Regardless of the amount of toys, my boys will be boys, and they have a hard time cleaning up after themselves. As of late, it has been a battle to get them to move a muscle without the "Clean Up Song," or threatening an early trip upstairs for bedtime. This momma has also been frustrated with the amount of small Lego's, puzzle pieces, flashcards, cars and 'Ninja gear' that the boys have been enamored with since winter. I needed to put a stop to the chaos. With supplies I already had in my home (due to buying things at a clearance price and storing them for a rainy day project), my agenda to get the boys motivated for picking up after themselves took shape.
First I started with these $1.00 pencil cases that I scored from Office Max when before school sales were in full swing.
I got all matching flashcards or instruction books within their own pouches. I had mentioned above that the boys play with small 24 piece puzzles quite a bit. By the time they have the box opened the first time, it is destroyed so I simply cut out the cover of the puzzle box, put all puzzle pieces in the pouch and sealed the deal. I was giddy!
Next game the major project I have been putting off for weeks: Organizing the toy bins (echo, echo, echo......)! Every single toy in the living room went through my hands. It either went into the donation paper bag (within arms reach), the garbage pile or one of the toy bins that housed their favorites. Any small toys or 'dinky' things that I knew they didn't play with any more weren't given a second thought; they would be donated. My boys are abundantly blessed with toys and books, it is a good life lesson to show them what kindness in giving (and not asking for anything in return) can do for them. My prayers are that they carry this into their grown-up lives.
At the start of sorting, I categorized and proceeded to take a picture of the themes that were developing so they could be placed on the outside of the toy bins.
As soon as everything was in its new 'home,' we both got excited and HAD to play with the Potato Heads (they appeared happy).
After the pictures were taken, I edited quick in Picasa and proceeded to print. I grabbed the clear packing tape and ended up with pure perfection.
A way for the boys to easily categorize and put things away. Everything has it's own home! The items that don't fit in the smaller toy bins were placed in the large clear 'toy bin' so they can easily see what they are looking for. Jessie and Woody were happy to 'Round Up' all the toys.
Once all was said and done and crumbs were vacuumed off the living room floor, I went out to the kitchen to find my son playing with the laundry basket 'jail' --not wanting to give it up! I just can't win!