What to do when… (Part 2: TOYS!)

Does your house ever look like this?

You go to sit down and OUCH, there’s a toy stuck in between the couch cushions…

You wake up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom and OUCH, you stepped on a bathtub toy…

Do not fear, you are not alone!

Our stepping on toy problem greatly increased when we moved down to Georgia; our square footage was pretty much cut in half!  Of course with every move you go through things, get rid of stuff or put it in storage.  We had to do this a little bit each day because we realized that we just don’t have the space for everything!  Plus, do we really need it all?

After selling, donating and disposing of many things, we still found that we were continually stepping on toys!  Everyday we clean, clean, clean but still the apartment never seems to be clean!  Where does this go?  Where did that go?  Those questions were beginning to annoy me!  So finally I did something about it!  I started organizing in a new way and started labeling things.  Now if you come to our apartment you might think I’m a bit crazy because almost everything has a label!  Oh don’t get me wrong, the place is still a mess, that for some crazy reason is absolutely impossible to uphold 24/7 when you have toddlers!  Yet things have significantly improved and now the kids can help with the cleaning.

These little organization tips can apply to more than toys.  It can help with anything in the house!  Labeling also serves as a learning tool.  I’m trying to learn Italian so some of the labels have the word in English & Italian on it (such as the forks & spoons drawer pictured below).  Also, I absolutely can’t stand to put laundry away but now that Sophia has learned where her clothing goes, there’s one less person I have to worry about!  Plus it makes her feel very special when she gets to help Mommy with the laundry.  Yet most importantly it helps with the toy mess, even Tedy can recognize the picture on the label and put toys away in the proper spot.

How to make the labels…

  • Invest in a laminating machine (not a huge expensive office one but a nice little one perfect for home use, trust me once you have one you’ll find many reasons to use it.  They cost about $20 at Walmart, Target or any office supply store and laminating paper is a decent price too and comes in many sizes)
  • Dollar Tree sells word strips and a pack of 30 is just a dollar and can label tons of stuff around the house (this is what I used to write things in English and Italian, pictured below)
  • Dollar Tree also sells other “school supplies” in the “teacher area” that you can cut out and laminate to help with labeling (this is great for kids clothes because you can cut out the pictures of shirts, pants, etc, laminate them and attach them to the proper dresser drawer)
  • Take pictures of toys or find the picture online (to label my toy bins I went on amazon.com and typed in the toy, copy & pasted the pic into powerpoint, printed it out, laminated it and used ribbon to attach it to the bucket)
  • Use baskets (TJ Maxx, Christmas Tree Shop, Target one spot and Dollar Tree are all great places to find cheap baskets or buckets.  I really like going to the clearance section and sprucing up whatever I find.  The dishrags have little chalk boards on them and those were just $3 each in the clearance section of TJs)

Make sure you get your kids involved and have fun!  If they are involved in creating the labels and organizing the house, not only does it make them feel special but it also teaches them responsibility.

Good Luck!  Oh and remember, don’t get frustrated, having a spotless home 24/7 would mean that no one is having fun playing so HAVE FUN and make cleaning a new game!

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