With summer comes the potential for outdoor fun – whether you or your family enjoy regular outings to the beach or lake, lazy afternoons by the pool, or simply enjoying playtime out in the backyard. If there’s one thing that’s true about toys, however, it’s that they can quickly overwhelm any space – be it your backyard or basement playroom – if they’re not kept organized and tidy.
What’s a parent to do in the face of this kind of summertime chaos? Call in reinforcements! Whether you need additional storage space to help organize your household or tips on how to take advantage of the space you have in your home, Prime Storage is here to help.
Keep specific toys “zoned” where they belong.
One of the best ways to keep your kids’ toys organized is to group them by room or space. Outdoor toys get stored in one location, for example, while other toys that are played with inside may “live” in a specific room or part of the house. That’s not to say your kiddos can’t play with certain toys outside of these rooms, but by giving them dedicated places to be stored when not in use, you’ll teach your kids about the power of putting things back where they go.
Find a central location for outdoor toy storage.
When your kids want to play a specific game or with a particular toy, there’s nothing worse than trying to figure out exactly where it went. If you follow the first tip and ensure all outdoor toys have their own dedicated space, this should be a lot easier.
What should that storage solution look like? Well, that’s up to you, the space you have available, and what’s convenient for your kids.
One way to keep things organized – if you have the space – is to put all outdoor toys on shelves in your garage. If your children play with toys that might be susceptible to damage from the sun or the hottest of temperatures, storing them on shelves in your garage might help.
Hanging Spaces on Walls
In addition to shelves, you can always use racks or pegboards on the walls of your garage to keep your kids’ outdoor toys from taking up too much floor space.
Oversized Trash Can
Great for sports equipment, nothing beats an oversized garbage can for ball and bat storage. Even kept outside, a sealed oversized trash can made of rubber or plastic can help keep balls protected from water and sunlight. If it’s on wheels, that’s even better: Just roll the container of balls, bats, and other miscellaneous items wherever you plan on playing.
Outdoor Patio Cushion Chest
If backyard play is more frequent, consider an outdoor patio cushion chest. These large containers can hold a variety of toys, and they’re generally made of water-resistant plastic. By placing them on blocks, stones, or risers, you can keep it off the ground and prevent bugs or animals from crawling inside and making a home out of them. Once playtime is over, go ahead and put everything back in the chest for the next time.
Encourage regular pickup during play.
Speaking of cleaning up, one of the best ways to stay organized is to have your kids get involved in not just cleanup but having them consistently put toys away when finished. To keep your yard from being too cluttered during playtime, have children place toys back in their home before they move onto a new activity.
Use a “clean up time” song or rhyme to encourage tidying the room.
One of the best ways to motivate children to help – and remind them when it’s time to do so – is to use mnemonic devices such as songs. Toddler parents who’ve watched or listened to their fair share of Cocomelon songs can attest: the “Clean Up Song” is pretty catchy.
Remove toys you no longer need.
Getting rid of toys can either feel terrifying or liberating, depending on who you ask, but it’s an eventual necessity. The best time to cut down on your kids’ toy collection can be at the end of a season. During back-to-school time or even around the holidays, consider sitting down with your kids and going through their current toys. Anything that meets the following criteria may then be considered for donation or disposed of properly.
Remove toys that kids are “tired of.”
If your kids have gotten bored of the toys they have, a good way to determine that it’s time to clear out some space is to hide the toy away for a few weeks or months. If they no longer ask about the item, you’re probably safe to donate, sell, or otherwise dispose of it.
Promptly dispose of broken toys – even if they “kind of” work.
We all know these toys: There are missing parts or broken pieces, but the toy is kept around for whatever reason. A good rule of thumb when toys are broken is to dispose of them promptly. This is especially true if some fundamental feature of the toy is broken. Toys that make noise can often get stuck in repetitive loops; instead of listening to the same sounds over and over again, properly dispose of it in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Give away or donate toys kids have outgrown.
Phasing out toys your children have outgrown isn’t just for babies and toddlers. Keeping toys around for their sentimental value just adds clutter to your home. If the wiffle ball bat and tee are no longer comfortable for your kids to play with, consider donating them or selling them (likewise for dolls, baby toys, etc.). If you don’t plan on having more children, it may make sense to pass these items along to another family that can actively use them.
Don’t forget to relax and have fun sometimes.
When it comes to backyard play, the number-one rule is to have fun. Don’t let accumulated backyard clutter stress you out too much. No organization system is perfect, and that’s especially true with kids in the mix. Embrace the chaos, when necessary, but don’t forget that good habits start early.
Use a self storage unit to stay organized until next season.
If you’re truly at a loss for organization, don’t forget that self storage is a convenient, affordable way to keep items you don’t currently use out of sight and out of your way. At Prime Storage, we specialize in providing a variety of storage units to meet your needs. Choose from locker-sized units that can help hold a season’s worth of outdoor toys or something larger to organize even more space in your home. To get started, visit your nearest Prime Storage facility today.