Saturday, April 13, 2013

Household Tornado - Part 1: Prevention

Being that I live in California, I'm not actually talking about the weather outside when I use the word "tornado". But it is quite amazing how a 2-year-old can replicate an Act of God in 5 seconds flat with an "economy of toys" (as I've heard our limited assortment called). It's amazing how he can take a few toys and have them evenly dispersed throughout the house within a matter of seconds. I liken it to those annoying backyard squirrels that bury their nuts all year long in my backyard. My grass is a nut graveyard. How on earth they keep track of them, I'd like to know?! In 10 years will their great-great-great-great-grand squirrels dig them up?! "Look what grandpa left us from 1,000 squirrel-years ago!!!". Toby must be taking notes because he buries his toys in the strangest places!

Can I give a remedy for something I myself cannot control? No. Kids will have toys and will leave them all over the house until Kingdom Come. However, what I CAN control is the number of them.

Controlling the quantity of toys is not just a matter of cleanliness, it is also good for their development (thank goodness a pet peeve of mine is backed up by child development!).  Huge quantities of toys can be over stimulating and often 90% of them don't even get used.

If you are wanting to simplify and de-clutter your child's toy plethora, here is a step-by-step process to de-clutter and make life more manageable:

Operation: Simplify

1. Remove all toys broken, pieces missing, etc.  Place them in a "donation" or "garage sale" pile (or if you are high tech, eBay!). 

2. Separate the wood/real/educational/high quality toys from the plastic toys.  You should now have 3 piles:

a) to be donated
b) high quality toys 
c) all other toys

3. From pile c) eliminate the "filler" toys that they kids do not play with and are not educational, stimulating or sensorial. Move said toys to pile a).
The first time I did this, about 80% were in this category. Besides being clutter and unused most of the time, most plastic toys are full of BPA and other toxins that are absorbed through the skin. If you have a teething baby who puts toys in his/her mouth, they are getting a chemical cocktail every time.

4. Depending on how many toys are left, you may want to divide them into sets and only keep one set out at a time.
We have only one set but we have also purged many times.  Until you get to this point, change up the sets periodically - usually every other month or so.  This not only allows your child to appreciate their toys more (they get so excited - it's like Christmas every time!), but it also allows them to play with everything. Sometimes I think they actually explore less if they are overwhelmed.

Doesn't it feel good to purge?!


  1. Where do you find the cubed bookcase? I saw some on Ikea online but they're not good quality and I'd like to use sustainable wood if possible. You are Mrs. Organized!!!

  2. I purchased the cubed bookcase from Target. Was reasonably priced and the bins are sold separately, so you can get as many as you like and fill the empty cubes with other things like books, etc.

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