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Okay, so a couple years we made this video about decluttering the nursery. In it, we gave tips like giving everything a place, labeling baskets and bins, regularly removing and donating unused items, etc. Well, after 2 years, I have to admit that I “talked the talk” but definitely didn’t “walk the walk”. I took a step back and looked at my once-organized kids’ room. Toys and games had become unused as they had lost parts and pieces. The closets were jam-packed with all sorts of clothing that was too small. I tended toward these collect-all, bottomless bins filled with toys that never got touched. It seemed that everything that once had a place had lost its way. And I seemed to be spending so much time looking for things...which is SO annoying!
I finally hit my breaking point when I couldn’t find the baby nail clippers. We have about 5 pairs. Where were they all!? I could take it no longer. It was time to get serious. I called Grandma, “Please, please, please can you watch the kids?” She said YES! I had 24 hours to make this right. I knew this was going to take complete concentration and very strong coffee…
Step 1: First, I gathered up every single toy from every area of the house and dumped it in one spot. I was speechless at how much stuff it amounted to. How was it possible that two little boys could have so much stuff?
STEP 2: Next, I took a deep breath and began to categorize and sort into piles---puzzles, games, anything with wheels, random plastic figurines, tools, electronics, play-dough related things, Lego’s, play food, items to donate, broken stuff. (While sorting, I sent my husband to the store to buy a half dozen of those plastic storage bins with drawers and little storage baskets to go in the drawers.)
STEP 3: Then, I worked on each pile separately. All puzzles were put back together. Game pieces found their way back home. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were reunited, etc.
STEP 4: The fun part! -- I designated a drawer or spot in the room for everything and made little picture labels so the kids (who are only 2 and 5) would be able to find things and put them away in the correct spot.
STEP 5: We filled our big car with all sorts of great stuff we’d outgrown and took it to the homeless shelter. A rewarding end indeed.
The result was a complete success! It took about a day and, whew, what a day well spent. Since the organization transformation the kids have been playing with their toys non-stop…and putting them away without complaints. How cool is that? So, I promise to try very, very, very hard never ever again to return to that out-of-control and disorganized state and this time, to not only “talk the talk” but “walk the walk” as well.
[Update - Jan 2012. One year later and the playroom has a few more toys but is still very organized. Woot! Woot!]