Regardless of how many kids you have, chances are toys have slowly taken over your apartment or home. Toys from gifts at Christmas, birthdays, or each visit from grandparents can quickly accumulate, taking your home from Pinterest perfect to a Pinterest fail. Stuffed animals, Legos, Barbies, dress-up clothes, Nerf guns, toy cars, puzzle pieces, playsets, and so much more can overtake bedrooms, living rooms, and even the kitchen.
If you are renting a Northern Colorado apartment and you’re finding that toys are overpowering your space, here are a few simple tips to help keep toys under control in your apartment that will keep your kids happy without causing you to lose your sanity.
Set Clear Boundaries in the Home
If you’re finding toys in every room, drawer, and surface, it may be time to set some ground rules and establish clear boundaries. Make it clear that toys are not allowed in the kitchen, but they can be in the living room. It may take some time for kids to get in the habit of leaving toys behind when they go to get a snack, but with consistency, you will soon be able to cook without stepping on their favorite action figures.
Reduce the Amount of Clutter
The more toys there are, the greater the risk of them totally taking over your home. It doesn’t matter how organized or tidy you are, excess amounts of toys will undoubtedly turn into a mess. You can help reduce the odds of this happening by reducing the number of toys kids have access to.
If toys are starting to pile up in the toy box, sit down with your children and go through them all. Leave behind those that are most played with and set aside any that they are no longer interested in.
Limit Toy Storage Capacity
An effective way to help you limit the number of toys in the apartment is to limit the available toy storage. Oversized toy boxes make it easy to just throw toys in and watch it pile up over time, but there are plenty of genius storage ideas to keep any room clutter-free. If you have a small apartment, you might look into smaller sized containers and limit the number of toys in the home to what fits in those containers.
Make Sure Every Toy Has a Home
Even with a limited number of toys to store, toys can still take over a room. To keep this from happening, help your child understand that every toy needs a home and a place where it belongs. Take the time to help them practice organization and practice putting toys where they should be. Perhaps stuffed animals belong in a basket in the corner, while Legos and toy cars go in the plastic bins on their toy organizer. Plastic containers that can slide under the bed are a great way to store train tracks or Barbie accessories, while a bookshelf can be a good home for puzzles and board games.
Keep Some Toys Out of Their Reach
There are some toys that have a greater tendency of spilling and sprawling out. You may consider keeping those toys out of reach of little hands either on a higher shelf or in a closet. Toys to keep out of reach could include puzzles, games with small pieces, play dough, crayons or markers, and other toys that simply make too much of a mess.
Cycle Toys With the Seasons
One of the best ways to keep toys under control is to separate and cycle them throughout the year. Many parents separate toys into large plastic bins leaving one or two out and placing the others in storage. This allows you to limit the number of toys that they can make a mess with, but doesn’t force you to get rid of good toys. Simply switch out the bins every few months and give your child “new” toys to play with.
Follow a “One In, One Out” Rule
Another great way to keep toys at bay is to follow the “one in, one out” rule: when a new toy comes into the home, an old toy leaves. You can help teach your children to be generous with those less fortunate and keep them from becoming overly attached to the number of toys they have, while at the same time limiting how many toys are in your home. If you’re renting an apartment in Northern Colorado with limited storage space, this can be a great technique for teaching responsibility, generosity, and appreciation.
Be Wise and Picky With Toys
Don’t be afraid to be picky with the type of toys that make their way into your home. Choose toys wisely and encourage those who buy toys for your children to do the same. This will help to minimize the number of toys that will be unused, unwanted, oversized, or poorly made.