Archives For Organization

Toy Library

We have organized a toy library to help keep the toys in our home manageable.

For a while, we had a toy rotation but they still had too many choices. When our kids have too many toy choices, they just drag everything out but don’t really play with anything – too many choices can overwhelm young children.

Our children tend to play better if their toys are not all out at once. Allowing them to choose a toy or two to play with at a time helps them to engage more deeply in their play. Plus, there are fewer toys out so our house is not over run with toys.

Cooking Drawer

All of their toys are not always stored in the library. We currently have 3 drawers in the end of their bunk bed that contain imaginative play things. One drawer holds their play dishes and two drawers hold their dress up things. These are always accessible.

The rest of the toys are organized in the toy library in their closet.

To organize our toy library, we evaluated each of their toys.

Toys that Stayed:

  • Sparked creative play
  • Building toys
  • Musical Instruments

Toys that Went:

  • Battery operated
  • Close ended toys
  • Low quality toys

After culling toys, we sorted the remaining toys into categories like trains, farm animals, cars, blocks, etc. We then grouped like toys together into bins to store on the shelves.

Organized Toy Closet

At the beginning of the day, they choose the toys they want to play with. If one boy wants to play with the farm animals, he gets the bin that holds the farm animals as well as the play barn and tractors. Another boy may choose to play trains so he gets the bin that contains all of the trains and train tracks.

They can play with these toys individually or together, it’s up to them. We just ask that they pick up those toys and put them away before choosing another toy or toy bin to play with.

At 3 and 4, they’ve not quite mastered putting the toys away before choosing another but they’re learning. I often encourage them and help them with the pick up process.

With this toy library set up, the amount of toys throughout our home during the day has been greatly reduced. There still are toys all over their room and in our living room but every toy they own has not been pulled out.

Another benefit of this toy library, clean up is simple. At the end of the day, we put the toys back into the bins or drawers they belong in. It only takes a few minutes to pick up and all tripping hazards have been removed for the night.

Related posts:

Toy Rotation

Gifts to Encourage Creativity in Young Children

How do you organize your children’s toys? 

Establishing a Cleaning Routine_m

Since I’ve been pregnant, all of my nesting energy has been focused on simplifying our home and implementing routines in an attempt to make the transition from two to three little ones a bit easier.

While I know adding a new baby to the mix will definitely change the dynamics in our family, I believe that having simple routines in place will make household management easier while recovering from birth, caring for a newborn and helping our boys adjust to their new sibling.

I have established a morning routine, evening routine and weekly cleaning schedule that have really helped make our household management simpler.
Morning Routine

My morning routine is quite simple.

I make beds which make the bedrooms look tidy.

I start a load of laundry. I typically do a load a day which keeps it manageable and really makes it easy to stay on top of our laundry.

In the kitchen, I unload the dishwasher while prepping breakfast and then once we eat breakfast, I tidy the kitchen back up by loading the dishwasher and washing anything that needs to be hand washed.

This morning routine is simple and easy to complete every morning.

Cleaning Schedule

I also follow a weekly cleaning schedule. This cleaning schedule is very simple, focusing only on one area a day.

On Mondays, I deep clean both bathrooms.

Tuesdays are spent cleaning the bedrooms – washing sheets, dusting, sweeping, removing things that don’t belong in the bedrooms and getting rid of any clutter that has crept in (frequent decluttering keeps clutter from taking over!).

Wednesday is pretty simple, just cleaning the dining room. This involves washing the table, cleaning the floors and removing things that don’t belong in this space.

Thursdays are spent cleaning the living room.

And, Fridays are for special projects or as a catch up day if I missed cleaning an area during the week. My husband is off on Fridays so I don’t want to have routine housekeeping scheduled on this day.

Saturday and Sunday don’t have any housework assigned to them, we try to relax and enjoy the weekend and spend time working outside. We only do our morning and evening routines on these days.

You may notice that the kitchen is not assigned a day. That is because I’m in the kitchen everyday and part of my morning and evening routine is to wash and put away dishes. And, every time I wash dishes, I also wipe down the counter tops so the kitchen stays clean.

Evening Routine


My evening routine begins right after supper is finished. I tidy the kitchen and load the dishwasher/wash dishes. I’ve found that ending the day with a clean kitchen helps to get the next day off to a good start.

While our boys pick up their toys each evening, we straighten up our living room and sweep the living areas.

By the time we’re finished with our evening routine, our home is tidy which makes our evenings more relaxing.

These cleaning routines, coupled with living with less, is really making a difference in our household management. And, we’re certainly hoping that it eases the transition to becoming a family of 5!

Do you follow any type of cleaning schedule? 

I’ve been busy during the month of October working through 31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple which was written and worked through originally last October. My home was in desperate need of some attention, decluttering and cleaning so I’ve been working on the daily projects.

