The holidays have come and gone and if your kids are anything like mine, Santa did some spoiling this year! While I’m very happy that my kids were so blessed with so many fun (and educational) toys, our playroom and their rooms are getting overwhelmed with clutter. They have so much stuff, I don’t know what to do with it all!
I’ve decided it’s time to start a good toy rotation schedule. Have you heard of toy rotation? It takes a little work in the beginning, but it’s worth it! It is one of the easiest ways to keep your toy clutter under control while at the same time keeping your kiddo from getting bored despite having a billion toys. You can start your toy rotation plan in three easy steps. You ready?
First, purge, purge, purge.
Set up three piles: keep, donate, toss. Throw away any toys that are broken or damaged. Donate all the toys they have outgrown or no longer play with. Keep toys that are valued, educational, well made or favorites. When you’ve culled your pile to what you want to include in your bins, go out and buy some sturdy Rubbermaid bins with lids (the clear kind make it easier to see which bin includes which toys).
Second, make a plan.
Decide on a number of bins, how often you rotate, what categories of toys go into each bin. For example, you can start with 4 bins and rotate them every two weeks. In each bin, you can put an equal amount of toys from each of the categories you decide you want to focus on. Categories can include:
- Active Play Toys–toys that encourage pushing, riding, rolling, climbing, etc.
- Art Toys–coloring, painting, drawing
- Imagination Toys–dress up, finger puppets, dolls, barbies
- Building Toys–legos, blocks
- Puzzles & Games
The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Aim to put 8-10 toys in each bin.
Third, implement the plan.
Start by setting out the first bin of toys in an attractive or engaging way so kids will see them and want to play with them. I love cubby style bookcases because you can put a few toys in each cubby so that they’re seen but not strewn all over the place. Your kids may protest about the lack of toys or even ask for specific toys, but be firm. It may take them a few days to get used to the change, but once they do it will be easy. After a week or two, when you’re ready to rotate to the next bin, your kids will “discover” a whole new set of toys and their interest will be spiked again.
Be sure to pay attention to the toys your child is playing with and if you notice they consistently refuse to play with a certain toy, you can remove it completely from your rotation plan. It’s a good way to determine exactly what each child really enjoys playing with so you can stop wasting money buying toys they don’t want!
Many parents who start a toy rotation system find that their kids are more engaged in their play and play independently for longer periods of time. They also find that kids get more excited about the “new” toys when a new bin is brought out. Plus, it helps keep your toy clutter under control and cleaning up the house becomes much less of a pain. I call that a win!
So if you’re looking for a way to organize your toy clutter, keep your kids engaged for longer periods of time with their toys and make your life easier in general, give toy rotation a shot. At the very least, all that purging and organizing to get your rotation set up will help rid you of some clutter you didn’t need in the first place!