Let’s face it, having kids takes over just about every part of your life. Getting ready for the day takes at least an additional hour (typically jam packed full of negotiations and explanations as to why one must wear pants), you forget what “quiet time” even is, and you seem to be drowning under a never ending pile of laundry. While we love those little rascals more than life itself, it’s also important to remember to keep some parts of your life the way YOU want them. I have found that for me personally, this means keeping my home looking the way I want it to look, rather than like a neglected aisle of the toy store. I have found that the more chaotic my home begins to look, the more chaotic my mood begins to feel. A more organized home is a happier me. I absolutely love the feeling at the end of the night when my son has finally fallen asleep and I can cuddle up on the couch with a movie and my husband and look around loving what I see. Don’t get me wrong- keeping your home organized in the midst of raising a little human is not always easy. It has taken me years of trial and error to figure it out, but I have learned a lot along the way and would love to share some tips with you all on how to keep things a little more organized.
Toy baskets are an absolute lifesaver. Since we spend most of our time in the living room, it makes sense that my son have plenty of toys accessible to him there. For a long time, this meant that we just had what felt like constant piles of toys everywhere and no matter how clean my house was, I never felt like it was truly organized or like things had their own place. I’d been thinking about adding some baskets for a while however it seemed like every basket I found was far too much money for something that my son could possibly end up breaking. Then I discovered the awesomeness that is Home Goods. If you don’t have a Home Goods where you live, I have also seen pretty good discounted basket sections at stores like Marshalls, Ross, and T.J Maxx. Even Target will surprise me occasionally with their basket clearance, you just have to frequent Target often (which you probably already do) and be ready to pounce when the clearance section has just been updated. The key to a good toy basket is that it has some movement to it. The stiff whicker baskets are far more likely to break on you (my son loves to pick at whicker and slowly/sneakily destroyed a whicker laundry basket piece by piece). I was able to find a couple of baskets that had a lot of give to them. My son will sit in them, roll around on top of them, do all of the other rough housing things that boys seem to do, and these baskets still keep their shape and are perfect in tact. They perfectly match the look of our living room and are big enough that you can’t even see what’s in them until you are right up next to them. Our son gets to keep his toys close and accessible, and we get to keep our living room clean and organized… it’s truly a win win.
2. Utilize the space you have.
Got a coat closet? A little nook under the stairs? Landry room? Make the most of them! We bought a few of those little plastic 3 drawer storage containers and have them strategically hidden close to the areas where our son likes to play. We have one in the downstairs coat closet, one in his bedroom, and one in the laundry room, which helps to house the toys that won’t fit in the living room baskets. This helps our son to keep more of his toys easily accessible, while also keeping them put away so that we don’t have to see them if they aren’t being played with. Clean up at the end of the day is super quick and easy… any toy left out either ends up in the baskets or in the toy drawers, simple as that.
3. Cycle your toys.
Between Christmas, birthdays, grandparents who love to spoil, and all of the other random events that seem to lead to endless piles of toys, it can get pretty overwhelming finding a space for each one. I’m willing to bet that your kids do not play with each and every toy every day. If they’re anything like my son, they have their main group of favorite toys that they play with for about a month at a time, then they move onto a different group of favorite toys. The unused toys are still sitting around getting in the way/taking up space, and often end up everywhere simply because they are there rather than because they are actually being played with. Solution: put them away and cycle them out! Get a big clear storage container (clear is best so that you can see what’s inside) and put in all of your child’s current least favorite toys. Store it in the garage or high up in a closet where they aren’t accessible to your children. Once your kids seem to be getting tired of the toys they have been playing with daily, cycle the toys out (be sure to keep the absolute favorite toys out, but put away the ones that seem to be getting played with less often). By doing this once every couple of months, you ensure less mess and your kids will be excited to be reunited with toys that they had forgotten about. Tip: Do the cycling out once the kids have gone to nap or bed for the night. If you cycle them out while they are awake they will try to convince you that EVERY toy they own is important to keep out (even the toys they haven’t touched in months).
Hopefully these will help you get organized and feel good about the space you call home! It takes time to figure out what works for you and your family, so keep trying different organization strategies until you find what works for you. The process of organizing isn’t always fun, but at the end of the day it is SO worth it.