Okay, when I left you yesterday, I had just sorted out all the toys I could find in our house into categories. The categories were physical/motor skill toys, imaginative/fantasy play toys, constructive play toys, games/toys with rules, and constant circulation toys. I also had a few toys in the Wow! factor category that will be saved for a rainy day.
When we parted yesterday, we had this...
A big ole' mess, right?
Well, when we get done today we will have something more like this:
Here's the How:
1. I took each bin and wrote a number on it. Then I grabbed a little notebook and labeled one page for each bin.
2. I set the first bin in the middle of the room and then took all the toys in my Wow! factor pile and set them in the bin. Bin #1 is our rainy day bin that contains toys that my kids like, but don't love. The toys they play with for a while, but not ones that they ask for.
3. Next, I took another bin and placed it in the middle of all my piles. Then I took a toy or two (or three... or four...) from each of my separated piles and placed it in the bin. I wrote down each toy as it went in so that I had a complete list of the contents. That way, if my kids ask for any specific toys, I can get them back out without having to unpack three different bins to find it.
4. I repeated step three until the large majority of our toys were packed away in one of the bins. I left out one basket of toys for Monkey and one basket for Gator.
5. Then, THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP, after the kids went to bed, I took the toy bins out to the garage. You know the adage, 'out of sight, out of mind'? Monkey helped me put the toys in the bins, so he knew where they were and while he could see them, he kept wanting to take the toys back out. Once they bins were gone, he stopped wanting to unpack them all.
6. Take the toys that are in-rotation and set up a storage system for them. I chose to use fabric boxes I found at Dollar Tree. Label each basket or bin so that your kids can easily put them away in the right places when they finish with them. This allows them to pull out more than one basket at a time and still be able to put them away correctly. I use photo labels with Monkey - since he's three and can't read yet - and he does great with them. I love that I don't have to worry about him dumping out multiple bins and things still get stored in an orderly manner.
The first week we did our rotation, I made a list of the toys Monkey asked for each day and then retrieved them while he was asleep. Because of my lists, it was really easy. I just retrieved the toy and crossed it off the list. They will be a part of our constant circulation toys that stay inside all the time. If he missed them enough to ask for them specifically, he probably plays with them enough to be worth keeping them inside. We added about a dozen toys to our constant circulation toys, but that wasn't bad since I had kept so little inside to begin with.
So, we are about two weeks into this and, so far, it's going well. My boys are playing with their toys more. And, better yet, they play together more! I have to do a little more refereeing, but only because Monkey forgets he's bigger than Gator. I love what this system is doing for my boys, and I love that I have fewer toys laying around my house! SCORE! And on to my next project....
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