Why in the world do children's toys seem to multiply over night? I swear there are more in the morning than there were the night before. Of course, it is right after Christmas, so there really are more toys than there used to be last month, but still..
Also.. why do kids insist on dragging every single toy out in one day?? The floor gets covered in playfood, dress up clothes, baby dolls, magnetic dress up dolls, colored balls, toy horses, and assorted fairies and princesses. Can you tell I have girls?? We do have blocks and trucks and things too, but that was the last rotation.
One thing I've done to save my sanity and tame the toy monster is to rotate toys. I do it about about every 4-5 months or so -- approximately whenever I get tired of picking up and sorting the same damn things every week. It's just like Christmas for my kids then. New stuff!! I can hardly get everything out fast enough before they are diving in with renewed enthusiastic play. Another thing we've done is to only buy toys in "sets". We don't buy the latest and greatest electronic gadget or craze. I stick to tried and true sets -- dress up clothes, wooden blocks, play dishes and food, etc. It seems to get the most mileage anyway. I try for quality, not quantity, but with 4 kids (soon to be 5)... there's definitely quantity too.
That brings me to storage. I've tried a toy box/bin. And all that does is wind up with everything on the floor and a lot of broken stuff and missing pieces. I've tried shelves and boxes for each set, but at this point, it isn't working well either. I'm still getting a lot of stuff on the floor, broken pieces (though it's easier to find the broken stuff early) and I'm the one that has to sort through it. Maybe its an age and stage thing? I'm thinking what I need is cabinets with doors so they can't see everything at once, and have to pick and choose their toy for the moment. And then make it a rule that it goes back before they get a new one. Perhaps locks on those doors might also help this mom's toy craziness.
So I'm shopping for cabinets. Low ones, with big enough shelves to hold boxes, but doors on them that I can at least latch (so they aren't playing with the doors instead of the toys!) Preferably heavy enough to withstand tugs and pulls and climbers too, without getting damaged or falling over (although we will secure them to the wall too.. safety first!) I'd also like some dresser-like storage for craft and school supplies, and these definitely with a lock or a way to install a lock. I have some pretty creative kids, but I don't need their creativity to result in "face painting" with marker again, or stickers and crayon all over my walls..
You'd think from what I write here that I don't supervise my kids. I do, honest. But when you're changing the baby's diaper, and directing the 9 yr old's school work, plus trying to keep an eye on the pot on the stove, and still manage to gulp down a bite of lunch.. well some things slip through the cracks. My kids are loud, creative and very active.. and I adore them! They are so much fun!!