One thing about simplifying over 31 days is the daily projects really are manageable. Most projects have been completed in 30 minutes and a few of the more involved ones have all taken less than 2 hours!

Here are some results from my efforts to simplify:

Clean Fridge

The project from Day 2 was Simplifying in the Kitchen. This involved cleaning out the fridge, freezer and pantry. Let me tell you, those spaces needed some work. The biggest area of improvement was the refrigerator. I love a clean, well organized fridge, it really helps to prevent food waste and it’s nice opening it up and not seeing a jumbled mess!

Messy Master

My master bedroom had once again become a clutter zone. It needed help and 3 days (day 5, 6 & 8) were spent in the master. The first project was simply to remove everything that didn’t belong in the master. This meant all the folded laundry was put away, toys and children’s books were removed, the storage tote with clothes that no longer fit our boys was removed, along with other random stuff that was in our room. By the time everything that didn’t belong was gone, the difference was amazing! I could have ignored the next 2 projects and the room would have seemed clean but I went ahead and purged the closet and dresser and tidied the room even more over the next 2 project days.

Tidy Master

The result of my 3 days of work in the master is a nice, tidy room that is relaxing and not cluttered with all kinds of random stuff. I’ve been removing everything that doesn’t belong in this room daily which has really helped me to maintain the neatness in our master. If you do nothing else in your master, just try removing the things that don’t belong there and you’ll see it makes a huge difference!

Decluttered Stuff

This is a pile of everything that has been decluttered so far in October. That laundry hamper and bag are both full of random stuff but it’s all leaving my house forever!

Problem Zone

I shared on my Facebook page a few weeks ago this problem zone. This sewing desk has been sitting in a corner in our dining room for a couple of months and anytime we have an empty, purposeless space, it attracts stuff. So, things had been accumulating.  I’ve put several things back where they belong, broke down the large box to recycle and returned a few borrowed items back to their owners.

Improving Problem Zone

Here is the space now, not completely clutter free just yet but I’m definitely making progress. Some of what remains is just because of laziness – we haven’t taken the time to put the items where they belong. An example, that white sign, which says ‘Splish Splash’ was painted for our bathroom and we just haven’t taken the time to hang it up!

I hope this scene reminds you that while we do live simply, we’re not perfect and still have problem areas! But, baby steps are the key in conquering the clutter.

Have you been doing any of the 31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple projects? Are you noticing a difference in your home? 

Toy Rotation

We choose to live simply and keep our possessions pared down.

We would choose to live minimally regardless of where we live but the reality is we have 2 young children and live in a 1,300 square foot home. Children are magnets for stuff — especially toys. Without intentionally keeping our toy ‘collection’ pared down, the toys would quickly overtake our small home!

Our boys don’t have an abundance of toys. While we have a smaller than average amount of toys for 2 children, if they were all out at the same time, our entire home would be covered in toys!

The solution to keeping our toys manageable is a toy rotation.

Toy Storage

Our ‘excess’ toys are stored in the closet in our 2-year-old’s room. The top shelves store all the extras – blocks, play sets, vehicles and puzzles. (As well as a few blankets and nighttime diapers!)

When Paxton wants a ‘new’ toy, he will trade one of the ones he has already out, keeping the amount of toys out under control.

Besides not having toys everywhere, the toy rotation is fun — when we trade toys, it’s like getting a new toy again. We’ll get a ‘new’ toy down and it will hold their attention for awhile.

Preschool Toys

The preschool toys that are out are stored in Paxton’s closet on the bottom shelves. The shelves are natural limiters for the amount of toys that are out — if the shelves are too full, something else needs to be put up.

This week we have out dress up clothes, trains, foam building blocks (the other half were all over the floor when this picture was taken), wooden blocks, instruments, trucks/tractors and the walker wagon which serves as storage for their balls!

Toddler Toys

We also have a small bookshelf in Weston’s room with baby/toddler toys. He prefers playing alongside his older brother but we have some more ‘age appropriate’ toys available for his independent/one-on-one with mama/daddy play including board books, chunky puzzles, soft books, a few teethers and soft blocks.

Book Storage

We also do a similar thing for our books. The bulk of our children’s books are stored on the bookshelf in our room. While the boys have access to this bookshelf all of the time, we keep the books in their rooms rotated since they seem to spend more time independently ‘reading’ in their rooms. Preschool Books

We keep Paxton’s rotation of books on his dresser (so little brother won’t tear them up). During rest time or bed time, we’ll grab a stack of books from here to read to him or let him ‘read’ to himself.

Implementing a toy rotation really has helped keep our home from becoming overtaken by toys, keeps the toys we have exciting and keeps mama sane since everything is organized!

Do you have a toy rotation in place? 

And, I think it should be noted that the rooms are only this clean early in the morning and before bed. I tidied up a bit to snap these pictures. Remember, this blog is only a glimpse into my life and not the full picture — the reality is, I’m really a mess!