Keep in Mind that “Less Is More”
When setting up a playroom or kid-centric area, it’s important to consider the concept that “less is more.” I always think of the 80-20 Rule. According to Anne Steppe, professional organizer and member of the Simplicity team, 80 percent of the time, your children are playing with only 20 percent of their toys. This should give you insight into just how many things kids have that they don’t even play with. Keep this in mind when choosing the amount of toys to keep in a playroom at any given time.
Label Bins with Pictures as well as Words
Labeling toy bins is an obvious organizational plus, but including a picture of each bin’s contents (on both ends) offers an added bonus. This allows even young children to know where items belong and makes it easier for them to put things away during cleanup. It helps them develop a sense of maintaining order — a great habit they will use for years to come in other areas of their lives.
Label the Back of Puzzle Pieces
My kids love puzzles, but whenever they played with different puzzles at the same time, the pieces always got mixed up. This made it hard for them to finish the puzzles, which was always frustrating. On top of that, when it came time to clean up, it was usually quite difficult to figure out which pieces went with each puzzle. The solution for this is simple. For each puzzle, place an identifying mark — a colored dot, a number, a simple shape — on the back of each piece. This makes it easy to know which pieces belong with each particular puzzle.
Store Bins Containing Small Toys or Figurines Out of Reach
Instead of allowing your child easy access to bins containing little toys or pieces, which inevitably end up being dumped out and often mixed up with other toys, keep these bins out of reach. You should be the one to manage them. I always tell my kids that I will take down a new bin once the current toys they are playing with have been cleaned up. This helps prevent kids from dumping a ton of toys on the floor, which creates a messy, confusing atmosphere that makes it difficult to play effectively.
Rotate/Purge Toys Every Few Months
Kids’ interests and abilities change frequently and they may quickly outgrow their toys. What was appropriate a few months ago soon becomes too easy or boring for them. Typically, this results in a bunch of toys gathering dust and taking up valuable space in your playroom. For this reason, every few months, flip the toys, keeping those that are most appropriate in rotation. Kids will then enjoy their toys more, playing with them more eagerly and effectively. And when it comes time to purge toys from the playroom, let your kids help. Along with having them play a role in the cleanup, this allows them to realize how many things they haven’t been playing with that could be shared with other children.