Thursday, July 5, 2012

the toy post

My mother-in-law has Baby Wonder for the next couple of nights, and the Mr. is working 3rds for what seems like the rest of our lives, so I am taking advantage of my time alone to... organize! A fabulous part of who I am, if I do say so. The ability to get excited about getting rid of clutter, and buckle down. Usually this ability is fueled by wine, but as I have a very good reason currently filling out my last set of stretch marks to not indulge, I'll put that glass of wine on the running tally sheet I have for when I'm done nursing. Which seems like forever away. I've been asked how I expect to raise an Irish baby if I don't start early, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way :)

Baby Wonder: my adorable little wrecking ball

Anyway, back to my organizing. This time, I'm tackling toys. I made a pact with myself that I would never let them get out of control. I don't like the look of "child-run" households, and I have a system that works great for us (No offense, it works for some, but I'm way too Type-A for that to not make my head spin around). When we lived with my in-laws, the house started to get out of control, so when we moved to our first apartment in April (yay!), I started my system. In two rooms only do toys exist. The living room, where we spend most of our time, and Baby Wonder's room. And in those two places are a very limited number of toys. That's my secret. No matter how many toys he owns, he never sees them all at once. My reason: This creates simplicity for him. He is never overwhelmed by his choices, therefore we avoid the "too many things to choose from so I choose havoc" scenario.

First, we have downstairs. We have an antique cedar chest we inherited from a friend. the Mr. refinished it and we use it for our coffee table. The concept of furniture with no storage is foreign to me, since we have very little built into our townhouse. Inside the chest, I have two canvas covered diaper boxes for smaller toys (like the Little People train set, and his cars), then a series of larger toys take up the rest of the space. Baby Wonder can see each toy, thus avoiding the need to empty the chest to get to something (though this happens anyway. Whatever.)

Second, we have his bedroom. There is a smaller selection of toys here, all divided by theme (cars, balls, Mega Blocks, music, learning... and of course, safety cones. My son loves those safety cones). Each canvas box is labeled (mostly for me, as the 20 month old can't read), and he knows where to go for each activity. None of these bins are filled to the brim (except the Mega Blocks). In fact, most are just as sparse as the chest in the living room. He also has in his room a rocking horse, a train, and an obnoxious Toy Story punching bag that my mother thought was fabulous, and Baby Wonder rides like a horse. He has plenty of books in the canvas boxes above his toy storage, as well as within reach on the bookshelf downstairs.

Lastly, the REST. I use a large, clear plastic bucket to store the rest of the toys that are not currently in use. I rotate these toys every couple of months. That way, when Baby Wonder's interest is waning in the toys he currently has out, I have backups ready to go. The "old" toys get packed away, then brought back out and are treated as brand new and exciting. If a toy misses a rotation or two, I know it's time to donate it. This helps me keep the potentially hazardous amount of toys to a manageable level. This bucket stays in his closet, out of sight, under my sewing machine (like I said, not a ton of storage!) Sorry about the weird quality of this one, but you get the idea.

I've heard several friends comment on the maddening amount of toys that somehow automatically come with children. This is my method, hopefully it works with two kids!

Now, I've spent enough time on the internet. I have a date with Benson and Stabler.

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