Jan 3, 2014

New Year, New Organization!

One of my many goals for this year is to be more organized in all aspects of my life.  I was just talking to a friend about this, but I really struggle in this department.  It's like my brain doesn't understand how to do it.  I need visuals, guides, and someone to get it started for me.  I love to be organized, but really struggle with finding a plan that works and then of course implementing it.

One of the many spaces I have been wanting to regain control and minimize the chaos is Bman's room.  We keep most of his toys upstairs in his room since he has a large space and our living space downstairs is tiny.  In theory this works great, his toys are out of sight, but they were everywhere upstairs.  Developmentally he is in the stage where dumping things is what he likes to do so to put an end to it and to engage him more, I needed to find a plan to get his room organized and put some toys away.  Less toys available means less toys to dump.

A page that I follow on Facebook posted a great article with visuals (awesome for me) and step by step directions (again, perfect for my not so organized brain) which gave me the inspiration I needed to get things going.  Being home all day gave me the time and Brody dumping toys on  the floor every two seconds was certainly motivating for me!

Here is what his room looked like on the morning I started.  This picture was taken at  8:45am and Brody has been playing for less than 10 minutes.  When he woke up everything was neatly put away.

The shelf is great but certainly was not being used with any plan in mind.  As he got more toys they just got dumped into the canvas totes.  No plan, no theme, just a lot of toys all dumped into a canvas tote.  Also, he had about 30 books available to him.  Some on the shelf, some dumped in the totes.  Too many and most are not even age appropriate.

The process:

I went to my favorite place, Target of course, and scooped up some of these storage bins.  Super cheap, each $5.  The medium ones come with two for $5 and the small ones have 5 in a bundle.  I bought different sizes but have found the medium ones to have the most use.  I'm sure as he gets older and has more sorting/counting toys, crafts, etc. the small ones will be put to great use.

The article tells you to collect all the toys in the house and put them into one area so you can go sort through them.  Since Bman already did this for me I could skip that step.  The article makes a great point about making sure you have all the pieces to all the toys.  If they are missing pieces, get rid of them.  They are not going to engage or challenge your child if they can't be used the way they were intended.

Brody was very content looking at the books and pulling them out of the bins every time I put one in.

I separated the books and sorted them. I choose to put the board books together, and then the paperback or hardback books in a different bin.  Eventually I will sort by age or even separate if they are seasonal, etc. but for now this will do.  Brody's interest is in these board books and they can handle his not so gentle touchesl.  I used two medium bins for his board books and the large one for the other books.  I think the canvas totes or more of an egg crate container may be best for the larger books since they will fit easier. 

I did the same process for other similar toys.  All soft toys went in a bin.  All musical instruments went in a bin.  All small sensory balls went in a bin.  As daunting as it wounds it really only took me about two hours.  It would have probably gone a little quicker but I had a toddler to contend with.  He did amazing and was so patient with me :)

Just like the article said, I left out toys that he is interested in and also toys that are in different developmental categories.  But what I didn't do is leave out too much, just a few things are out.

Duplo blocks for building
This is the basket of toys to take downstairs.  It used to be over flowing with toys and again, they would just end up on the floor.

All the toys that aren't being used are being stored in his closet, which is more like another space to his room.  He has the attic of a bungalow so this space is great because it's so large.  It was not being used appropriately before, it was essentially just another space that toys were getting dumped and where I would collect bins of old clothing, boxes of diapers and wipes, etc.  Now, everything has a home.
Each bin is labeled with the type of toy so it can be easily found.  Things that don't need a bin or wouldn't fit are neatly placed on the shelf as well.

So far so good.  The past two days Brody has seemed so much more engaged when he plays and he seems to have more focus.  He only has access to the toys that I have placed out for him and I am so happy I took the time to do this.  I will rotate some toys in 2-3 weeks to keep his interest.

Thank you Baby Cheapskate for sharing this article!  It was exactly what I needed to get this item checked off my list. http://www.babycheapskate.com/2012/12/31/toy-rotation-the-cheap-and-easy-way-get-organized/
 photo courtney-post-signature1_zpsa6911a6b.png

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