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Purge, Organize, Clean… Repeat!

Organizing Your Kid's Toys

I always want to start the New Year with an organized playroom, and bedrooms for my son and daughter.

Purge, Organize, Clean…

Since I’m pretty sure Christmas toys have babies like rabbits and end up spilling out of closets and all over floors. But no matter how much time and effort I put into it BEFORE Christmas I always end up doing it again AFTER Christmas!  Ugh, how is that possible?!

So, I start early to get ready for these multiplying toys.  After Thanksgiving I have my kids pick toys they haven’t played with in the last year.  I talk to them about how we were thankful over the holiday for what we have and that many kids don’t have toys to play with (or 3 rooms full of them!).  It’s a nice way to work my 1st grader and 3-year old into giving during the holiday season.  And it begins–

Step 1: Purge. 

With their help we pick toys to put in a box to give to our local women’s shelter.  Then, when they’re not looking, I purge the toys that they actually need to get rid of!  It’s a little insane that I usually end up with a few boxes and bags of toys that we accumulated over the year from previous Christmases, visits to places, birthdays, and the just becauses.   I put them in the back of my minivan and feel pretty good about myself for getting on it so early.  I mean it’s barely December and have already purged, organized and cleaned, ready for those toys!  I have empty spaces in their closets, empty bins in the playroom, and plenty of places for those multiplying like rabbit endless Christmas toys…

No, no I don’t.  Why do I ever think that the room I make is ever enough for the amount of toys my children get for Christmas?!?!  A week before Christmas I look around and think about how I can fit this new toy here and that new toy there…  After Christmas it looks like a hurricane went through the house, and I’m not just talking about Christmas morning when the wrapping paper is all over the floor and boxes are exploding out of garbage cans.  I’m actually talking about the aftermath.  The last few years we traveled to see family for Christmas so by the time we get home all the wrapping and boxes have already been discarded.  But yet when we unpacked my floors are littered with presents.  Bags tipping over, remote control vehicles under my feet, legos strewn about.  How is this possible after all that purging I completed??!!?  So, what happens?

Step 1: Purge.  

I end up purging toys AGAIN!!!  This time I’m annoyed.  There is no talking about donating or how other kids aren’t as lucky.  I just start pulling things and throwing them in bags.  I survey the space I have and the toys that are littering my floors and it is war time.  I put on one of the new movies my kids got for Christmas and let them sit mindlessly on the couch so they won’t notice what I’m pulling out of their closets and putting in bags.  The last thing I need is my 3-year old crying about that broken slinky that she just can’t live without!  It is me against the toys and I refuse to start the New Year with clutter up to my ears.

I look around at the hurricane aftermath and realize- now I have to

Step 2: Organize.

I start moving all the old toys into the places they should have been and consolidate the bins that have just been purged.  I don’t know why I feel the need to hold on to all those baby toys??  In case you have not done this dance before it takes ALL day.  Well, it takes ME all day.  I have three rooms to organize and I’m on a mission.  I always start in their rooms because it is much less daunting than the playroom…  Playrooms sound like such a great idea and even sound adorable when you say it– until it becomes the place you would rather pull your hair out than walk in to clean.  I’m pretty sure my kids are onto movie number 2 at this point while I methodically find places for each mound of toys, including moving certain toys to the playroom.  Why is it that you have to make a mess to clean a mess?  Luckily, this year my son was old enough to help (and actually be helpful).  He organized his own shelves and even put them in order of what he’d play with the most!  Amazing.

Playroom toy storage

Playroom toy storage


And so comes the dreaded last

Step 3: Clean. 

It’s not that I hate cleaning but it’s definitely not one of my strong points.  And after purging and organizing there always seems to be more garbage, dust, and dirt than usual.  But man, once I get to the cleaning stage it feels good to be in the home stretch.  I have created bins, sorted toys, even moved shelves from one place to another, now I could clean and sit back to marvel at my efforts.  And that is just what I do.  By the end of movie number 3 the afternoon light hits my floor and I make myself some coffee and sit on the couch in the playroom.  Just to soak in the perfection of my accomplishment.  Everything has a place and I even have an open bin… just in case.

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