If you’re in the same stage of life as I am, then you know how unbelievably easy it is for that cute collection of toys and books to multiply overnight and become a cluttered looking eyesore.
In the walkways, in the kitchen, in front of the front door, in mom and dad’s bed… yep.
Not only is it hard to keep things put away, but the moment we decide we’re going to get rid of some things, even that feels impossible.
Here are some of my tips and tricks to manage my baby’s toys!
1. Set Boundaries for Gifts
Right from the beginning, it’s a good idea to kindly communicate your preferences to those who are likely to buy gifts for your baby. If you only want certain types of toys or simply want them to check in with you before buying something, there are plenty of polite ways to make your preferences known!
“We’re trying to steer clear of noisy toys for now but I’ve had my eye on ___ for a while! (Baby) would have so much fun with something like that.”
“Thanks for thinking of (baby)! I’d like to limit loose blocks and things with lots of pieces but he loves story books right now.”
“Honestly we need bigger pajamas more than anything! If you see anything cute in green please let me know!”
If you’re given something you’re not a fan of, you don’t need to feel too much pressure to keep it. People normally understand that some baby gifts might not hit the mark and probably won’t ask for a follow up anyway.
2. Find Clever Storage Solutions
Toy boxes and colorful plastic shelves are nice for kids’ rooms, but sometimes there’s overflow into other parts of the house. And what about in those first months? My baby girl spent most of her time on a play mat or blanket in the living room. It was more convenient for her toys to be close by.
I went on Amazon and bought some cute cotton baskets that fit perfectly into the shelving of our little entertainment center. I kept her toys, diapers, washable changing pads, baby wearing wrap, and baby dock pillow covers all organized in the same location.
All the stuff suddenly looked like minimalist home décor.
Whatever the style of your home may be, I’m confident you can find an organization solution that says “don’t mind me, I’m just a pretty part of your house!”
Think fabric boxes and bins, woven baskets, or ottomans. Some moms have even made secret boxes lined with book spines to hide seamlessly into their living room shelves.
You can go that hard if you want. It’s your house, girl.
Another reason to find practical storage is so that you don’t end up buying tons of plastic bins over the years. Try for things that your kids can grow into and use at any age!
3. Keep Like Things Together
It’s tempting to lump everything in the same few boxes.
Especially when it’s all strewn around together on the floor to begin with.
But when things have a place, your mind just feels better. You’re able to better keep track of what’s being used and what isn’t. And your baby will eventually pick up on where things are supposed to go! Books are stacked or placed on a shelf. Things that come in sets have their own drawstring bag or container. Stuffed animals go in the basket next to the bed. Give everything a home.
4. Rotate Toys Often
I’m not the best at this, but I have succeeded a couple of times!
I think this is important because it can be overwhelming for your baby or child to see all of their toys out all at one time. It might be fun to get them all out, but there’s something about their imagination and creativity that isn't being sparked in the same way if there are too many choices.
Get a couple of storage bins for your garage or basement that you can trade out to make rotating easier! That way the focus is on the toys that are within reach, but all the rest aren’t too far away.
It’s easier in the first months when development is happening super fast and you’re swapping the black and white flash cards for chew toys and rattles to grip onto, then trading those for stacking cups and bouncy balls and so on. If you’re considering more babies in the future, it’s also a good idea to have a few more storage bins that can keep the choice toys (and clothes) that you don’t want to buy again.
As a mom, there’s kind of this feeling that you need to hang onto everything your baby touches. I’m a little bit that way.
While it’s a great idea to prevent overspending on any next babies, it’s really okay to reduce and limit the amount of keepsakes that we store away.
It’s hard, but it’s freeing. Especially when there’s SO MUCH.
Good thing we don’t need to throw everything we don’t need in the trash! It helps me to put things in that donation bag when I remind myself of the new babies who get to enjoy them next.