Keeping a playroom straightened is usually harder than organizing almost any room in the home. Most playrooms are filled with a huge array of toys with little pieces and multiple parts. And, to make things even more challenging, most kids are not anxious to “tidy up” when they’re finished playing. But teaching kids when they are young will go far in organizing spaces throughout their lives.
Kids end up playing with a small percentage of their toys when they have limited or no access to them. When toys, art supplies and books are not easy to reach, your children may not even know where they are or what they have. Conversely, if everything is accessible, children tend to plow through multiple activities in a matter of minutes.
In organizing a playroom, you need to first sort “like things together.” Think of the playroom in terms of zones. There can be a zone for boxed games, building sets, dress up area, puzzles and other categories of toys and games. Any broken toys should be tossed as they are rarely worth the trouble of fixing.
Some toys may no longer be of interest as your child outgrows them. Listen to your children – if they say they are finished playing with a certain game or toy, let it go. Sometimes the parents have a harder time letting go of toys than the children do. It is especially gratifying to donate toys and games to worthy causes at this time of year.
After you get rid of of what you don’t need, you can figure out where to put what is left. Bins that are easy for your kids to open, or containers without lids, make life easier for little fingers to reach what they want.
Label drawers or storage containers with images along with words for smaller children. Open baskets work really well because they need no labels, you can easily see what is inside. See through boxes are better than opaque ones, for the same reason. Avoid stacking anything because whatever is on the bottom is difficult to reach. Once you involve moving boxes, you will quickly see that the containers do not get put back where they belong. Eliminate those frustrations by using shelves where containers are not stacked.
Do your best to keep toys at “kid level.” Your children need to be able to reach what they need without a lot of effort. Standing on a chair to reach high shelves can be dangerous.
Of course, paint and art supplies and some toys should be used with supervision. Keeping those supplies where you child can’t reach them just might save your floor, walls and linens from a mess. I recall a time when I left my kids alone for a few minutes and returned to find paint on the kitchen ceiling – they decided it would be fun to paint the tops of their helium balloons!
If there is space, set up a table and chairs where children can draw, do schoolwork or play. An chalkboard/easel is a great activity, too.
Once you get the playroom organized, show your child where everything is and how they can figure out what is in each container. Stress the importance of keeping the playroom organized so they can easily find whatever toys they want. Set aside time to put away toys to start healthy organizing habits now. By learning to keep a tidy room, your child will enjoy and appreciate what is there, as will his/her friends. This helps your child to feel more independent as well.