Tag Archives: games

Tackle Messy Build-Up With Your Kids This Summer

organizing crafts

Everyone with kids knows that they typically come with lots of STUFF. And somehow it keeps coming in…if you have more than one kid the challenge is even greater.

This buildup is natural. More than any other time of life, the very nature of childhood is about growth and change. Your child’s abilities, interests, and sizes are constantly evolving  – and all the toys, clothes, learning materials change along with them. And young ones are magnets for toys and gifts from relatives.

This means if you aren’t keeping a constant vigil on moving out outgrown items (and how many of us are, really?) you’ve likely got some backlog of unused and unneeded kid stuff.

If your kids have a little more time at home during the summer, take advantage of that to do some weeding.

Break It Down

You’ll have a better chance at success if you focus their attention onto one category of stuff at a time. A general request to “clean out the playroom” isn’t going to get them very far. But a specific request to gather up all the DVDs and choose the ones they love to watch is much easier to get follow through on.

If you divide up the project into categories you’re teaching an important skill about grouping “like items” together.

Put out a big bag or box and have the kids weed some or all of these groups:

  • Board games
  • Clothes that don’t fit (can even break this down by type – tops, pants, jackets)
  • Sports equipment
  • Craft supplies
  • Art projects/ drawings
  • Books
  • DVDs, video games
  • Electronics
  • Toys (you can break this category down by type – electronic, stuffies, dolls)

Create a System and Motivate

Sometimes it’s easier to decide what to keep, rather than what to let go of. Clearly labeling 3 bags or boxes – KEEP, MAYBE, DONATE/SELL can help. Let your family know it’s like going shopping for things they love within our own collection. This helps kids get in touch with making conscious choices about what they really use and like.

Motivation strategies to get them going:

  • Help them visualize the end result – more space to play with their favorite items
  • Use a timer to bound the work
  • Offer incentives or rewards – a movie night after clearing out unwanted DVDs for example.
  • Create a contest or game around who can purge the most 

Enlist Help

If you’re paying for a babysitter or childcare, enlist their help to tackle 1 category a day. Even as little as ½ hour each week spent on weeding will go a long way to staying ahead of the next influx of new gifts or purchases!

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, children, Decluttering, General Organizing, Kids, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Organizing Games and Puzzles

Game Storage - Before

Is your game collection in a jumble?

Fall brings to mind thoughts of being cozy inside, playing games with the family. Having a nice assortment of games to choose from is a great resource for entertainment. If that collection is a disaster of crowded, hard to pullout broken boxes and missing pieces it defeats the purpose of having easy access to the fun.

Here are some tips for keeping your collection inviting and accessible:

Fresh start. Make a fresh start by pulling out ALL the games & puzzles you own. Cull out any that are no longer age appropriate or no longer played. It can be nice to keep a few around for younger visitors.

Repair boxes. Those well-loved games often end up with torn corners and worn boxes; pieces can get lost. Clear packing tape works best to repair ragged boards and box corners.

Bag up loose parts. If you have a game that routinely loses pieces or ends up not fitting back in the box properly you can use ziploc bags to contain game parts. If you need to store games on their sides instead of flat, bagging the parts inside prevents chaos when you open it.

Younger kids’ board puzzles that aren’t boxed often take up a lot of space and have to be stored flat. Quart and gallon size ziplocs work well to hold those pieces separate from the boards. You can also use rigid clear plastic storage envelopes found at office supplies stores. Label the bags with the puzzles’ names and store them and the boards vertically instead of flat for easier access.

Sort and store by size. Stack games that are similarly shaped. Square boxes separate from rectangular boxes. Try not to stack more than 3-4 games for easier access.

Card games, dice games and small games do best stored all together in a shoebox sized box which then can be stored with other games. Be sure to label the box!

If you have enough room, it’s also nice to separate young children’s games from the rest of the family’s so they can always access them easily.

Weed regularly. Ages and interests will keep changing over time so every year or so go back through the list above and keep your game area refreshed and relevant.

Investing a little time in organizing your game area pays back big rewards for family time. Kids can see what their choices are, get games out for themselves and start playing right away. It’s also easier for them to put them away themselves!

Game Storage - after

Here games are stored vertically. We’ve used an open basket to contain playing cards and small parts.

Leave a comment

Filed under children, Closets, General Organizing, home organizing, Kids, organizing