Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Monday, January 21, 2008

Teeny Tiny Toys

I just worked on our finished basement's playroom (toys, specifically) -- an area that was already organized, but needed some retooling. Why? Because my daughter received a bazillion new toys for her birthday, and storage needed to be addressed. Apparently the gift givers don't know me very well, because they chose to give her toy sets of the teeniest, tiny pieces -- The Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, various princesses, etc. In other words, the kind of toys I hate dealing with.

After having to use wire cutters to get Barbie out of the package and all the plastic animals with accessories free, I sat there wondering how long it would take to lose these items. Many of the Littlest Pet Shop things were only as big as my pinkie fingernail. They are an organizer's nightmare! I find that opaque, lidded bins with labels hold sets well. I have one bin all for Barbies and accessories, one for My Little Pony, etc. The key is to have lids that the child can remove themselves.

Another challenge was fitting in the new stuff -- large plastic 'homes' for tiny pets, ponies and the like, princess figures and castles, girlie-girl stuff. While my kids were distracted with the new things, I took the time to weed out toys to give away. I now have a few big trash bags (black so the children cannot view the contents!) of toys to donate or throw.

I moved more games and things to my kids' eye level so that I don't have to get items for them. Still out of reach and under my control are scissors, glue, painting, Play-Doh, and misc. art/craft kits. I generally try to keep gender-specific or special items in each child's rooms; if the toy is something both kids enjoy, we put it in a common area. It is helpful not to jam pack kids' bedrooms with toys -- keep it to a minimum -- and instead have books, special things, and clothes. This helps to keep the bedroom a quieter place, and helps toys go back to a designated place instead of all over the house.

At least I have a while until Christmas and the next onslaught of toys!