What do these three people have in common? 1) These grandparents’ grandchildren live in a different state than they live in and the children only visit twice a year. 2) The grandparents live in a condo with limited space, 3) another grandparent is ‘obsessed with having a picture perfect home’. The common dominator is they all love their grandchildren and want to have toys for them when they come to visit and play yet they don’t know how to store toys without taking up a lot of space in their home. Organizing toys in small spaces can be a challenge. Here are some tried and true solutions:
— Home Ever After (@HomeEverAfter) November 2, 2013
1.Make a home for toys. Buy a container with a lid and fill it with toys. The size of the container will determine how many toys you can have. Plastic containers on wheels that slide under a bed are a solution for those with small spaces. Plastic drawers that stack and are on wheels could be stored in a closet between visits. A wicker basket with a lid can double as a toy chest and a coffee table. A chest of drawers not being used or designating a couple of drawers can store children’s costumes, games and puzzles. A book case in a guest room or some other infrequently used area of the home could hold books, puzzles and larger items like dolls and large trucks. The size of the toy could also determine if it is one for you to have in your home.
2.When using drawers for storage label the drawers by using a label maker so the children know where to return the toy. For younger children take a photo of what is in the drawer and tape it to the drawer, either on the outside or if you prefer on the inside of the drawer on the side where it is still visible. Keep small pieces together in inexpensive plastic boxes or zip lock bags. Using a sharpie permanent pen write on the container or bag the game or toy that ‘lives’ inside.
3.Another solution to having toys for children to play with at grandma and grandpas is to have the parents bring the children’s favorite toys when they come to play. However I prefer to have toys that are different than the ones they have at home; ones they can only play with at grandma and grandpas. This makes the toys even more special. Besides the toys, stock activities that can be done together to build fun memories with those precious grandchildren when they come over and visit. Some ideas are puzzles, clay, and dress up clothes to put on plays or for just pretending to help their imaginations grow. Take pictures of them playing and make a little book to give to their parents as a surprise or for some holiday like mother’s or father’s day.
So now you have the toys the kids enjoy playing with, the containers for them to live in and a storage area has been designated for the containers when they aren’t being used; there is one more thing to consider. Children need to know the expectation is when they get the toys out to play with they are also responsible to put them away. After play time or before they go home leave time for them to put the toys away where they belong. This teaches responsibility and a sense of ownership. You won’t dread them coming over and having a lot of extra work to do cleaning up after them when they leave and you’ll look forward to them coming again.
Marilyn is a creative organizer who helps women, seniors and their families create space and end clutter in their homes and offices by setting up custom made systems. Marilyn invites you to visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com where you can find solutions to your organizing needs. She offers free tips in her blogs, articles and videos for your home and office organizing solutions.