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With ambitious fantasies of family-friendly homes where adults can walk barefoot without fear of stepping on Lego bricks, or plop on the couch without feeling something ominously sticky, many parents try to designate kid areas solely for playing with toys. Now let’s return to reality: Kids consider the entire house their play area! After just a couple of hours of unbridled creativity and energy, your family room can look like a tsunami rolled over it. What’s a parent to do—shove all those toys under the bed for another day, or stand tall and approach them bravely?
Don’t wait! Banish the mess and keep your cool. Here’s how to organize toys—and take back your home—in five easy steps.
Step No. 1. Dump everything on the floor
Start by putting every toy in the center of the room. This might feel like you’re making more of a mess—and in fact, you are—but trust us! This will help you visualize everything you need to organize.
Step No. 2. Sort the toys into piles
Stack the books in one corner of the room, put board games in another, and mound all the little pieces into piles.
“Pick a section to work on, and then literally sit on the carpet with your child and go through each type of toy,” recommends Kate McCann, an organizing professional with Maeve’s Method. Ask your kid about the toys so you can determine how often she plays with them or whether she’s outgrown a few.
“By posing these questions, you’ll begin to develop categories,” McCann says.
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