Rotating Toys (or How Not To Be Crushed Under An Avalanche Of Toys)

We are moving (yes, again), so we’ve been using this opportunity to prioritize and purge. One of the areas that’s always been really difficult for me is toys.

I’m sure, if you’re a parent, you’ve been in this situation: your kid has a TON of toys already, most of them littering every square inch of your home, but your child acts as if he has nothing to play with. And getting rid of toys is close to impossible because you know your child has played with each and every thing in the pile (once or twice), and will again (once or twice).

Some of my friends have been really successful at rotating toys, but I just couldn’t figure out how to implement that in our home. But, thanks to Pinterest, I learned that the key is stripping it down to the bare minimum.
I found this great guide at Little Stories. She shows you how to categorize what you have and divide toys into sets that will maximize learning potential.

I really wanted to wait until after the move to start this, but seriously, we were tripping on toys constantly, and I was about to lose it. Teaching clean-up skills is likely my least favorite part of parenting so far. After starting this system, it’s SO much more manageable.

I gathered all the toys and was shocked to realize how many we really had. This is for one child, people, and this doesn’t include larger toys and outside toys, such as his kitcken, basketball goal, and sand and water table, and things like craft supplies. I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s not just one layer deep… the pile covers our entire king-size bed.

I made some tough calls, trying to be honest with myself about what he doesn’t use or need. Then I added back just a few types of toys.

(I feeled compelled to note that I did not lay out the numbers like that, Dexter did. My OCD tendencies would not have allowed me to let them be out of order!)

The benefits so far:

  • There are less toys in the floor.
  • Clean up is a breeze because he’s not overwhelmed.
  • He actually plays with what he has.
  • He plays with things he never tried before and gets creative with what’s available.
  • I’m able to monitor what he’s still not playing with so I can remove it from our home.
  • Our time is spent more productively than before, when he wasted time whining and being bored, and I wasted time trying to force him to clean.

We are in our second round of rotation so far, and it’s still working well. When he asks for a different type of toy, I have him gather up something he’s willing to trade before I give him the new items. Otherwise, I plan to rotate the entire set about every 2 weeks.

I’m really excited to be able to really sort and store my sets when we move. Right now, all the extra toys are still in my bedroom because there was no better place to put them during the move.

If you have other tips and tricks, definitely leave me a comment!

2011

So I didn’t quite make last year’s goals. But I still think I did great!

1. Lose 20 lbs: I lost 6.8. I am not mad about this! I lost almost 7 lbs, that’s awesome!

2. Read 52 books: I read 26, unless I forgot to write any down. I intentionally let myself slide on this because I realized early on that sometimes reading that much caused me to ignore other things. So I feel really good about the choice to ease up.

3. Make a dress or shirt for each woman in my family: I knew this was a big one, and I actually did not make a single garment for any of them. But I did manage to make several things for myself and Dexter, do those count???

Other things I accomplished this year:

I made TONS of crafts. TONS. I wanted to do a special photo post where I showed off everything I made. However, that turned out to be a nearly impossible task. You will not be seeing that post.

My sister and I participated in Santa’s Workshop. That was such a great experience! We got to share our crafts with the public, we bonded over common interests, and we got paid to do it. Sweet!

We moved to a new city. This is not my favorite accomplishment of 2010, and I’m still adjusting, but it was great that my husband found a new job after being laid-off.

2011 goals:

1. Lose 15 lbs.

If I make this goal, I will have completed the 20 I wanted to lose. But even if I only lose 5 by the end of the year, I’m going to be pumped! I am actively working toward this goal already, so I have a bit of a head start.

2. Work out at least 10 min everyday (except if I’m sick).

I’ve already been doing this for over 2 weeks! I actually started the day of my 30th birthday, and I’m trying to keep up that commitment. I know 10 min sounds really wimpy, but it means I don’t cut myself any slack. I *can* move with purpose for 10 minutes. Most days it’s 20 or 30 min of activity.

3. Read 24 books.

I’m certain I can match 2010’s progress. 2 books a month isn’t unreasonable, and if I really want to read more I can!

4. Commit to 2 weeks of my Secret 2011 Goal:

I’ll blog about this attempt later. It’s one of those things that I will not talk about until I either do it and succeed or fail and try to be the first to make fun of myself.

5. Unofficial Goal: Blog more frequently.

I’m not going to set a timeline, but I do want to blog more. It was hard this winter because I was too busy to really document everything.

I don’t plan to make any crafty goals this year. I already have a backlog of orders I’m trying to get through, so there is no way I intend to put more things on my plate. I’m really pleased with my progress last year, so I’m basically just going to try to keep up that pace!

Darling Dexter

IMG_5570

This kid has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this time! I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be alone with him for 24 hours everyday for whole a whole week. But it’s been great. He keeps me entertained and he’s been giving me lots of snuggles. It’s been easier not to think about the negative aspects of moving because I’ve been so caught up in all the new things he’s learning.

His favorite thing this week? These hand-me-down flip-flops! I put them on him one day when he was trying to wear my flip-flops, and he’s been totally attached since. He just stares at them and chuckles 🙂 Of course, I do too, look at those chubby feet 🙂

IMG_5543

IMG_5532

                  IMG_5549  IMG_5558

IMG_5554

I love his face 🙂 Even when it’s dirty. And I love how focused he gets on things.

I was also really excited to find some blocks in our storage unit. I’d bought them for a little boy I used to babysit. Dex loves them. He calls them “Bah!”… but then again, he calls most things “Bah!”

IMG_5598