Toy Organization

From September 2008

I think my schooling is coming along as it pertains to toy storage. At first one big bin of soft toys and some baby gear that the baby may or may not agree to rest in is about all you have to struggle with. Then somewhere along the way, Christmas, birthdays and other events for showering your child with gifts emerge. Suddenly the coffers are full and you're struggling to not have your living room look like you're being paid to run a day care.

We've tried many strategies-- large containers, small containers, shelves, toy boxes, bags, etc. My current strategy rests on a couple assumptions--kids only play with 10% of what they own (assuming you have more than a whittled doll) and they get "bored" quickly with that 10%. We're lucky enough to have a basement, so we're fans of the "rotate method." I've been employing the basic method of trying to rotate toys periodically (ideally every 2 weeks, although i shoot for monthly) for awhile but i've now honed my technique.

I store toys to rotate in the basement in approximately one-square foot cubes. This allows for one "big" toy, as well as several small toys to fill the cube up. We've switched to primarily storing toys on open shelves; finding that toy boxes never have more than the initial surface scratched. The most important factor is culling the toys we do have to get rid of those that no one gets excited for-- even when they're just emerging from the basement. I'm particularly doing this now in prep for Christmas, but really i hope to keep it up at least quarterly just to keep toys manageable.

I've been actively selling on Craislist which helps provide some incentive for taking the time to list things. I've been trying to engage Henry on it as well-- asking him if he'd rather have X toy or whatever new item he's putting on his "list" for Christmas.

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