My DS is nearly 2 and at the moment we have two toy boxes, one that is just for bundling in and messing about with in our living room and one that has proper games (puzzles etc) in in his bedroom. He's starting to get a bit older now and doing proper games like lining up his animals or cars and putting them to bed or making them talk to each other etc. I'm keen therefore to keep things a bit better (my DS is constantly asking me where his x is and I just don't know!). I'd love any advice on how to keep on top of things without becoming a toy nazi and making him sign his toys in and out for playing! I'm a very messy person myself so it doesn't come naturally to me at all! Should I just have a few boxes within reach that have certain things in (e.g. One for cars, one for animals etc)?
I want to let him do whatever he wants with his toys, putting lions in his garage etc (can you sense the toy theme here?!). I don't want to be making him only play with x that goes with x and not letting him just have a big mess about but desperate to stay a little bit organises in our tiny house.
Play with all the bits you want, when but it comes time to tidying away put everything in a themed box - eg, one for animals, another for cars, or, one for outdoors themed, another for work themed, whatever works for you and the toys you have. You can get plastic storage boxes very cheaply in pound shops or places like Wilkinsons - you can decide what's best for you, whether it's a lidded box or open/basket-like.
Alternatively you could use small drawers - such as the plastic organisers, like this - and have a drawer per theme.
Have all of your boxes/drawers out and put them away per theme, your DS may even enjoy sorting them with you. You could put a picture on each box/drawer to indicate the theme.
reading through this and I sound like an article from an old, women's magazine
There is also a further step you could take, if he has a lot of stuff, which is to put away things that he doesn't really play with in a separate area, and if he doesn't ask for them within the month then charity. Don't add to the toys regularly and instead keep it more streamlined. However that's a whole other ballgame and may be of no interest to you!
I also think that if something is being used regularly, particularly in a certain place, then it should be as conveniently stored as possible. So if, for example, your DS is almost always playing with his toys in the living room, then have a series of boxes/drawers with said toys in the living room. Easy to reach, easy to throw back in once done. We have a similar system here (less themes atm as DS is younger and doesn't have much in the way of 'types' of toys) and it's much easier, I just pick up everything at the end of the day and chuck it into the relevant box. Our boxes don't have lids, because that would just be an extra faff for me
I agree... Putting things away where they're easy to find doesn't preclude imaginative play. And since he's asking where things are, it's a good time to start explaining that if we always put it away in the same place, it'll be there when we want to find it (ie: do as I say, not as I do ).
I really like ikea trofast for toy storage, and there's usually a load on eBay if you're on a tight budget, or don't have ikea in easy reach.
we use ikea storage. we have boxes for types of toys, and DD and DS will happily take a couple of toys from each for their imaginative play. DS aged 3 has no problem taking down his garage and then going to his train box and animals box and taking a couple of things out.
We do however have a general crap box, which is in the hallway, this is what we place random untidied toys in, with the intention --but never happens of returning them to their correct boxes and the kids enjoy routing through that and being creative as much as their other toys.
The biggest problem with the organisation of it is DH. when he tidies with them, he opens a draw, puts things in it, regardless of the 'theme'. DD does that too, but DS will be like 'no daddy! that's a traaaaain it doesn't go in the animal box!'.
I agree with removing toys that are not played with often/at all, they do still somehow find themselves in the mix and means constantly clearing up toys that are not even played with. Well that happens in my house yesterday when I crossly removed all the toys from the floor and took them away from them when they refused to tidy up
It's very hard. Anyone with under 5s finds it very hard particularly if they like a tidy house as I do. Now the children are older it is very easy. Perhaps just endure until they are old enough.
Try regularly to give toys away to charity shops so there are never too many of them. Try to clear the floor every night.
Try not to buy many toys. Children get fun from playing with old cardboard boxes even and I am sure my children always have had far too many toys over the years. Just cleared about `16 boxes to a charity shop from storage in the house and felt like the end of an era although we kept a few old favourites for the next generation of children in the family. That included some of my old jigsaws from when I was a child.