Stuff, Stuff, Too Much Stuff

Our older girls were a set of two; we have a younger set of three, currently 2, 3, and 5 years old, but in reality, they are 11 months and 14 months apart. They have a LOT of stuff. From the day the kids arrived, their stuff has been an issue. The three of them share the largest bedroom in the house, but their three beds take up more than half the floor space. We started with a toy sorter; it was disastrous. In all honesty, I now remember it didn’t work for the big girls either, and it drove me crazy then, too.

After two years, we have finally found a toy system that mostly works and a pretty good laundry system. The key to both systems is to acknowledge that I am always going to be rotating outgrown laundry and that there will always be toys on the floor of their room. Whew, just getting there is a relief!

Clothes: As the clothes come out of the dryer, I sort them into outfits and put them on hangers. I know, I know: kids need choices! I let them choose which of two outfits they prefer and that seems to meet that need. Out of season clothes go in the dresser drawer. That way they’re handy if needed. Pajamas and rolled socks also go in dresser, and each child has his or her own drawers. Shoes go in the “shoe box.” I only keep shoes that fit in the shoe box, and they can easily get them themselves when we prepare to go somewhere. I also keep a pair of PJs, a pair of socks, and some underwear in the laundry room with an outfit apiece in case I need to dress one while the others are sleeping. Outgrown clothes are sorted into giveaway, throwaway, and attic storage.

Toys go into either the doll basket, the truck box, or the toy box. In their closet are two huge totes of “extra toys.” Once a quarter, we take out the totes, choose a few new toys and rotate in most of the ones currently in use. The exception, of course, is “special” or “favorite” toys. Those stay out until they are no longer favorite or special. As I do this quarterly swap, I also weed out things that are broken, didn’t meet our expectations (give-away bag), or are too young. The “too young” toys are mostly given away with a handful saved for foster kids.

This is what is working for us right now. What works for you?