The Revolving Door of Play & Put Away

  • By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com
  • 28 Mar, 2016
legos
If you have children under age 10, you can understand the struggle between keeping kids engaged and keeping your home in order. In today’s homes, play is no longer limited to the playroom or bedroom–toys are generally available throughout the home. And this can make the appearance of untidy chaos. Data from Life at Home […] 
If you have children under age 10, you can understand the struggle between keeping kids engaged and keeping your home in order. In today’s homes, play is no longer limited to the playroom or bedroom–toys are generally available throughout the home. And this can make the appearance of untidy chaos.
Data from Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century (Arnold, et. al) suggests that each new child leads to a 30 percent increase in family possessions during just the preschool years. Purchases from parents, grandparents, and multiple sets of relatives from blended families, mean large amounts of incoming objects. Paired together with children’s art and schoolwork, it becomes hard to find an open countertop in the house.
One of the best strategies for dealing with toys is to create zones where certain types of toys and certain types of play are allowed. These zones allow for only one category of toy to avoid the piles of plastic that tend to spread from room to room. For example, in the Family Room you might declare this space a Media Zone. In this room it is okay to have books, board games, puzzles, and video games. The storage in this room would reflect the category allowed.
Another zone can be for toys with small pieces or figures, such as Legos or GI Joes, where either the bedroom or playroom would be optimal so that they do not get under the feet of your guests or other house members. Homework is best zoned where there is access to a desk and supplies. Toys for the outdoors can be stored away in a specific zone close to the outside such as a garage, basement, or mudroom.
And for the bedroom, this is a great place for kids to keep favorite toys or valuable possessions. This zone helps teach our kids how to give special care and attention to items they deem valuable. For certain valuables, shelves that are higher than normal might be best for storage. And don’t forget the arts and crafts zone. This might be a place where only supervised play is allowed and items needs to be stored away out of reach and behind closed cabinets.
Involving your children in planning and maintaining the zones in your home is an important behavior to model for even the youngest ages. Where to keep toys and how to store them shows concern for care and reinforces the idea that play has a time and place.
And most importantly, it is important to recognize that our children can be easily overwhelmed with copious amounts of toys of every kind laying everywhere. If it is difficult for adults to manage, it is surely difficult for kids to sort through and understand. A simplified toy strategy is just the ticket for shutting the door on continuous clutter.

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
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Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
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