Being organized, and staying that way, is a difficult feat for anyone. Most adults cannot get their lives and living spaces organized, so how in the world can we expect our children to? I originally thought that children just loved having things all over the place. I figured that it just made play easier when everything you could ever dream of playing with was all in the middle of your toddler’s floor. What could be more fun than bouncing from one toy to the next! I have to admit that I was completely wrong about that.
If there is anything that children crave, other than attention, it is structure. Children appreciate having everything they need right where they want it and right where they know it has always been and will always be. Creating an organized playspace for your child will make him more confident and more comfortable in the long run. I never realized that having my toddler’s toys and room more organized would make her feel more secure. Now, when I started on this quest for pint-sized organization, I started looking for the tools to make my daughter’s life a little easier. My adventure began at the local walmart where I checked out a few of their organizational materials. I was pretty surprised at just how expensive these plastic containers can become. For all of you parents who will eventually venture down this same road, I have to let you know that an important way to buy the right materials is to assess your needs before leaving the house. Unfortunately, that is something that I did not do myself. I ended up purchasing a plastic tower with six see-through drawers. It cost around $15, but it is about four feet tall and can hold quite a bit. I used this tower organizer to put small toys. For example, I put all of the dress up beads and jewelry in the top drawer, My Little Ponies in the second drawer and so on. I spent half the day going through all of her toys and creating a place for each and every thing. I figured that it would probably be more work for me, in the end, having to keep things separated as time went on, but I could live with that. I was wrong again. When my daughter had seen what I had done, she was simply delighted. Now she knew right where everything was! I suppose I had forgotten all the time she spent digging in the bottom of her toybox for a certain dinosaur. Now they were all in the “dinosaur drawer”. We practiced tossing mixed toys on the ground and finding their “right place” to put them away. My daughter thought this was a fun game and was just incredibly impressed that each toy had a special place where it was supposed to be, and where she could easily find it.
Little did I know, my previous thought about having to spend enormous amounts of time keeping my daughter’s new room organized was about to be de-mythed! When it is time to clean up her room every night, my daughter does not complain, nor does she get frustrated. I never realized before that the reason she was getting frustrated was because she was having to toss everything everywhere, and this caused problems when she was trying to relocate the toys the next day. With the new system, my daughter can easily put everything where it goes, and she takes a lot of pride in being able to put everything in its place.
I have come to learn that having that fun clutter of toys all over my daughter’s bedroom floor was creating more of an anxiety than anything else. She was completely overwhelmed with all of the play options. This is probably not something that we can always recognize as parents. Since I have made this discovery, I have been helping other mothers I know organize their children’s rooms. I swear by the clear sorting bins and drawer systems that are available at Target and Walmart. They are sturdy, lightweight and hold quite a bit. You can use them for sorting and storing toys, such as we did, or you can use them to organize other items such as your children’s coloring books, crafting supplies or doll clothes. If your child is dressing him/herself, these towers can be used for storing each day’s clothing and accessories. This puts everything at your child’s fingertips and will give your child more confidence and feeling of independence when he or she does not have to rely on you to get everything for them. The clear bins are also great because you and your child can easily see what is in each without having to open the container up.
Bookshelves are also an easy and inexpensive organizational tool. You can normally find the pre-fabricated models are very inexpensive in most stores. Second hand shops and furniture stores also sell bookshelves and shelving systems. If you peruse your local furniture stores, be sure to check the damaged and orphaned furniture sections of each. There are major deals to be had out of that little section! You can use the bookshelves to store books and even toys. We put my daughter’s large horses on the shelves to be displayed when she is not playing with them, along with a stack of puzzles and her piggy bank.
Stuffed animal nets are a great way to rid yourself of the stuffed and fluffy clutter that your children’s stuffed animals create in their rooms. One thing we did was rig the net closer to the floor. This way my daughter could easily reach anything she wanted to play with and could easily put it back in when she was done. This beat having to get the step ladder each time she grew tired of one favorite and took on another!
If you can not afford a new toybox, you may find that laundry baskets make great alternatives. For a more decorative and fun toy storage device, you can grab a cardboard box and let your child paint or color it to match the decor of his or her room. Toys can be tossed in easily and boxes are smaller than regular toyboxes.
However you decide to get organized, you will see that the change will benefit the overall play performance of your child and even the cleanliness of the playspace. I highly recommend working with your child to achieve a more organized space.