not take it so seriously--easy advice to give but hard to remember to follow. The house was tons more organized before peanut--but I'd rather spend my energy playing with him--than following after him to pick up the clutter.
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