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by Shanyna Lascano
HOW NOT TO GET OVERWHELMED WHEN YOUR KIDS HAVE TOO MANY TOYS:
Toys need to be organzied but they don't have to be put away in alphabetized, color-coded bins. Kids simply love to dump things out and that's just how they tend to want to put things away - dump everything back into a bin haphazardly. Kids don't care if one bin is marked "trucks" and one is marked "cars." If you love to label things, rather than making up a toy classification system on your own, ask your kids how they would like to see their toys categorized. You'll be surprised by the different ways they view their objects and, even better, if they help you come up with the system, they are more much more likely to follow it.
Tote bags are your friend
Earmark a specific, lightweight bag (preferably with handles) that can be carried around the house and used as a depository for wayward toys. That way, when you or your child finds a toy that belongs elsewhere, it can be popped it in the bag and given to your child to carry back to the proper spot later.
If it's broken, don't fix it
This idea is for the random toy - not the favorite toy that gets used constantly and your child will be heartbroken if it is tossed. If a toy is missing its parts and you know they're not under the sofa cushions, just get rid of it. Likewise, if something breaks, don't let it gather dust in the toy chest.
Rotate and Rediscover
Isn't it amazing how little ones generally prefer the cardboard box that came with the toy, than the toy itself. Simple is often better when it comes to toys because little ones can get overwhelmed by too much stuff. If you are lucky enough to have generous family and friends who buy many items for your children, divvy up the toy chest into two, three or four assorted piles. Then put the piles into rotation, swapping out sets a few times a year. Doing so gives kids the Christmas morning surprise more than once a year and saves you from having everything out at once.
Make clean-up fun
Moms can (and are always tempted to) pick up toys since you can get it done three times faster than if your kids do it, but it's important to teach kids to clean up. Teaching your kids to pick up their toys teaches them to have respect for their things and for others. Make it a game by setting a timer and challenging the kids to a clean-up race.
Make quick clutter clean-up a nightly routine
Whether you make it a post-dinner routine or something the kids do before bed each night, setting routines are a great way to tackle clutter on a daily basis.
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