Get Rid of Trash (Alone!)
Broken toys, puzzles with missing pieces, basically anything that came in a birthday party goodie bag...let's face it — it's junk and belongs in the bin on trash day. You can get rid of this stuff and your kid will NEVER MISS IT. Here's the key: Throw it away without him around. If he sees it headed for the trash, you know he'll think that miniature plastic bottle of bubbles is nothing short of pure gold.
Involve Your Child in Cleanup
Once you've separated trash from true treasure, involve your child in categorizing and organizing toys, so he knows where everything goes and can help put things away at the end of the day. It's an excellent exercise in sorting, and if you have more toys than space, it can also be a lesson in charity. Open up a worthwhile discussion about donating some of his less favorite items that he simply doesn't have room for. After all, fewer toys means easier clean up!
Create Rotation Bins
Does your child play with only a small number of toys, most of the time? Create rotation bins to get the most use out of all of your child's toys. Have your child divide his toys into several different storage bins, and keep only one bin out at a time. When he starts to get bored with the toys he is playing with, put them away and bring out another bin. Your child will end up playing with all of his toys, and having only one bin out at a time will keep toy messes to a minimum.
Use See-Through Storage Bins
Ditch the toy box and invest in several see-through bins for storage. Being able to see what is in each box translates to fewer toys thrown about as your child tries to find what she is looking for.
Use Kid-Friendly Labels
Keep track of what is in each of your child's toy bins with kid-friendly labels. For example, have a separate bin for stuffed animals, toy cars and trucks, building blocks, etc and label them accordingly. Pictures, brightly colored tabs, and age-appropriate words will make it easy for him to find exactly what he needs. More importantly, it will serve as a guide for your child to put toys away himself! (see slide #2!)
Utilize Wall Space
Storage space can go up, too! Consider hanging a net as a catch-all for stuffed animals. Also, over-the-door hanging storage is a great solution for clearing clutter off your floors. Decorative hooks can also be an adorable way to store dress-up clothes, hats and bags.
Create a Space for Artistic Creativity
Every playroom needs a dedicated place for your child to get creative! A small table with chairs is is the perfect space to color, paint, draw, and use her imagination. Keep her arts and crafts supplies in clearly labeled, easy-to-reach bins for easy access, and think outside the box for storage for smaller supplies like crayons, paint brushes, and writing utensils. For example, an old toolbox painted a fun color and decorated with stickers would look cute on your table, and is perfect for keeping everything organized.
If you have more than one child, consider color-coding your storage bins. Each child can have his own color, plus a separate designated color for shared toys. This works especially well if your children are a few years apart in age and play with toys that aren't age-appropriate for each other.
Finally, remember to purge! Set a time frame (monthly, seasonally, etc.) and sort your child's toys into three piles — keep, toss, and donate. Throw away any broken or worn out toys, donate the toys that your child has outgrown or never plays with, and keep the rest. Make purging a part of your regular routine to keep your child's toy collection to a manageable size.