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Department of toy management

December 28th, 2003 · 2 Comments

I spent a good part of yesterday reorganizing the girls’ toys. Since part of my job here is Management of Stuff and Coordinator of Recreational Activities, I thought it would be wise, after the new intake on the holiday, to examine all our resources and determine what would be best to do, how to allocate them most efficiently.

We have a fairly open floor plan on our first floor, with our living room functioning also as our family room. And for a while I was a bit cautious about keeping toys in the girls bedrooms, thinking they would be tempted to play instead of sleep. I needed them to learn to nap!

But now we were getting to the point where I was feeling like our living room and our life was getting overrun by toys. Although I was asking the girls to keep it tidy, still things were spilling out of the toy box and shelves, and it was a constant battle. One thing I’m realizing in the area of organization and management, is that if my plan isn’t working, rather than getting upset with myself or my family, maybe we need a new plan. Sure we do have three little girls and this is the season to have baby dolls, bears, puzzle pieces and various stuff underfoot. I do think though that there is a point to trying to keep it a bit under control. Now that we have three growing kids and finite living space, organization is necessary for everyone’s health and happiness.

So in light of the new Christmas acquisitions, I decided to change the way we were storing the toys. We have quite a few categories of recreational resources, each with its own requirements for storage (and most received as gifts or second-hand during the past six years….).
In our living room area I see:
Legos and other building accessories (blocks, Tinker Toys)
Fisher Price little people school bus and also a barn with animals and people
Balls, trains and cars – rolling objects
Various knick-knacks, such as snips of paper and homemade bowls the girls adore
Bags, purses and blankets
Playing cards and memory game cards
Musical instruments
Library books
Stuffed animals
Dolls and doll clothing
Toddling-type toys for babies

Until recently we had been trying the toy box approach, storing the dolls, stuffed animals, barn, school bus, knick-knacks, cars and many other items all in one big box. However, it seemed that things would fall to the bottom, never to be seen again. Or something would get lost, a lament would rise up, and we’d have to excavate the entire contents. It wasn’t working.

So yesterday the toy box moved upstairs to the girls room, now to be the home for all the stuffed animals. They have quite a collection. I did myself – I remember counting 42 when I was a girl. Between the three of them, they may out rival me someday….Dolls and blankets and doll clothes also joined the toy box.

Downstairs, I took a plastic stacker inside the entry closet that wasn’t being used very efficiently, and decided to use it for some of the smaller toys. Each girl now has a shelf, and the puzzles are on the top shelf, so they can help themselves. All of a sudden things are beginning to look a lot tidier in our living room. Now all that is on the shelves of the small bookcase are big things, like Legos, the tea set and Michaela’s new velcro vegetables. I’m hoping to find some nice containers on sale in the New Year to help this stay even more organized.

Two principles for toy management are rotation and relocation. We have a box of books, and I let the girls every so often trade some of their books for some of the ones in storage. That way they get to enjoy new books. It also helps them keep their own collection on the shelves a manageable size. I do the same with toys, from time to time taking out some and putting away others. Relocating I find is a helpful principle too, whether it’s just putting the toys in new places or realizing that it’s time for some toys to find a new home, either in the garage for a while, with another family or at Goodwill. We are so blessed with such a bounty for our children and it’s wonderful to be able to pass on these toys and treats through our family and onto others.

Yesterday too, since Elisabeth is growing into a toddler and no longer lounging around chewing on rattles, I thought it was time to pack up the baby stuff, the musical caterpillar and bear, the black, white and red book I love, the teethers and rattles. She really wants to play with whatever her sisters have. But today, as she’s so fussy, and I feel the molars pushing through her mouth, I’m wondering if I should go find one of those teething toys again….maybe that was a bit premature for her…

got to go…this morning we’re working a bit in the Etiquette Training Department, practicing a gratitude expression course … but wondering if anyone else out there would like to share ideas or helpful feedback to our department of toy management 🙂

Tags: family

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tamara // Dec 29, 2003 at 10:42 pm

    We just did this over the weekend! Nothing like the holidays plus two upcoming birthdays (my oldest and youngest) to whip me into shape.

    Since we can’t use the cold Sunroom anymore for toy storage (just keep it out of mommy’s face) we’ve piled most things into the living room because without a bunkbed the boys room is just too small.

    We left the box of wooden train tracks and trains by the bookcase. Set up another box with Rescue Heros and vehicles by the fireplace. In the doorway set up the mini-kitchen and the toddler toys. I’m blessed to have a built-in closet between the living room and kitchen. All crafts/games/papers/clay go there.

    Sent 5 boxes of stuff to the basement. Moved the Lincoln logs to the bedroom. Any other toys go on wire shelves in the boys closet.

    Except now I’m a little afraid to go down to the basement. I have so much to sort through down there before garage sale season.

    No more rattles here either.

  • 2 DeanG // Dec 29, 2003 at 10:51 pm

    …and we found your keys at the bottom of the toy box!

    > without a bunkbed …
    Apologies, but the daybed/trundle combo draws no complaints from boys or worries from me.