Before my son was born, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those parents who bought a gazillion toys for their child because first of all, I didn’t want to deal with the nightmare of mountains of toys covering my house and second, why does a tiny, little baby need so many toys anyway? But, like so many other parents who swear they won’t spoil their children, I really couldn’t help myself. But it’s not my fault…I mean how I could I resist it with all the cheap deals I kept finding on UsedVic!
My husband and I were in total denial and, even though our son Grayson (who is ONLY 9 months now!) already had enough toys to fill an entire room, we continued to buy him used toys with the excuse that “Well, it’s only $5 for this awesome toy train” or “Trust me, he’ll play with that Curious George doll for years.”
The result of this denial (I’m thinking of starting a support group if you’re interested in joining) has made my nightmares a reality and now my house, which was once an uncluttered contemporary adult space, has become a Toyland where at each turn, you run smack dab into a pile of Fisher Price trains and plastic farm animals or worse, end up stepping barefoot on them. Ouch! (FYI, that is not what I usually yell out when this happens…it’s more like “@#%#!”… I know, tsk, tsk, bad mommy!)
All of this clutter really annoys me as I am one of those people who like to keep my house tidy (I’m not so much of a cleaner but I constantly tidy in order to create the illusion that my house is really clean!). Plus these mountains of toys are a safety hazard now that my son is crawling and beginning to pull himself up onto furniture: last week I saved him from a tidal wave of toys (see first picture) about to take him out as he tried to climb onto a storage box (that I bought to store his toys in but it’s already full so I was forced to pile toys on top of the storage box!)
Last week I was finally fed up and just couldn’t take it anymore! I took the proverbial toy bull by the horns and finally made the decision to move out of ToyLand and back into AdultLand (it’s nice to be back in the old neighbourhood) by reclaiming my space and organizing all my son’s toys. Here are a few cheap and easy ways I discovered that will hopefully help you move out of Toyland too:
Storage Ottomans!!! Whoever invented these, you are my hero! I absolutely love these as they look great in almost every room and they discreetly hide dozens of toys until your child is ready to play with them. I stole the idea from my friend Becci whose house always looks spotless and adult modern because she hides all the toys away in ottomans.
Plus they can be inexpensive if you wait for sales: the smaller cube ottomans can be found on sale new between $10-$20 and the larger storage ottomans for $50-60 or you can find them even cheaper used. I think I have at least one cube ottoman in every room in my house now.
Recycled grocery bag toy bins: Again, I can’t take credit for this idea. I was over at my friend Lara’s house last week and noticed that she had organized all her daughter’s toys into these small toy bins. I asked her where she got them and to my surprise, she showed me that they were actually recycled grocery bags that she had folded down to make storage bins. Genius!
This is so easy to do: simply fold the top of the bag down about half way on the outside and then tuck the handles underneath the front and back folds. Or if you like, you can cut off the handles all together (I kept mine so I can use it as a grocery bag again later on). These are great to store all those little toys that might get lost in the bottom of the larger storage ottomans.
Baby gift baskets: Usually every mom gets at least one baby gift basket at their baby shower filled with diapers, soothers and bottles. Instead of giving it away again as a gift basket, why not use it to store toys in! I had a few of these from my baby showers just sitting in my gift closet collecting dust. I pulled them out and to my surprise I managed to corral all my son’s toys in the upstairs bedroom into one basket. And they are actually really nice looking baskets too!
You may laugh but decluttering my toy-filled house was almost like a religious experience; it has given me a sense of peace and order I haven’t felt in a long time… I finally feel calm and relaxed in my own space, back at home in AdultLand…I highly recommend you visit here sometime!
Coupon tip of the week: The first three months of the year are usually the time of year when people start thinking about spring cleaning so this is also the best time of year to buy items to help organize your home as the stores usually have great sales. Stock up on storage bins and containers in order to be prepared when the spring cleaning urge hits you in April! Also think of storage bins you can use for items later on in the year like camping gear or holiday decorations.