One of the most common questions I get asked from parents, is around how to stay on top of the ever-growing toy collection! You might start out with the best intentions but with very birthday, trip to the shops or party they attend, there will be toys or gadgets that sneak through and before you know it, that toy room is up for a big cull.
Think practical, modern storage solutions. Do you pack away some toys and alternate, or just keep minimal all the time? I’ll always suggest to just keep a minimal amount, because those toys are big, especially when you have a baby in the house.
It’s funny really. The smaller they are, the bigger the toys and as your child grows, the toys get smaller and more intricate. The most important thing to remember is quality over quantity – they don’t need everything. I’m sure we’ve all heard our parents say to us a million times: “When you were little, you only played with Tupperware and a spatula.”
When you think about it, if you have a child that is in daycare or school, they can spend 5-8 hours a day playing with every toy and activity you can think of. They do role play. They do puzzles. They have a kitchen area. They have a dress-up area. They have so many things during that day. So don’t think you’re not giving your kids the best, if you don’t have that whole daycare repertoire of toys at your home. Be minimal.
Create quality time
Think of the things you can do with your child, which will create quality time with them in the home. This could be books, puzzles, role play, dress-ups or craft. Again, you don’t need the whole craft extravaganza in your home, a small 10-litre box could be enough for craft or Play-Doh. They will no doubt enjoy spending this time with you compared to going off to play in the kitchen or sandpit like they would in daycare.
Modern Storage Solutions
The storage cube systems are by far the best option for storing toys. They are widely available and come in a number of different sizes. I usually do a 2 x 4 cube system, which gives you 8 sections. These are great because they will grow with your child. In the early years, you can lay them horizontally, so that they are safe for little ones to access all of their toys without the risk of anything toppling down.
They will hold everything from cars, dolls, dress-ups to musical instruments. You might choose those four bottom cubes to store musical instruments but the top cubes for stacking puzzles, games or some of the bigger items like a cash register or abacus. As they grow this may become more of a bookcase or decorative space – the options are endless. You can chop and change the inserts from wherever they are available and have many options including fabric, plastic or wicker.
Tips for managing the influx of toys
It is a good idea to find a way to stop stuff coming into your home. Whether this is your parents, in-laws or friends, when people come to your home, they always seem to think they need to come with something for the child. The problem is that you can now pick up cheap, cheap toys and people are just buying it instead of actually really thinking, will it get used? They just end up giving crap for the sake of ‘giving’, without realising it’s actually you that has to store it.
A really good idea is to reach out to your family, especially if you do have those people in your life that like to bring stuff over all the time. Tell them a really good idea is to bring food over, fruit salad or half a watermelon. Or they can bring something you know you need i.e singlets or pyjamas. That way you know it is something that you will get use out of, not just a collection of plastic dolls from the $2 shop.
Storing larger toys
When it comes to big like a toy kitchen, doll’s house, garage or rocket ship – you need to choose one item to have in that area. Otherwise, it just becomes so much clutter for a child’s mind, that it can stunt their creativity. Kids do not need a million toys, they can be very content with some Tupperware and a spatula’, as long as they’re spending time with you and they are enjoying it.