You've put in the work from the Toy Organization Boot Camp, and now your toys are where they should be! Do not let it be undone! I know – the kids are going to play. They will explore all the new storage options and will likely make a giant mess when they are back home. The mess is ok – as long as you don't let it stay that way!
Maintaining Toy Organization
My boys are organizing and picking up champions! They love to keep their toys where they know they can find them. They fully understand the benefits of being organized. We have exceptions that I'll discuss, but we keep our toys picked up and put away for the most part. They were not always like this, but the benefit of instilling the drive of Toy Organization Maintenance is worth the training period. Below I will give you tips and examples of how to keep the order you worked so hard to create.
If you loved the Toy Organization Boot Camp, you might have the declutter bug! It always feels so good to accomplish a task to get your home back in shape. If you want to continue, check out the Declutter Boot Camp!
Communicate Your Expectations of Maintaining Toy Organization
I know you will be excited to show your kids how amazing the toys look! But – do not show them until you explain your expectations. I recommend giving the kids a “tour” of their newly organized toys. Point out where their most frequently played toys are kept. Let them know that you intend for the toys to stay in this organized manner, and they are expected to help with that.
Ten Second Tidy (well, sort of)
When your children have multiple toy sets out it's time to implement a 10-Second Tidy! While we know that the kids will spend longer than 10 seconds picking up the toys that are out, it makes them think the process is super fast. You will want to help them with this process so they don't feel like it is no longer a team effort. Also, don't let them mix the toys back up! Keep an eye out for them just throwing items in a bucket and correct it on the front end.
Never Go To Bed With a Toy Mess
Most people will tell you not to go to bed angry when you first marry your spouse. Well, after the honeymoon and newborn stages, I changed that to never going to bed with a toy mess. Ever. I personally can not go to sleep if my kitchen and our toys are not picked up.
If you are not as much of a neat freak as I am, try to implement it! Take the additional 10-15 minutes to pick up all of the toys. If your children are old enough, have them help you. My kids picked up every night before bed since they were little, we've had to work with them, but now it's just part of our nighttime routine.
When Children Do Not Want to Help
Yes – your children will likely fight you on the whole “picking up the toys” thing. But we can be prepared for when this arises. Here are some pointers:
If you direct a child to start picking up their toys, they will turn in a circle and not know where to start. Instead, tell your children specifically what they are responsible to pick up at that moment. Please don't give them a list of all the things they need to pick up. Let them pick up the first set of toys, then direct them to where they should go next.
I promise your children will be more inclined to help when they know exactly what you want them to do. When you take the big job of picking up the toys and breaking it down into sections, they will be able to process what you want a lot easier.
If you have been a part of Boot Camp Mom for any amount of time, you already know how much I love to praise my kids. Implement this when they are picking up. Give them high fives, tell them how helpful they are, and thank them for being a team player. I always love to give them a thumb's up from across the room! If you want your children to help with the chores, you need to instill a sense of pride in them for accomplishing it.
You've given your kids specific instructions on what to pick up, and you've tried to motivate them to help the team, but they are not having it. My suggestion? Grab some trash bags and get your child's attention. Tell them that at the end of 3 minutes, any toys that are not picked up and put where they should go will be thrown out. Set a timer and watch them move! They might be a little hysterical at this thought, but it's important for the kids to know that if they do not help maintain the toy organization that they will not be able to have toys.
This may seem a little harsh, and I will probably get some hate mail, but it is effective as an attention grabber. Make sure to communicate with your child when the toys are picked up as you asked. Explain that we are all in this together and you expect them to be a part of the team.
Any time that my kids are at their grandparent's house, I go through their toys. I wouldn't consider this a full-blown boot camp because I've maintained the current toy organization we have in place, but I do go through each and every toy. You can re-organize bins, find toys to store away, and move storage options around. Every minute the kids are gone does not have to be spent on toys, but definitely take the time to get them back in order.
Don't forget to check out the Declutter Boot Camp to continue on your organizational journey! Woop Woop!
Following the Toy Organization Boot Camp will help minimize a lot of stress in your life. Toys can be very overbearing and seem to take over your entire house if you do not get them under control. Once completed, it is essential that you continue to maintain the organization that you worked so hard to create. Daily pickups can help with this and teach your children the importance of picking up after themselves. You can do this!
Next, I will show you how my toys are organized and what they look like pre-pickup and post-pickup. You can see my chaos here.