Monday, December 28, 2015

The Capsule Toyroom

You've heard of a capsule wardrobe, but if we apply the same theory to toys that we do to clothes, the results are toys that are enjoyable for the whole family and you'll feel good about letting them play for hours with these toys, which is what childhood is about - playing!  This system of toy organization combines the theories of Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, Dr. Kim John Payne's Simplicity Parenting, and the Capusle Wardrobe concept.

The idea is to create an imagination-rich and stress-free environment for your child to play in. That means her options need to be limited to just a few choices at a time and she shouldn't feel burdened by tons of toys all around her. To do this, we'll sort through all the toys and remove . Remove the flashy toys your child played with a bit and then forgot about after that initial excitement. Let's get started. This process can take up to a week, but will likely at least take you one full day. Okay, ready? Go!!
  1. Gather ALL of the toys in your home. Puzzles, building toys, costumes. ALL OF THEM!  Now sort them using the following guidelines.
  2. Age Appropriate Toys. This is the easiest way to purge, it's a no-brainer. If a toy isn't age appropriate, it's time to release it. Also remove at this time any broken toys or toys that are missing any pieces or that are clearly just dollar store-type junk.
  3. Group the toys by their function. The following sorts of toys are worth keeping (or not).
    1. Building Toys (legos, blocks, wedgits)
    2. Dramatic Play (kitchen area, dress up, dolls and stuffed animals)
    3. Figurines (action figures, barbie, toy cars (big and small), trains)
    4. Puzzles and Sorting Items (Mr. Potato Head, puzzles with pieces)
    5. Board Games and Spelling/Math manipulatives (magnetic letters and numbers)
    6. Reaction (musical instruments, sorting cups or rings, oil and water bottles, science experiment items), 
    7. Outdoor toys (balls, bats, binoculars, bug jars, children's gardening tools)
  4. Consider how often the toy is used and loved. Some of these toys are clear keepers. Go ahead and put those in some sort of clear storage, but keep them in their categories.
  5. Remove any duplicate toys. Even having two ambulances that are slightly different is still considered a duplicate toy. If you're keeping duplicates to avoid conflict, remember a little conflict isn't all bad for your children and builds character once they learn how to share and cooperate with each other. 
  6. Choose classic shapes and patterns. Remember that you have to look at (and probably often clean up) your children's toys. They should bring joy for you to look at, as well as be educational and helpful  While some cuts and patterns of clothing go in and out of fashion, others are considered 'classic' because they do not date. Toy's are no different.
  7. Bring in the expert - your children. After the clutter has been removed (put all the garbage and give away in plastic bags now, before your child comes in.  Now ask them to pick up and handle each of the toys in each category. When they hold it, how do they feel? Excited? Scared? Frustrated? When they're done, ask which of those toys are their "Top 5". Keep those, but think hard about keeping the rest. 
  8. Create your toy library! Sort all of the toys in clear plastic bins, I would use 18 quart bins for this. 
  9. One toy at a time! And go!