This week, I visited a lovely family with three children (3 months, 4 years old and 6 years old) who wanted help with their Family Room. The two older children use the room daily and although they enjoy playing in the space, they had a hard time cleaning up after. Often this resulted in power struggles, nagging and their mom cleaning up after them.
We discussed what toys were favourites and which were not really touched that often. We also talked about the purpose of purging and organizing: so the children could use the space and clean up independently. We wanted to set them up for success by having less toys out and a designated space for them.
The first step was to go through each and every item in the room. Every container was dumped out and the toys separated into piles: keep, donate, store for later. This took about 2 hours.
The next step was to put like items together. We were able to add a few more to the donate pile after seeing duplicates and the number of a certain type of toy (for example cars).
We then decided which items to put out and which to store (to be rotated regularly). The number of
toys were drastically reduced. Instead of 4 bins of Hot Wheels out, only one needs to be accessible at a time (for example).
No special containers or furniture needed to be purchased. Baskets, boxes and trays already in the house were used when needed.
In only a few hours, the toys available were cut in half. The reminders to clean have lessened as it is much easier for the children to clean after themselves. This Family Room is now a welcoming place to play, sit and relax!
Before and after photos below: