You stand at the doorway wondering, “How can such tiny people create such a horrendous mess?”
Then you take a hard stance and say, “This is not my stuff, I'm not going to clean it up!”
But before you know it you're organizing books by color, sorting Legos by size, and trying to clean dry Play-Doh out of a My Little Pony playset.
To put it mildly, the playroom is getting on your nerves! The toys, books and game pieces are everywhere. You're ready to make some changes and gain control over the situation, but where do you start?
My four easy steps to playroom perfection
Bring in the assistants. Yes, the kids are part of the process. Before you begin the project talk to them about why it's important to have a designated space for play and a plan to keep it organized. Remind them that the toys, books, and games that are removed from the playroom will be passed along to other children who might enjoy them.
Sort and purge. Bring in bags for recycling, donation and trash. As you go through each item ask some basic questions: - Is the item still age appropriate? If not, donate it. - Is the item in good condition and ready to be played with? If not, toss it. - When was the last time the item was played with? If it has been a few months, donate it. - Would you buy this toy again? If not, let it go. If there are items you know the children have outgrown but the kids are wary of giving up, set the items aside in a Hold box and revisit them again in six months.
Clean up and re-think the design. A good playroom needs to grow as the children do so stay away from cutesy themes and cartoon characters. Consider the following for the new playroom: - A spot to be creative such as a table or desk, - Plenty of floor space to play, - A mix of storage options with image and/or word labels, - Casual seating like bean bags or comfy chairs, - A place to display (or dry) artwork, and - Low shelving for books, and to display toys and found object collections.
Plan for maintenance. Now is a good time to discuss/negotiate a pick-up schedule. Whatever is decided (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), add a reminder to the family calendar. Include a donation bag/box in the playroom so items can be removed from the room regularly. When the bag is full, place it in your vehicle and drop it off at the donation center the next time you run errands.
Is playroom perfection a real possibility? Of course, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3, but especially 4.