Babies and toddlers have so much stuff, your home can look like a tornado of toys blew through it! This clutter isn’t just messy. It can also create feelings of stress that make it harder to be a calm, present parent. (And—as anyone who ever stepped barefoot on a Lego brick or tripped over a pull-toy will tell you—it can be downright dangerous!)
Getting into a tidying routine can reduce chaos and save time. Here are some strategies that can help:
- Bring less in.
Exercise restraint in what you purchase. When it comes to toys and games, quality is more important than quantity.
- Rotate toys in and out.
Keep some things active and some things in storage, then switch them out occasionally. This variety will keep children from getting bored with their toys and will reduce the number of items in use at any given time.
- Don’t open all gifts right away.
Being gracious when you receive baby gifts doesn’t mean you have to put them into use immediately. Practice telling gift-givers, even doting grandparents, “Thank you for your thoughtfulness! We’ll open this another time as a special surprise for our little one.”
- Storage, storage, storage.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of adequate storage. Having designated places to put things away is essential. Sort your child’s things by category and figure out how many bins, baskets, boxes, or shelves you need for each group. Choose functional, decorative pieces that are safe and easy to use like this adorable elephant toy box from The Container Store.
- Play the “It’s Time to Clean Up!” game with your child daily.
Instill good habits in your children by having them help you put their things away. Why not make a game of it? Even a baby can play! Have him or her take a toy and drop it in the box. Hooray! Let’s do another one! For toddlers, set a timer and see how many things they can stow before the buzzer sounds. Compliment their participation and success. It takes a little longer than if you tidy up yourself, but it pays off in the long run. Not only are you getting a neat family room, you’re also teaching your kids to be responsible for their things.
With a little planning, some well-chosen storage items, and a commitment to a simple tidying routine, your baby space can be organized and calm.
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