Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break - Day 1: THE TOYROOM

So this week marks Spring Break for my kiddos.  Normally I do themed days for the entire week, but since we just moved into our new house Saturday & I was sick for 2 days something REALLY needed to get done in this crazy mess of a house.  I promised the kids if they helped me with one big task that I'd do themed days the rest of the week with them.  They were on board with that idea so we set off to work in the toy room (aka the attic area).

We literally have NOT seen our toys in 6 months.  We moved from Monterey, CA back in September & our things have been boxed up since then.  My kids were SO missing their stuff.  Trek & I found all the boxes & bins labeled "TOYS" & brought them up to the toy room.  The kids ripped them apart.  There were toys EVERYWHERE.

So the first thing we did was get every single toy (down to the very last Barbie shoe) in organized piles along the side walls of the room.  All the boy toys went on the right side & all the girl toys went on the left side.  They were put together in piles: Barbies, Dinosaurs, Princess Castle, Spiderman Play Set, etc.  Once we got that done (3 1/2 hours later), the kids were exhausted, but already the toy room looked SO MUCH NICER than it did to start with.

That's about all they could handle for the day.  I put them to bed & spent the rest of the night finishing it MY WAY.  (It took a total of 6 hours by the way, but I'm super pleased with how things turned out.)

First I needed a fun project to break up the exhausting process of sorting through toys.  Taya got these really fun Polly Pocket Wall Party sets for Christmas & we've been DYING to set them up.  They use those command sticky hooks to attach the play areas to the wall.  I found the perfect wall for the whole set & set it up for her.  It was really fun.  I would have LOVED this as a kid.

Next I set up the reading nook.  Trek thought this little cave in the room was weird, but I thought it was PERFECT for a reading nook.  I put the 5 kids' chairs in there with both bookshelves so they'd have a quiet place to get away from the toys & read.  We love reading in our house so this area is a big hit.  I also use the book shelf to hold crafts, craft supplies, puzzles, & board games.

Then it was time to get down & dirty.  I went through ALL the kids' toys & decided which things were broken (trash) & which things they just didn't play with anymore (donate).  I filled 2 garbage bags with broken toys & 3 more with toys that we want to donate to our ward's scout camp yard sale fund raiser.  I love it when we can give our things away & still have them be used rather than just throw them in the garbage.  Plus it helps our boy scouts get to scout camp this year.

Once I weeded through all that, there were still several toys left.  I have 6 big plastic bins that I use for our toys.  (3 for the boys' toys & 3 for the girls' toys.)  I spent the next couple of hours separating the toys into 8 equal piles (4 piles for the girls & 4 piles for the boys).  For example, I had 16 board games total so I put 2 in each pile. . . same with puzzles, large play sets, smaller play sets, etc.

I leave one set of girl toys  & one set of boy toys out in the room.  Then I put the other piles into the large bins & write what is inside each bin with that day's date on each bin with masking tape & a sharpie. 

Then I stack the bins neatly in each closet for easy access.  Any large toys that don't fit in the bins go up in the closet as well.  I shut the doors & the kids know those toys are off limits until toy rotation time comes up.

On the 1st & 15th of every month I grab one girls bin & one boys bin from the closet & empty the contents into the toy room.  I put the toys that have been out for 2 weeks into those empty bins & label them with what's in them & the date again & then stack them back in the closet.  It's a nice way of rotating through the kids' toys so they all get equal play time.  The kids love it because it's like getting new toys every 2 weeks.  They play with those toys for 2 weeks & don't see them again until we've rotated through all 4 rotations (every 2 months).  It's a process that has worked for us for YEARS.

Now that everything was organized & put away, I cleaned up the 3rd closet area & made it into a little "house/kitchen" area for my little ones.  They like putting their babies in there as well as cook food in the kitchen.

I put out the puzzles & board games for this rotation onto the bookshelf & then admired my hard work.

The small area by the window is where their stuffed animals are sleeping now.  Trek & I are going to build a little window seat there eventually which will be cute with all the stuffed animals.

Voila!  It is clean!
The room is clean.  Some people may think that's not many toys to play with, but it works for my kids.  Every kid is different so do what works best for your family, but for us, we like no clutter & simple options.  The toys get more play out of them that way & clean up each night is a breeze.  And in 2 weeks, it all changes again anyway.  Happy day!


NOW, we can get to the REAL spring break fun.  Tomorrow is OUTSIDE DAY.

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